Thursday, May 14, 2009


As the son of a cartographer I love maps. I love maps in general. I especially love maps in books. There probably isn't a Civil War book that wouldn't benefit from another map. I'm especially excited about the series at Savas Beatie that is just the story of the battle told thru maps. They've done Gettysburg and First Bull Run so far. I hope they end up doing two dozen of these books.

Awhile back I complained about Confederate Struggle for Command as one of the worst books I've read lately. What I failed to comment on at the time is that the maps were truly horrible. I've included Mendoza's map and a map from James Lee McDonough's book to compare. Mendoza's have very little in common with the ground, plus are just unattractive to look at.

The same week I got the Mendoza book I also got Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea by Noah Andre Trudeau. The maps in there are wonderful. He has a map for every day of the campaign plus he lists the weather conditions on there too. I don't think I've seen anyone do that before. I haven't read the book yet but just looking at the maps makes me excited about doing so one day soon.

Another book I'm looking forward to is The Complete Gettysburg Guide by J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley. Partly its because it looks like it will have a wealth of information but partly its because Stanley has made about 70 maps for the book. Stanley is the cartographer who makes the maps that accompany the Civil War Preservation Trust letters announcing the next place that is in danger of development. He is one of a handful of Civil War cartographers that I recognize the map's creator.

Of course as far as battlefield maps go you cannot forget to mention Tim Kissel's Trailhead Graphics maps. These maps are printed on a waterproof tearproof paper and show every monument and marker on the battlefield. If you intend to wander a battlefield you cannot be without these maps. I usually buy mine as pairs, one to keep nice and one to mark up on the battlefield.


TPS said...

Hi Nick

Thanks for the nice words about the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series (the formal name). "The Maps of First Bull Run" by Brad Gottfried hits the warehouse in two weeks (as will the Petruzzi and Stanley Gettysburg tome you mention--both are wonderful, in our opinion). The 144 original maps in "The Maps of Gettysburg," by Gottfried have been remade (and time-stamped) in full color. So a future printing will (eventually) be in full color. It has already been reprinted three or four times.

You will be pleased to know that we are hard at work on the next Atlas series entry: "The Maps of Chickamauga," by David Powell, with original maps by David Friedrichs (target release date: September 15, 2009). The book will be 7 x 10, hardcover, dust jacket, 336 pages of full color, 126 full-page maps, and include the Tullahoma Campaign (summer 1863) and all the typical bells and whistles you have come to expect from our titles. Now I am dying to get back to North Georgia.

I would be happy to share a map and facing sample text with you.

Thanks again.

Best Regards,

Theodore P. Savas
Savas Beatie LLC
916.941.6896 (Voice)
916-941.6895 (Fax)

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Slamdunk said...

The Beatie books look interesting, I'll have to look at them more closely.

I think the love of maps is hidden in the male genetic code somewhere.

J David Petruzzi said...

Hey Nick,

Thanks for the plug for the new book by me and Steve Stanley - and I hope you get one and enjoy it. Steve's 70 full color maps are beautiful and they have some very interesting touring features that I think everyone will enjoy.

J. David Petruzzi
"The Complete Gettysburg Guide"