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Grimsley & Simpson, Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide

Written by Mark Grimsley and Brooks D. Simpson, Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide is widely acclaimed as the finest guide to the battlefield available.

Testimony from people who have used it:

“A masterful guide to the Gettysburg battlefield. I took several books on my trip to Gettysburg earlier this year but this was the only one I carried on the battlefield. It is organized around the tour stops, but also contains several side trips to lesser known areas, and simply tells you all you need to know about the events in that area at the time of the battle. It contains several maps and the directions it provides to areas on the battlefield are concise and easy to follow. If you wish to seriously tour Gettysburg National Park, this book is essential.” — M. Pethke, Louisiana

“I grew up near Gettysburg & have been there numerous times. I just spent 2 days there with this book on the battlefield — this book made the battle crystal clear! I ran out of time exploring the battlefield (it takes more than the 6 hours described in the book — my only criticism). This book brings the battle to life and explains the terrain like never before. I learned a lot about the battle that I never knew and many components of the battle came into focus in new and exciting ways. In particular, this book does a good job on overviews of each day and with it’s clear directions, leads the reader through each stop — I really felt as if I had an expert by my side explaining all the facets of each aspect of the battle.” — Dennis Goshorn, Mt. Berry, Georgia

Gettysburg is the inaugural volume in This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil War Battlefields , published by University of Nebraska Press . The series editors are Mark Grimsley, Brooks D. Simpson, and Steven E. Woodworth. Also available is Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide, by Steven E. Woodworth; and Shiloh: A Battlefield Guide, by Mark Grimsley and Steven E. Woodworth. The series editors designed the guides to fill the wide gap between the National Park Service battlefield brochures and the excellent but complex U.S. Army War College battlefield guides now available from University Press of Kansas.

The USAWC guides republish excerpts from official battle reports, direct readers to a particular point on the battlefield, and ask them to tease out the significance of the action on their own. This technique originated as part of the staff ride concept revitalized by Prof. Jay Luvaas and Col. Harold W. Nelson, among others. It is intentionally designed to require a lot of self-study. It is time intensive (for example, you cannot possibly do justice to the USAWC Gettysburg guide in less than two full days), and the early guides in the series lacked sufficient maps.

Guides in the This Hallowed Ground series, by contrast, provide the reader not only with concise narratives of what happened, but analyze why it happened, and incorporate numerous vignettes to bring the action to life. They are designed to require no more than eight hours to complete. Perhaps most importantly, each stop is accompanied by at least one and usually two or three maps that systematically convey the development of the action. (The Gettysburg guide alone contains a total of 58 maps.)

Examine a sample stop from Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide.