GBLIMy lifelong fascination with the Civil War has been stoked to new heights in recent times with the commemoration – day by day – of the 150th anniversary of its duration. This week we mark one of the most notable milestones in this rolling sesquicentennial celebration – the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

It was on July 1-3, 1863 that the famed battle, called by some the “Waterloo of the Confederacy” and most certainly a major event in the inevitable Union victory, raged in the Pennsylvania countryside.

Although the war continued for almost two more years, Gettysburg gave President Lincoln a must needed boost to move ahead with emancipation and gain momentum in the war at a time when it was not all that certain the Union would prevail.

In the wonderful new book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo, we are treated to a thorough schooling of this major event. Mr. Guelzo is a gifted historian and writer and he provides us with a fresh telling of one of the most written-about events in American history.

About Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo: “From the acclaimed Civil War historian, a brilliant new history—the most intimate and richly readable account we have had—of the climactic three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), which draws the reader into the heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary soldier, and depicts the combination of personalities and circumstances that produced the greatest battle of the Civil War, and one of the greatest in human history. Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, none dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice. Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights, and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the lay of the land, the fences and the stone walls, the gunpowder clouds that hampered movement and vision; the armies that caroused, foraged, kidnapped, sang, and were so filthy they could be smelled before they could be seen; the head-swimming difficulties of marshaling massive numbers of poorly trained soldiers, plus thousands of animals and wagons, with no better means of communication than those of Caesar and Alexander.”

If you are a Civil War buff you will no doubt appreciate this book. However, every American should be interested in the history of the Civil War and learning more about Gettysburg as its importance echoes to this day. Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo is a good place to start.

Gettysburg: The Last Invasion by Allen C. Guelzo is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

Follow all the Civil War Sesquicentennial dates on the Civil War Trust’s site here.