GDG- O'Relly book filming for History channel

Tom bunco973 at
Sat Jan 14 13:43:28 CST 2012

Negative Review
>From Publishers Weekly
Priest, the author and/or editor of 11 Civil War books including Before Antietam, has contributed a confusing volume to the massive literature on Gettysburg. The text both begins and ends abruptly, while in between the reader is left wondering what exactly the book is all about. In an effort to bring a fresh perspective to the climax of Gettysburg, Priest has marshaled an impressive array of primary sources, but he fails to bring an overall order to the story. He jumps back and forth among a host of participants, trying to reconstruct Pickett's great attack. The result is a series of disordered, confusing tales bogged down in detail without an underlying connecting theme. The publisher claims that this book brings new insight to the events of July 3, 1863, but except for two appendices, which cover Confederate artillery placement and casualties (and include Priest's conclusion that the artillery bombardment lasted less than an hour), Priest fails to let the reader in on his "fresh interpretation." There is some discussion of historiographical problems in the endnotes, but in general the chaotic text will disappoint most readers. 32 illustrations and 25 maps supplement the text. 

Positive Review

John Michael Priest has once again displayed the literary art to which he seems born. This book is so utterly enthralling, it is almost like reading a novel. Even the veteran of many Gettysburg book readings will hinge on the story of Pickett's charge as told by Priest. His use of numerous primary sources lends to his telling of the story by the participants themselves. Each individual story then coalesces into a coherent and understandable analysis of how the charge developed and died. Priest gives both Confederate and Union impressions an equal treatment, creating a full veiw of the action. His writing brings out the horror, sadness, terror, pride, honor and exhultation felt by those actually present on that fateful day. Previous knowledge of the battle or Pickett's action is not needed to enjoy this work. Priest follows the action closely, developing it enough for the beginner or simply curious to understand. For those with a background in Civil War history, even Pickett's charge, the personal accounts still make the account a worthwhile read. 

Tom B.

--Original Message----- 
From: CWMHTours at 
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:23 AM 
To: gettysburg at 
Subject: Re: GDG- O'Relly book filming for History channel 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
What was the problem with Mike Priests book?

Your  Most Obedient Servant,

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