Brian Mockenhaupt is a contributing editor at Esquire, Outside, and Reader’s Digest and is the nonfiction editor at the Journal of Military Experience. He served two tours in Iraq as an infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division. Since leaving the U.S. Army in 2005, he has written extensively on military and veteran affairs, reporting from Afghanistan and Iraq, hometowns, and hospitals.
THREE DAYS IN GETTYSBURG
An Intimate Tale of Lost Love and Divided Hearts at the Battle That Defined America
To commemorate the battle of Gettysburg, an unforgettable new story by the author of the award-winning The Living and the Dead
July 3, 1863. For three days, Union and Confederate troops had been brutally killing each other in the streets, fields, and forests of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg. As the battle raged around her, a woman baked bread for Union soldiers, unaware of how she would soon become part of history. In a faraway hospital, the soldier she loved lay close to death, unable to get a message to her. And one native son hid out in the hills above town, having returned in Rebel gray to fight childhood friends.
The true story of the braided lives of these three people—Jennie Wade, Jack Skelly, and Wes Culp—is told in vivid detail against the horrifying backdrop of the battle at Gettysburg, which took place 150 years ago. The three had grown up together, but by the time war came to their hometown, their lives had taken surprising paths. Despite whispered gossip about Jennie’s family and her violent, thieving father, she and Jack had fallen in love, and Jack had gone off to war with the Union army. Wes had left his family, moved to the South, and renounced his kinsmen by joining “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigade. When he finally came home, he did so as a traitor.
From Iraq War veteran and journalist Brian Mockenhaupt, this moving and cinematically descriptive tale shows a personal and tragically fateful side of war. He takes us inside the homes of Gettysburg, where snipers lurked in attics, families cowered in cellars, and bullets flew through the house where Jennie baked her bread. And he guides us through the dusty streets, where panicked soldiers ran for cover and dead men and horses rotted under the hot July sun.
Written with the clarity and empathy of a writer who understands war, this is an intimate story of the largest battle ever fought on American soil, in which 160,000 men descended on a town of 2,500 to kill each other. It is a brutal, heartbreaking tale, told through the experiences of the residents and hapless soldiers caught in the chaos. Mockenhaupt poignantly reminds us why Gettysburg is the one battle that deservedly remains engraved in all of our minds.
Praise for Three Days in Gettysburg
Three Days in Gettysburg affirms that history is made vivid not through its events—however epic—but through the individuals consigned by fate and circumstance to confront and endure them. The result is a compelling, beautifully researched book that is as enlightening as it is moving.”—Elizabeth Kaye, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Lifeboat No. 8
Three Days in Gettysburg provides the reader with a taut and refreshing perspective on the 150th anniversary of this epic event. A vivid picture of what it was like to experience the battle of Gettysburg.:—ThinReads
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
War, Friendship, and the Battles that Never End
Winner of the 2013 Michael Kelly Award and a finalist for the 2013 National Magazine Award in Feature Writing
"The worst feeling," Sergeant Tom Whorl scribbles in a small spiral notebook, surrounded by nameless enemies in a strange and hostile landscape, "is not knowing when your last step will be. That’s what takes a toll on your brain." With those simple words, a courageous man fighting a war that many would just as soon forget about captures the gut-wrenching day-to-day, life-and-death struggles and triumphs of the men of Patrol Base Dakota. Their story happens to unfold at a Marine encampment in southern Afghanistan, but it could be the story of young American soldiers in any war, trying to do the job when doing the job might mean, at any second, losing your life—or watching your best friend lose his.
In The Living and the Dead, acclaimed journalist and Iraq War veteran Brian Mockenhaupt relates the grippingly true story of three close friends—Tom, Ian, and Jimmy—and the reality of how twenty-first-century combat plays out in the lives of those who fight it. How walking through the Afghan countryside means patrolling for cleverly hidden explosives that can instantly tear a man in half. How the families back home live in dread of the men in gray cars showing up at their front door with news too grim to imagine. How the consequences of a split-second decision can replay over and over in a soldier’s mind and haunt him for the rest of his days. How those who sign up to do democracy’s dirty work somehow manage to endure the unendurable.
The Living and the Dead is a powerfully moving and timelessly compelling account of bravery, friendship, struggle, and sacrifice in the face of unimaginable tests. It is an unforgettable tale of battles that continue to rage long after the final shot has been fired.
Praise for The Living and the Dead:
"Mockenhaupt brings [the battlefield] experience to life. His writing is vivid—he has a deep familiarity with military life, owing to his service in Iraq, and an excellent narrative sense—and he lets his stories tell themselves.”—The Wall Street Journal