J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley
2009, 306 pp., Savas Beatie, $39.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
In the annals of Gettysburg works, to which there are many, there are also a collection of guides which have been published throughout the years. This guide on Gettysburg is a little different than some of the others because of where it takes you. In The Complete Gettysburg Guide, J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley take us to the battlefield, but they also take us to the field hospitals, the cemeteries and the other locations pertinent to the Gettysburg Campaign. With a few other interesting tidbits of information, the detail presented in this work truly makes it the complete guide to the Gettysburg Campaign.
J. David Petruzzi is an award winning Civil War cavalry historian and the author of many articles for many different magazines. He has coauthored books with Eric Wittenberg called Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg and with Michael Nugent and Wittenberg called One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863. He has recently authored The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses with Steven Stanley. Steven Stanley is a local Gettysburg graphic artist specializing in historic map sets and battlefield photography. He has created some of the best maps in the industry and has work with Petruzzi before on Gettysburg. For this work, he is credited with maps and photography.
Among the slew of Gettysburg guides, the biggest difference this one brings to the table is the locations it covers. The usual is performed with the first, second and third day of battle, but they also deal with Brinkerhoff’s Ridge, Hunterstown and Fairfield. These are locations many other guides do not even venture. Petruzzi offers a narrative which goes along with the maps and picture set and in a beige box throughout the narrative are driving directions to the next location. These directions go as far as to tell you how many point miles it will be until the next stop. These types of directions are crucial into touring battlefields not completely known about the area. One of the things I found to be a strong point for the book was the tour of the town of Gettysburg itself. Many people just drive through the town and do not even consider what they are looking at when the town itself was part of the major retreat on the first day of combat. Other chapters are detailed tours of both cemeteries starting with the Soldiers National Cemetery then going to Evergreen Cemetery. The book shines with the chapter on the rock carvings on the battlefield which made even me go and look for them. Overall this guide is definitely a complete guide of the Gettysburg Campaign due to the close attention to detail and overall comprehensive nature of the book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a little more to their vacation than just the three days of combat. If you want to spend hours on the battlefield looking for things unusual than the regular tour takes you, then you need this book in your collection. If you want to venture outside of the regular path of the tour, then you need this book in your collection. If you want a guide to the town and the field hospitals throughout the borough of Gettysburg, then you need this book in your collection. Petruzzi and Stanley once again have proven their knowledge on this timeless battlefield.