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The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice… Mark Twain

The colors of courage : Gettysburg’s hidden history : immigrants, women, and African-Americans in the Civil War’s defining battle Margaret Creighton  Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863  New York : Basic Books, c 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 321 p., [8] leaves of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-308) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG  

Gettysburg has been written about and studied in great detail over the last 150 plus years, but there are still many participants whose experiences have been overlooked. In augmenting this incomplete history, Margaret Creighton presents a new look at the decisive battle through the eyes of Gettysburg’s women, immigrant soldiers, and black Americans.

With a greater flair for storytelling than mere historical facts, Creighton draws on memoirs, letters, diaries, and newspapers to get to what she supposes to be the hearts of her subjects. Mag Palm, a free black woman living with her family outside of town on Cemetery Ridge is portrayed as threatened by the arrival of Lee’s Confederate Army. Carl Schurz, a political exile who had fled Germany after the failed 1848 revolution, brought a deeply held fervor for revolution and destruction of the established regime to the Union Army along with every other idea that came out of those revolutions. Sadie Bushman, a nine-year-old cabinetmaker’s daughter, was commandeered by a Union doctor to assist at a field hospital just as everything that belonged to civilians was subject to military requisition.

In telling the stories of these and a dozen other participants, Margaret Creighton has written a work of originality if not history – a narrative that is sure to spawn at least a dozen screenplays, more teleplays and probably a pulitzer prize winning novel or two.


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