Hallowed Ground: An Illustrated History of the Walk at Gettysburg, by James McPherson*****

hallowed groundHallowed Ground packs a great deal of information regarding Gettysburg, past and present, into a tight package. I own an earlier edition, and I used the photographs in it as part of my lectures when I was teaching a unit on the Civil War.

McPherson is a renowned author, winner of the Pulitzer for Battle Cry of Freedom. That volume should be the go-to book for anyone looking for a first highly literate glimpse of the American Civil War. This book is only about Gettysburg, as it is today and as it was then. McPherson has not only walked every square inch of the area involved, but also takes his students on tour there. He tells the reader what parts of the standard park guide tour script are actually incorrect, which is particularly useful for those visiting the park. In fact, this guide is primarily targeted for those planning to walk the large area encompassed, but I haven’t been there, and most likely won’t, and I never regretted the purchase of that earlier edition. If I were teaching still, or mobile enough to be able to do that tour, I’d buy this one as well.

I am delighted to be able to review the DRC for the newer edition, which contains even more digital photographs. I couldn’t see a lot of them–got a blank, gray box instead, which happens with galleys sometimes–but the quality of what I could see was excellent. Put this together with a lot of other primary sources, including battle plans, letters written by those involved at the time, and photographs that were already in the earlier edition, and it’s clear this is a volume that belongs on the shelves of every Civil War buff or instructor, as well as any other interested party.

Highly recommended.

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