Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg

John M. Priest, Author White Mane Publishing Company $34.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-57249-138-0
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. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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