As a Canadian, born and bred, the American Civil War has always been something of a mystery to me. Call me ignorant, but I was often slightly confused who wore what uniforms, what exactly happened, and who that Robert E. Lee guy fought for.
Well, this certainly brought everything into focus. Michael Shaara takes you into the build-up and through the Battle of Gettysburg, the pivotal battle that decided the fate of the Southern uprising. Going lower to the ground, looking through the eyes of generals and commanders on both sides, you really get a first-hand account of what happened on those fateful few days leading up to the 4th of July when the Rebels officially retreated, pulling back from Gettysburg. That's not a spoiler - that's history, but even though you know it, you can't help but furiously turn pages until you hit the last.
Also, extremely helpful are diagrams and maps of the area and troops formations throughout the battle. Really makes it easier to see exactly what was going on. Even more interesting are the maps detailing what a certain side 'thought' the other side's formation was, in comparison with what was actually there.
All in all, I couldn't be happier with this read. I had no previous interest in the Civil War whatsoever, but I got my education seemingly from Chamberlin, Longstreet, and maybe even a thing or two from General Lee himself.