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  • The Devil's to Pay

  • John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour. Hardcover - October 19, 2014
  • By: Eric J. Wittenberg
  • Narrated by: Ralph Henning
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military

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Publisher's Summary

Although many books on Gettysburg have addressed the role played by Brig. Gen. John Buford and his First Cavalry Division troops, there is not a single book-length study devoted entirely to the critical delaying actions waged by Buford and his dismounted troopers and his horse artillerists on the morning of July 1, 1863. Award-winning Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg rectifies this glaring oversight with The Devil’s to Pay.

This comprehensive tactical study examines the role Buford and his horse soldiers played from June 29 through July 2, 1863, including the important actions that saved the shattered remnants of the first and 11th Corps. Wittenberg relies upon scores of rare primary sources, including many that have never before been used, to paint a detailed picture of the critical role the quiet, and modest cavalryman known to his men as “Honest John” or “Old Steadfast” played at Gettysburg.

The Devil’s to Pay also includes a detailed walking and driving tour of pertinent sites, complete with GPS coordinates. Three appendices address the nature of Buford’s defense at Gettysburg, whether his troopers were armed with repeating weapons, and whether a feint by his men late in the day caused the Confederate infantry to form “squares” (a Napoleonic defensive tactic). Finally, The Devil’s to Pay is a must-have for Gettysburg enthusiasts.

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  • 40 yr old
  • 27-06-2019

It's pronounced CAValry..,Not CALvary

Oh my, you'd think they would make sure they found a narrator who knew how to pronounce "cavalry" since it's a book about cavalry...I'm only 2 chapters in and it's painful to hear the narrator say "CAL-vary" through out instead of CAV-alry. It takes away from the story. In addition, next time that they need to find someone who knows a little bit about the Civil War and correct pronunciations of common Civil War words. For example the narrator pronounces the following...

He calls General Ewell - General "Eee-well"
He calls Chambersburg - "Chombersburg
He pronounces Mummasburg as "Mommas-burg"
General Heth - he incorrectly says "Heth" instead of "Heeth" (correct) ...like fleece
He pronounces Monocacy as "Mono-Casey" instead the correct way, muh-NOCK-a-see..

I'm sure there's more as like i said i'm only a couple chapters in. But it really ruins a potentially good book when someone can't pronounce common words correctly.

4 people found this helpful

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  • WD
  • 11-11-2019

All reviews agree, the narrator should be shot!

He is clearly a native speaker yet he mauls adjectives and nouns as well as most place names. Terrible. Ruinous. Where are the editors? Audible must have higher production standards.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David
  • 25-10-2019

Good Reader, Despite Pronunciations.

This is good story about the lead up to the Battle of Gettysburg. But the reader has some idiosyncratic pronunciations that are distracting. Chambersburg becomes “Chombersburg”; cavalry becomes “Calvary”, etc. (In a book about mounted soldiers, the word cavalry gets mentioned a lot). What makes it even more distracting is that sometimes he actually pronounces it “cavalry”, correctly. Never know what’s coming.
Otherwise a fine reader.

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  • Dean C. Hernandez
  • 12-10-2019

a poor delivery erodes a good book

This may be a very good book but, the presentation makes it impossible to be sure. The reader mangles so many words that you cannot buy that the work is expressed from a position of knowledge and insight. From names of prominent generals to important roads to common objects, the pronunciations are just wrong.

The military unit is "cavalry" and not "calvary" ( a term based in Christian theology). The road is the Chambersburg Pike and not the Chalmbersburg Pike. General Ewell's name is pronounced "ewe-well" not "eee-well" or "ay-well". The list goes on but, these are three critical words in the story of day one at Gettysburg and take you out of the narrative.

You could forgive all of this (ok, maybe) if the narrator made up for it with a passionate or immersive deliver but, he does not. He just reads the work.

Across dozens of books, many about the Civil War, this is both my first negative review and the first book that I failed to finish. As a student of both Gettysburg and General Buford, this was a massive disappointment. I hope the book warrants being rereleased with a better narration.

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  • Skilers
  • 23-08-2019

Where did they find this Narrator?

My goodness, to place such a well researched and told story in the hands of this fellow Henning is a tragedy and embarrassment. If I didn’t have such an interest in Buford, I would have given up—just horrible.

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  • Robin V Shank
  • 19-08-2019

Great book, horrible narrator

It was a fantastic book. However, the narrator constantly mispronounced a great deal of "common" civil war terms and names.

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