Hallowed Ground : A Walk at Gettysburg

Version: Abridged
Author: James McPherson
Narrator: James McPherson
Genres: History
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Published In: May 2003
# of Units: 2 CDs
Length: 2 hours
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James M. McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, and arguably the finest Civil War historian in the world, walks us through the site of the bloodiest and perhaps most consequential battle ever fought by Americans: the Battle of Gettysburg.

The events that occurred at Gettysburg are etched into our collective memory, as they served to change the course of the Civil War and with it the course of history. More than any other place in the United States, Gettysburg is indeed hallowed ground. It’s no surprise that it is one of the nation’s most visited sites (nearly two million annual visitors), attracting tourists, military buffs, and students of American history.

McPherson, who has led countless tours of Gettysburg over the years, makes stops at Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, Cemetery Hill, and Little Round Top, among other key locations. He reflects on the meaning of the battle, describes the events of those terrible three days in July 1863, and places the struggle in the greater context of American and world history. Along the way, he intersperses stories of his own encounters with the place over several decades, as well as debunking several popular myths about the battle itself.

What brought those 165,000 soldiers—75,000 Confederate, 90,000 Union—to Gettysburg? Why did they lock themselves in such a death grip across these once bucolic fields until 11,000 of them were killed or mortally wounded, another 29,000 were wounded and survived, and about 10,000 were “missing”—mostly captured? What was accomplished by all of this carnage? Join James M. McPherson on a walk across this hallowed ground as he be encompasses the depth of meaning and historical impact of a place that helped define the nation’s character.

“[I]n a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract.”
—President Abraham Lincoln

Reviews (3)

Hallowed Ground

Written by Michael Scott from Santa Cruz, CA on December 12th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 2/5

This is a fact-filled book contains all you would ever wish to know about Gettysburg between July 1 and July 3, 1863. It is so packed full of information, that it is not the best selection for the commmuter. The Narrator doesn't help matters - he just keeps rambling on, without a gap between topics/destinations. It was extremely hard to follow. For those who aren't driving, this does seem interesting, though very dry. Again, I think a big part of the problem is the Narrator in this respect.

hallowed ground

Written by Lee Werley from Chapel Hill, NC on April 27th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Too much like others of this period and not very interesting.

Hallowed Ground : A Walk at Gettysburg

Written by Glenn Kennedy from San Diego, CA on March 14th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

In fairness, my problem was probably a mismatch of author's intent and my hopes. I wanted a thoughful but perhaps uplifting story of that seminal battle in our history ... more like the feeling from PBS's great Civil War series, and what this book delivers is a chronological (and I found deadly dull) account of physical troop movements during the day. Now, this may absolutely delight a Civil War/Gettyburg buff, so please take my comments in perspective. Went back right away.

Author Details

Author Details

McPherson, James

James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1962. A native of North Dakota, he received his bachelor's degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. He has written seven books on the Civil War era, including "Battle Cry of Freedom", for which he won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in history. His most recent book is "Images of the Civil War", a collaboration with painter Mort Kunstler.