Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maps of First Bull Run

The Maps of First Bull Run by Bradley M. Gottfried.

Once again a book review that is well behind the time. I think I'm late in doing this review because it is so obvious from the first time you open this book that this is a great book. This is Gottfried's second book in the battlefield atlas series from Savas Beatie (he did Gettysburg first and Dave Powell has added Chickamauga to the series as well).

The basic layout of each book in the series is that there is a full page color map depicting one phase of the battle and the text that describes that map is on the facing page. You can read the book cover to cover or simply use it to enhance another book on the battle that has much fewer maps. I think the series is great and as each book comes out I'll buy it without needing to see it or read reviews first, that's part of the reason why I did not review this book when it came out.

There are 51 maps in this volume, half of which cover the battle directly. Nine cover the preliminary movements and skirmishes, including Blackburn's Ford. A few maps cover the theater situation in the month afterwards and then there are about a dozen maps on Ball's Bluff.

My only complaint, and it is a series wide complaint, is that elevation change is indicated by hash marks and not by topographic lines. I grew up with topo maps so reading them has never been a problem for me. I understand they can clutter a map or be difficult for a portion of the population to read but I personally would prefer them over hash marks. I've seen topo lines used in books where it doesn't clutter the map, so it can be done. I think it would help with study as you would be able to see real elevations (and for those of us who know how to make profiles you could create profiles to show how much of the field could be seen from a particular position). Whenever I study I battle I go to the local USGS office and get the quad sheets so I have a good topographic map.

Anyway, that's my only complaint about the book series. I see no reason not to add this book to your library.

1 comment:

Veronica said...

Thank you for mentioning our book, "The Maps of First Bull Run." If you would like more information about the book, including an excerpt, or its author, please check here:

Kim Rouse
Savas Beatie LLC
Publisher of Historical Titles of Distinction