Thursday, January 24, 2008

"The Maps of Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863"

I rarely find myself in line to pick up the latest book covering this minor Pennsylvania pillow fight, but I simply cannot pass up any map study. Happily, the cartography frequent Gettysburg author Bradley Gottfried created for his book The Maps of Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863(Savas Beatie, 2007) doesn't disappoint. With some caveats, the battle maps are a shining model for other authors and publishers to follow. Drawn at regimental scale, with an impressive collection of terrain detail work (to include contours, vegetation type, roads, trails, fence lines, streams, crop types, etc.), the reader is treated to a visual feast of unusual generosity. Another great feature are the detailed tactical representations of the fighting at the Battle of Second Winchester and nearby action at Stephenson's Depot, both of which have few good examples existing in the literature.

Finished off with nice full cloth binding, it's a nice production, with a heft as substantial as the information contained inside. Gottfried's study pairs a page-sized map on the right side, with a full page of explanatory text on the left. As a system it works well. My only significant complaint is with the lack of a clearly declared time element attached to each map. Uncertainty of the timing of chaotic historical events is a given, but the inclusion of an estimated range based on the best available source information would have been very helpful. This beef aside, Gottfried's study is a very impressive map collection. One can only hope that this is the beginning of a series...in fact, rumblings of a Chickamauga project from highly regarded expert Dave Powell have been heard.

*** Note also that, in a move boardgame veterans can appreciate, Savas Beatie has made available for download some errata pages. To find them, just scroll down to the Updated Pages box. ***

4 comments:

  1. As a map fan, I will find this interesting, but today I think maps must be available in digital form compatible with GIS software or are obsolete.

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  2. "...minor Pennsylvania pillow fight" I LOVE IT! I had a friend who used to refer to Gettysburg as "the Westport of the East."

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  3. Scott,
    While I don't agree with you on the issue of obsolescence, it would be a helpful and interesting option to offer; especially for battlefields more difficult to visualize today than Gettysburg.

    Thanks for writing,
    Drew

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  4. Albert,
    Perhaps we'll see a Price Raid map study some day. We can dream.

    Drew

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