GETTYSBURG: You Are There
Essentially a colorful Civil War reenactment in book form, this volume uses photos and digital technology to reconstruct realistic and detailed images of key scenes in the battle. Well-selected photographs show each location as it was in 1863 and as it is today, along with some scenes from the 1880s. The digital reconstructions are the heart of the book, its most novel feature and the one likely to draw the most comment. On the whole, that comment should be favorable, as the painstaking work of the author's firm, Historic Graphics, renders an impressive combination of color, solidity and realism to each scene. The scenes showing difficult geographical features (such as the Devil's Den and the Railroad Cut) offer more new insights than the ones laid on open terrain. Also, graphic license (carefully labeled) had to be taken with some natural features, vegetation and smoke, to give the reader a better view of the proceedings than the combatants had 140 years ago. The narrative portions are an entirely acceptable summary of the battle, particularly for comparative newcomers to the subject. The significant historiographical value as well as the novelty should generate a respectable readership among Civil War buffs. (May)
Forecast:This book makes an ideal companion piece to James MacPherson's Hallowed Ground (Forecasts, Feb. 3), where the historian walks the grounds of Gettysburg and narrates the battle. This format has considerable potential, as the price of digital graphics continues to shrink.
Release date: 06/01/2003