On a snow Saturday afternoon, there is nothing better than poking around a bookstore or two in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. That is what I did yesterday. In the past when I have been to Gettysburg with the kids, they have not had the patience or inclination to indulge my passion for nosing around so I have not been able to give these places more than a cursory look. Yesterday was another story. With no one tagging along I spent a couple of pleasant hours in two fine establishments slowly going over their collections. They were Battlefield & Beyond Military History Bookshop, and the American History Store on 461 Baltimore Street.
I will be eating macaroni and cheese for a couple of weeks to defray my investments on Saturday but emerged with the following new titles for my collection:
Abner Doubleday A Civil War Biography by Thomas Barthel
Battle at Bull Run – A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War by William C. Davis
Giants in Their Tall Black Hats – Essays on the Iron Brigade edited by Alan T. Nolan and Sharon Eggleston Vipound
Personal Recollections of the Civil War by John Gibbon
The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 edited by Gary W. Gallagher
The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy by Robert K. Krick
Why the South Lost the Civl War by Richard Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr.
Many of these are titles that I have been interested in acquiring for years and now I am pleased to own them. I really like the anthology type books and three of these (Black Hats, Smoothbore Volley, and Shenandoah Valley) fall into that category. William C. Davis's book on First Bull Run was recommended to me when I visited that battlefield recently. I just read How the North Won by Hattaway and Jones, one of my all time favorites and when I saw the companion piece about the South, it went into the shopping cart too. Two biographies about Antietam generals Doubleday and Gibbon (actually Gibbons is an autobiography) also made the 40 mile trip back to Jefferson Maryland yesterday.
My normal mode of acquiring books is on line and I likely paid more for several of these titles at yesterday than if I had gone after them on line. However it is important I think to keep the brick and mortar institutions, and especially the small retail stores in business. They fulfill an important role in the book retailing industry. And as I said earlier, just the experience of looking at the books and putting hands on them is a cool thing for me.
I will be curled up around some very good books on these long winter (and likely spring and summer) nights.