"Often a place becomes historical by chance rather than by design. Such was the fate of Gettysburg, a peaceful little market town until the summer of 1863, when the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac transformed it into a battleground. Through skillful selection of details, fidelity to the historical record, and calculated shifts in perspective, the author has created an intensely moving account that becomes a commentary on the tragic consequences of war . . . [The fictional] Buck Summerhill is a private with the Union Army; his cousins Mason and Custis Walker are Confederates; his widowed mother, sixteen-year-old sister Beckah, and younger brother Leander are among the residents of the town who must cope first with the immediate dangers of the conflict and then with the scores of casualties left behind . . . The epilogue, which concludes with Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address,' attempts to provide some kind of transcendent explanation of those tragic days." — Horn Book
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