THE COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest
by J. David Petruzzi

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714630

Complete is correct!

My Gettysburg Battlefield Guides range from the U.S. Army War College Guide for serious students and army officers to four-dollar stapled pamphlets.  They range from first person accounts drawn from the Official Records to little more than what is on the face of the monuments.  Each guide has something to recommend it, being unique in its’ own way.  All the guides cover the second and third days fighting in an around the town.  Most cover the East Cavalry Field and some cover Farnsworth’s Charge.  The better guides cover the first days battle too.  This is the standard expected of a Gettysburg guide and what we base our judgment on.

I have not seen a guide that covers the Marsh Creek Skirmish of June 26 until now.  Nor do I recall a guide that provides tours of Hunterstown and Fairfield.  I have never seen a tour of the field hospital sites either.  How about a tour of the town with 22 stops and 9 additional sites of buildings with artillery shells?  You will not find this in any guide I know of.  There are two tours of cemeteries.  One is of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery; the second is of Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery.   Both are unique and a valuable addition to any stay at Gettysburg.  Another unique item is “Stories in Stone: Rock Carvings on the Gettysburg Battlefield”.   This part of the book contains a series of “Let’s Find It!” paragraphs that will have us scrambling over rocks playing detective and having a great time.  The heart of the book is two tours: 110 pages of text explain 30 stops covering the three-day battle in and around the town.  Driving instructions are exact, complete with parking areas, warnings about traffic and private property.

The maps are excellent!  Steven Stanley is a master mapmaker and he displays his talents here.  Linked to tour stops, the maps are clear easy to use and to the point.  Savas Beatie is a publisher who understands the importance of maps and refuses to short change the reader in this area.  They map, early and often.

Photographs move this guide into a class all by itself!  The book contains a series of full color photos by Steven Stanley showing the park in all seasons and a large number of historic views illustrating the development of the park.  Stanley’s photos are a problem; they will take your attention away from the text.  You simply cannot ignore them!  I found myself turning the pages just looking at his photographs and maps.

The text is a joy to read!  J. David Petruzzi is an excellent author and has a sure grasp of the battle.  The result is a narration that is both informative and readable.  His directions are concise and highlighted for ease of use.  His battle narration is at the correct level of detail, giving us the information needed without bogging down or overwhelming us.  Throughout the guide are little trivia items that are great fun.

After telling you all the good things, this book has a major flaw.  With this much detail, with so many side tours and out of the way places: you will need several more days at Gettysburg.  This is the most enjoyable Gettysburg Guide I have seen.  It works as a guide, as a photo book and as a history of the battle.  It is “complete” and a must have item for your Gettysburg library.

Editor’s Note: Jim is a Top 500 reviewer.

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2 responses to “Review: THE COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE”

  1. Theodore Savas Avatar


    Many thanks for reviewing this title. The first edition is virtually sold out (fewer than 200 copies left) and the second edition will arrive in the warehouse sometime this month . . . so those who want the first–act fast!

    Thanks again.


  2. admin Avatar


    Thanks! Keep up the good work.


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