Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gamble for Victory: Battle of Gettysburg

Gamble for Victory: Battle of Gettysburg

Dan Abnett
Illustrator:  Dheeraj Verma 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel
For ages 8 to and up
Osprey, 2006   ISBN: 978-1846030512

It was the summer of 1963 and the American Civil War has been going on for two long years. Because so much of the fighting had been taking place on their turf for so long and because they thought it was time to take the war north, the southern generals decided to march north. If they could have an important victory on northern soil it would give them a big advantage in the future. Thus it that in the last days of June, 1863, the two armies began to converge on the little town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The first to arrive on June 30th was General Buford of the Union side. He was eager to find out where the confederates were and how many of them there were. Confederate General Pettigrew saw the union troops going into the town. He decided to attack the next day. Major General Meade quickly sent reinforcements to help Buford who was just holding his own and when they arrived the battle began in earnest.

By the end the day on July 1st the confederates has gained some ground but they had suffered many loses. At the end of the day Generals on both sides met and made plans. There were disagreements about what should be done and during the morning of July 2nd confusion reigned. When battle finally commenced in the afternoon of July 2nd costly mistakes were made and many lives were lost as a result. Both sides wanted to get to the top of a little hill called Little Round Top and the fight for this little mound of rock was fierce.

And so it continued. There was the battle in a wheat field, they fought for Seminary Ridge, they fought for Cemetery Ridge, and they fought for Culp’s Hill. Back and forth the forces went and frequently terrible mistakes were made at a frightful price. For example General George Edward Pickett led his men in a charge which was doomed from the very beginning and 1,500 men lost their lives as a result.

It finally ended on July 4th when the confederate forces withdrew in the pouring rain. It was a dismal end to a dreadful battle.

This book gives readers of all ages a superb picture of what occurred before during and after the battle of Gettysburg. At the beginning of the book readers are introduced to some of the main characters in the story and they are given an excellent background about the American Civil War in general and the events which led up to this particular battle. Then there is the story of the battle which is presented in graphic novel format with wonderful illustrations, plenty of action, dialogue, and explanations. Finally there is an “Aftermath” section which describes what took place after the battle was over.

This is just one in a whole series of graphic novel style books which brings events in military history to life.