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LOST TRIUMPH:

LEE'S REAL PLAN AT GETTYSBURG --

AND WHY IT FAILED

By Tom Carhart

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons (April, 2005)

Lost Triumph (picture)
(hardcover)

(paperback)

 Read excerpts from James McPherson's Foreword.

Read other authors' comments on Lost Triumph.
 

From Library Journal:

Historians have long maintained that Gen. Robert E. Lee lost the Battle of Gettysburg by sending Gen. George Pickett's forces against the center of the Union line on an apparent suicide mission. Yet this action, argues Carhart, contradicts all of Lee's tactics in previous battles, when he engaged not just a small part but his entire force in a crucial fight. As a West Point graduate and teacher, Lee was well versed in battle strategies and would have never sent Pickett against Union lines without a plan of support. A Vietnam veteran, military history author, and West Point graduate himself, Carhart introduces a revisionist view of Lee's strategies for this battle that, had it been successful, would have drastically changed the course of history. Carhart makes his case carefully, describing Lee's training at West Point and his battlefield experience before the Civil War, as well as classic battles in history that would have affected his strategies in early July 1863. This book would be a fine addition to the Civil War collections of any public or academic library.-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information

From ALA Booklist (May 15, 2005):

Lee's actions on July 3, 1863, are among the most widely examined military issues of the Civil War. Military historian Carhart presents a novel, provocative, but definitely debatable interpretation of Lee's motivations and actions that led to the slaughter on the approaches to Cemetery Ridge. Carhart asserts that the attack upon the Union center must be seen within a larger context as part of a coordinated, three-pronged attack. The plan included a frontal assault against the Union right on Culp's Hill and, most critically, a rear assault on Union lines led by Jeb Stuart's cavalry. Of course, both of these attacks failed, dooming the third prong. In this reinterpretation, the real "hero" of Gettysburg was the oft-maligned "boy general" George Armstrong Custer, who thwarted Stuart with repeated gallant charges. This is a well-argued piece of revisionist history that is sure to inspire further and heated discussion. -Jay Freeman
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

Publisher's Review:

A fascinating narrative -- and a bold new thesis in the study of the Civil War-that suggests Robert E. Lee had a heretofore undiscovered strategy at Gettysburg that, if successful, could have crushed the Union forces and changed the outcome of the war.

The Battle of Gettysburg is the pivotal moment when the Union forces repelled perhaps
America's greatest commander-the brilliant Robert E. Lee, who had already thrashed a long line of Federal opponents-just as he was poised at the back door of Washington, D.C. It is the moment in which the fortunes of Lee, Lincoln, the Confederacy, and the Union hung precariously in the balance.

Conventional wisdom has held to date, almost without exception, that on the third day of the battle, Lee made one profoundly wrong decision. But how do we reconcile Lee the high-risk warrior with Lee the general who launched "Pickett's Charge," employing only a fifth of his total forces, across an open field, up a hill, against the heart of the Union defenses? Most history books have reported that Lee just had one very bad day. But there is much more to the story, which Tom Carhart addresses for the first time.

With meticulous detail and startling clarity, Carhart revisits the historic battles Lee taught at West Point and believed were the essential lessons in the art of war -- the victories of Napoleon at Austerlitz, Frederick the Great at Leuthen, and Hannibal at Cannae -- and reveals what they can tell us about Lee's real strategy. What Carhart finds will thrill all students of history: Lee's plan for an electrifying rear assault by Jeb Stuart that, combined with the frontal assault, could have broken the Union forces in half. Only in the final hours of the battle was the attack reversed through the daring of an unproven young general -- George Armstrong Custer.

Lost Triumph will be one of the most captivating and controversial history books of the season.

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Additional Praise for

Lost Triumph

 "No historian before Carhart has pieced together the whole story. . . . Given the vast number of writings about Gettysburg, it seems impossible to come up with new information and insights about the battle. But Tom Carhart has done it." ---James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom (See more excerpts from the foreword by James M. McPherson.)

“Tom Carhart sheds new light on the grandest battle of the Civil War, a remarkable achievement by any military historian.”
---Sir John Keegan, author of The Face of Battle and Six Armies in
Normandy

“A lively and innovative interpretation of the greatest battle ever waged on American soil.  Written with verve and a keen eye for the telling detail, Lost Triumph brings to life both the battlefield and the remarkable men who fought there.  Tom Carhart has given us not only a fine work of scholarship, but a fine story.”
---
Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn

“With Lost Triumph, West Pointer Tom Carhart swats a stupendous, historical, out-of-the-park four-bagger. History is seldom page-turning; here, the true events of Gettysburg compose a thriller. Dr. Carhart makes the case for revolutionizing our understanding of the decisive engagement of the Civil War; elevates the renown of Robert E. Lee; improbably reanimates the reputation of George Armstrong Custer; and shows us how history should be analyzed, challenged, proven and taught. On the way, he condenses the complexities of the military art into entertainingly digestible bites.”             
---Gus Lee, author of China Boy, Honor and Duty and Chasing Hepburn.

Lost Triumph is an exciting, wonderful book rivaling anything yet written about the battle of Gettysburg. It is mandatory reading for Civil War buffs. I have always wondered why General Lee ordered that fateful attack when and where he did. Now I know. Thanks to Tom Carhart's exemplary new research and his knowledge of military matters, Lost Triumph presents the first comprehensive view of Lee's previously unknown plan to win the battle.”     
---Bruce Lee, author of Marching Orders: The Untold Story of World War II

See more comments on Lost Triumph.

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Reviews of Lost Triumph:

Niagra Falls Reporter (March 29, 2005); By John Hanchette, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter

The Free Lance Star (August 31, 2005) Fredericksburg, VA

Toledo Blade (September 4, 2005)
Toledo, OH

Military Law Review (vol. 186)


 

 

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Lost Triumph audio book coming July, 2005:

Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg - And Why it Failed
Tom Carhart, Author
Read by Michael Prichard
Tantor Audio Books
Release Date: May 2005

(Also available through the links listed above.)

 

 

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