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Defining Moments

The Battle of Gettysburg

  • Author/Editor: Kevin Hillstrom
  • Binding: Library binding
  • Trim Size: 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • Page Count: 229
  • Book Level:
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-7808-1323-6
  • List Price: $60.00
  • Sample Pages
  • Printable Information Sheet
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The Civil War, and specifically the battle of Gettysburg, has come to be seen as an event that shaped the course of millions of lives in America and around the world for generations to come. Indeed, according to the historian Thomas A. Desjardin, Gettysburg is the place where our nation was saved.

Defining Moments: The Battle of Gettysburg provides a detailed account of the American Civil War and the importance of the Battle of Gettysburg in shaping the outcome of that conflict. It concludes with an examination of the legacy of the Civil War (and its most famous battle) on American history and culture. The volume is organized into three distinct sections—Narrative Overview, Biographies, and Primary Sources—which offer a one-stop resource for student research.

  • The Narrative Overview section provides a detailed, factual account of what led up to the Battle of Gettysburg, the events and issues during the era, and its legacy in American society
  • The Biographies section presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the battle and the Civil War
  • The Primary Sources section collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era, including official documents, first-hand accounts, memoirs, editorials, and other important works

Other notable features include a glossary of important people, places, and terms; a detailed chronology featuring page references to relevant sections of the narrative; an annotated listing of selected sources for further study; an extensive general bibliography; and a subject index.

Standard Features

  • Library binding, 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
  • 240 pages
  • 30-40 photographs and other illustrations
  • Narrative Overview section: Provides a detailed, factual account of the “defining moment”
  • Biographies section: Presents valuable biographical background on leading figures associated with the event
  • Primary Sources section: Collects a wide variety of pertinent primary source materials from the era
  • Research Topics: Proposes a list of topics suitable for conducting historical research and writing reports, a valuable starting point for student research
  • Source Attribution: Contains references for primary sources and other quoted material that guide users to other historical research resources
  • Glossary of Important People, Places, and Terms: Gives brief definitions for the many terms used in the book
  • Chronology: Highlights the related events in chronological order, along with “see” references that direct the reader to pages in the narrative with additional information
  • Sources for Further Study: Provides annotated citations for selected sources that are most useful to students
  • Bibliography: Lists books, periodicals, web sites, and videos consulted in preparing the volume
  • Subject Index: Includes people, places, organizations, events, and other topics

Research Topics

Each volume in the Defining Moments series covers a wide range of topics that students can use as starting points for further research. Potential research topics for Defining Moments: The Battle of Gettysburg are below:

  • Explain the central role that slavery played in the rising tensions between America’s northern and southern states, and the South’s efforts to portray its stance on slavery as an issue of “states’ rights”
  • List reasons why the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency of the United States in 1860 convinced slaveholding states to secede
  • Provide reasons why both the North and South believed that the Civil War would end quickly–and why each side was certain that it would be victorious
  • Discuss the main military problems that afflicted the Union and Confederate armies during the first two years of the war
  • Explain the importance of having possession of high ground in military battles such as the one that took place at Gettysburg in July 1863
  • Compare and contrast the performance of the two armies during the first two days at Gettysburg, paying particular attention to the orders of top commanders like Lee, Longstreet, Hill, Ewell, Grant, Meade, Hancock, and Sickles
  • Compare and contrast the Confederate assaults at Chancellorsville and at Gettysburg on Day Three a mere two months later and discuss which factors contributed to the success of the first charge and the failure of the second
  • Explore why Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address continues to have such a prominent place in American history and culture


“This book is an excellent portable archive on the Battle of Gettysburg. … Overall, the book is an easy read and when combined with the primary sources the text gives the reader a real feel for the period in which the battle took place. … [The Battle of Gettysburg is] a good place for a young reader to start their research on the battle.”

—American Reference Books Annual, 2014

“An authoritative, fascinating account of the Battle of Gettysburg and its importance in the American Civil War.”

—Education Digest, Oct ’13