Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

  • by Allen C. Guelzo
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 22 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed Civil War historian, a brilliant new history–the most intimate and richly readable account we have had–of the climactic three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), which draws the reader into the heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary soldier, and depicts the combination of personalities and circumstances that produced the greatest battle of the Civil War, and one of the greatest in human history.
Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, none dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice. Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights, and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the lay of the land, the fences and the stone walls, the gunpowder clouds that hampered movement and vision; the armies that caroused, foraged, kidnapped, sang, and were so filthy they could be smelled before they could be seen; the head-swimming difficulties of marshaling massive numbers of poorly trained soldiers, plus thousands of animals and wagons, with no better means of communication than those of Caesar and Alexander.
What emerges is an untold story, from the trapped and terrified civilians in Gettysburg’s cellars to the insolent attitude of artillerymen, from the taste of gunpowder cartridges torn with the teeth to the sounds of marching columns, their tin cups clanking like an anvil chorus. Guelzo depicts the battle with unprecedented clarity, evoking a world where disoriented soldiers and officers wheel nearly blindly through woods and fields toward their clash, even as poetry and hymns spring to their minds with ease in the midst of carnage. Rebel soldiers look to march on Philadelphia and even New York, while the Union struggles to repel what will be the final invasion of the North. One hundred and fifty years later, the cornerstone battle of the Civil War comes vividly to life as a national epic, inspiring both horror and admiration.


What the Critics Say

“Stirring . . . robust, memorable reading that will appeal to Civil War buffs, professional historians and general readers alike.” ( Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
“Few battles provoke debate like Gettysburg, whose bibliography exceeds 6,000 items. One more won’t settle the what-ifs, but Guelzo’s entry identifies key controversies, trenchantly advocates its interpretations, and rests on a sensible foundation, the confusion of a Civil War battle . . . [ Gettysburg: The Last Invasion] reads like the battle might have been experienced . . . Guelzo demonstrates versatile historical skill in this superior treatment of Gettysburg.” (Booklist, starred review)
“Despite all that has been written about the battle of Gettysburg, Allen Guelzo provides new information and insights in this stirring account. Unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom, he praises General O. O. Howard, maintains that General George Meade did indeed contemplate retreat on July 2 but was persuaded otherwise by subordinates, and criticizes Meade for missed opportunities in the pursuit after the battle. Readers will find much to think about in this book.” (James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Detailed but easy to follow

Very detailed and easy to follow with a much more realistic analysis of the intense politicing between the union civilian and military
Read full review

- JONAH8208


What did you like best about Gettysburg: The Last Invasion? What did you like least?

This is a very detailed book but without a map in front of you or an equally detailed understanding of the ground this book is inaccessable

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I sadly gave up with this book and did not persist to the end.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The voice of the narrator was not very animated and made the book harder to listen to that necessary.

Was Gettysburg: The Last Invasion worth the listening time?


Any additional comments?

If you are coming to Gettysburg as a battle for the first time or do not have a working understanding of the ground or at least a map in front of you as you listen then go elsewhere.
Not recommended except for Gettysburg enthusiasts.

Read full review

- Mr. N. R. Macmillan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-05-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio