Illustrated Gettysburg

"The graphic history of Gettysburg" by Wayne Vansant

There is much to like in "The graphic history of Gettysburg: America's most famous battle and the turning point of the Civil War" by Wayne Vansant. Vansant's drawing style is simple and clean; despite the subject, the book is not excessively gory. Small splotches of red indicate someone was shot. The use of color also helps tell the many characters apart, as the plot shifts from Southern warriors to Northern quickly.

Vansant depicts how intimate war was at the time, with men fighting hand -to-hand, bayonets fixed. Facial expressions and body postures of combatants and horses hint at the unpredictability of this kind of fighting. Several anecdotes about specific soldiers make the story even more personal and poignant.

The book examines each day's troop movements using maps, explanations and stylized topographical drawings. This effort to simplify the monumentally important battle still left me scratching my head, however. I suspect that someone simultaneously studying the battle in a more traditional form would fare better. There is so much to learn and investigate about Gettysburg and the Civil War that this book might be a good gateway.  

--Julie C., Headquarters

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