Book Review – “Historic Photos of Gettysburg”

Last month, I received a review copy of this new book, compiled by John S. Salmon and published by Turner Publishing Company.  I was immediately impressed by the quality of the book – it is large size and the photos are very well reproduced.

There is a limited amount of text throughout the book, which is no problem since it’s all about photographs anyway.  A closer reading of that text revealed that in several instances Salmon repeats well-debunked errors.  For instance, right out of the box on page 1, Salmon writes that Heth approached Gettysburg on the morning of July 1 “having heard that much-needed shoes could be obtained there.”  Yikes – anyone that still believes today that Gettysburg started over shoes really needs a history lesson.  Regardless, most of the text is fine and provides a decent setup for that section’s photographs.

As for the photos, they are very well reproduced and printed in this book.  And, as I hoped, I found many that I’d never seen before – which is what today’s reader wants.  You can find all of the most famous Gettysburg photographs in tons of books, but give me ones I’ve never seen before.  For instance, I was pleasantly surprised by the photo on page 85, depicting a group shot at the dedication of the Cavalry Memorial Shaft on East Cavalry Field (1884).  I have never seen that one before.  There were quite a number of photos I had not run across previously, especially those depicting monument dedications.

I received this book shortly before my last visit to Gettysburg, so I took it with me.  I was in the Reliance Mine Saloon one evening with Eric, and sat with old friends William Frassanito and Blake Magner.  Remembering I had the book in the vehicle, I went out, grabbed it, and brought it in for Bill to see.  He likewise was impressed with the reproductions, and noticed a few he didn’t recall seeing.  If you impress (or perhaps don’t disappoint) Frass with a photo book, you’re doing okay!

Regardless of the boo-boos in the text and some captions, the book is worth owning.  At $39.95 retail, the price ain’t bad.  All the photos are duly credited, and you will definitely see some you haven’t seen previously.  They have given me leads on ones I’ll want to secure for future projects, and that is always appreciated.

Check it out and see if the better half will let you put it on your Christmas list.

Published in: on August 9, 2007 at 10:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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