The only time I've ever purposely destroyed a book was back in high school, when I cut out a hole large enough to secret a pack of cigarettes. You had to know my father. Even though he smoked a pipe and cigars and kept a spittoon handy for juice from a plug of tobacco, he was evil incarnate when it came to his kids and cigarettes. My brother can swear to this, although he'd probably rather forget it. When he was caught with a pack, as punishment, he had to swallow the juice from the plug he was forced to chew. Me, I was smarter than my brother, until the day I was caught walking home from school taking a drag from a butt. There was a lot of yelling on my father's part. I mean he was royally pissed off, but fortunately I wasn't subjected to the tobacco juice treatment. I guess what made it even worse in my father's eyes was that I had asked him for permission to smoke a couple of weeks earlier. We had actually had a calm and rational discussion about the subject. At the end he simply said "No." And that in his mind was the end of that, except in my mind I was never asked to promise I wouldn't smoke.
Now I'm thinking of purposely destroying another book, but this time around it doesn't have anything to do with wanting to hide something. Too, I hope if the authors read this they'll understand. No, I'm not intending on destroying my autographed copy of "The Complete Guide to Gettysburg" by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley. I'm thinking of buying a second copy, ripping the cover off, punching holes, and then placing the pages in a loose leaf binder. I know, that's nuts. I know that's a waste of a good book. However, knowing me and my propensity for spilling things, I figure I'd have what would amount to a soft cover edition of the book that I could easily cart around Gettysburg and not worry about whether it got messed up or not. Don't get me wrong, I'm generally pretty careful with hard cover books, but I also know "The Guide" is going to be put to good practical and repeated use. So, in apology to David and Steven, if they take exception to my plan, I might, maybe, think about swallowing some tobacco juice, or they could spare me that fate by issuing a soft cover edition.
A lot of bloggers have already written reviews on the book. The best endorsement I can give it entails two words: No, not, "Boycott WalMart," although you should do that, too, but, 'buy the book.' That's three words, not two, but you get my drift. The narrative by David is unified and very well written, the maps and photos by Steven simply excellent. Quite simply, and, yes, I'm repeating the same word in consecutive sentences, if you're heading to Gettysburg, don't leave home without it.
By the way Amazon, where's my copy of Eric Wittenberg's latest book that I pre-ordered?