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This is the archive for June 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last week I hinted that I would talk about one of the really nice books I got, Historic Photos of Gettysburg.

Then I failed all of you by not doing a dang thing. I can be bad like that.

So today I thought I would make up for it by having TWO posts! I know what you are thinking, “Wow, first he actually posts and now he throws up two in a day?”

Not to get you too excited but I’ve got a post already written for tomorrow. Yup, I can be good like that.

The cover of the book shows a photograph that I wish citizens of today’s America would take to heart, elderly soldiers from both sides, united together, not still fighting the war. You don’t see them cheering for the old days or reliving the glorious armies they served in – you see the sadness in their eyes and can only ask yourself, “What would they tell us if they were around today?”

Although I have seen many of the pictures in the past, I have never seen so many presented in one book. The pictures are grouped together with 54 pages dealing with the battle, 75 pages on dedication and remembrance (1863 – 1900), 39 pages on the Fiftieth Reunion and 29 pages on the Seventy Fifth Reunion, followed with notes and bibliography sections.

The pictures in each group are enlightening in so many different ways. The battle photographs, although not actually taken during the battle, help give a sense of the battlefield as a whole. As you go through later groups, you see how the battlefield changes with age. The other sections also show how Gettysburg became a place of pilgrimage for veterans, family members and Americans in general. The last section holds sadness to it, as you see the elderly veterans return and you realize that for most, this is there last venture to the battlefield. It is much like what we hear in the news about our WWII veterans and their ever decreasing population.

While one can easily flip through the pages and finish the book in less than 30 minutes, the impact that the pictures will have is reduced to nothingness. John S. Salmon, whose previous works include The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide, has done a thorough job of writing entertaining and educational text and captions to accompany the photographs. He has succeeded in producing a work that both the ACW buff and recreational reader will enjoy and hopefully learn a bit from.

It is fitting that the last photograph is that of The External Light Peace Memorial, shortly after its dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The External Light Peace Memorial was intended as both a tribute to the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg and as a symbol of eternal peace in the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his speech at the unveiling ceremony, declared, “On behalf of the people of the United States, I accept this monument in the spirit of brotherhood and peace.” Roosevelt also said, “Immortal deeds and immortal wounds have created here at Gettysburg, a shrine to American patriotism.” Indeed, no other hallowed ground stirs such emotions, even today, as Gettysburg National Battlefield Park.

If only 144~ years since the battle, we still weren’t finding ourselves still fighting over it.

Historic Photos of Gettysburg
Text and Captions – John S. Salmon
PublisherTurner Publishing
216 pages
ISBN - 978-1-59652-323-4
Price - $39.95

Book Signing appearences
John will be signing his book at two upcoming events
June 20th, 6:30 PM
Fountain Books - Richmond, Va

July 7, 1:00 pm
17th on the Square - Gettysburg, Pa