Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg

Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg

Book - 2003
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For almost 100 years, analysis of the Gettysburg Campaign has been centered around a set of commonly held beliefs, among them an oversimplified view of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's goals for the battle. Author and Gettysburg National Military Park historian Troy D. Harman believes this view is misinformed. Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg presents a provocative new theory regarding Lee's true tactical objectives during this pivotal battle of the American Civil War.
Publisher: Mechanicsburg, PA : Stackpole Books, c2003.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780811700542
Branch Call Number: 973.7349 Harman 2003
Characteristics: xv, 152 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: Cemetery Hill


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LRS1969 Mar 06, 2016

I could not recommend under any circumstance.

This author is not a military historian nor a civil war expert nor of any military experience. His "claim to fame" is that of being a Federal Park Ranger who served at a number of Federal Parks, to include multiple Civil War sites - with one of those being Gettysburg.

His lack of military expertise reveals itself when he clearly does NOT know the meaning of enfilade fire, defilade fire, flanking fire, flanking counter-attacks, fients, etcetera. And specially of the involved tactics in use during the Civil War.

The book is full of quotes taken out of context (rarely does a quote contain a complete sentence, usually it is just a phrase... never in a full comments and almost never with an indication of when the comment was made and if it involved that topic on that day). It also often contradicts itself. It frequently carries a hypothesis to the point of one saying "Gosh that IS what happened - and it still didn't work out the way that Lee ALLEGEDLY intended" when the author abandons that topic / sub topic and quickly moves on to SUPPOSEDLY make another point.

The maps are atrocious. Pretty much never consist of what happened, but (in their own descriptors) are noted as "what Lee had surely planned", or "what the idealized plan was in Lee's mind". And these are not basic, general sweeping plans, but plans down to the detail of Division and even Brigades (this from a Lee who was notorious for giving general orders and leaving specific conduct of a very general plan to his subordinate Corps commanders). The accompanying text is equally poor.

I can only believe that as a (VERY) amateur subject author and (fairly clearly) layman that the author published this book (2003) in the hopes that military historical readers and military historians - especially of the Civil War - would not see through these multitudes of major problems, allowing him to sneak into the realm of an accepted Civil War historian of some note.

It has not.


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