Book Review presents reviews of recent publications on Pennsylvania subjects by noted scholars, historians and journalists.

Battlefield Pennsylvania
A Guide to the Keystone State’s Most Sacred Ground
by Brady J. Crytzer
Westholme Publishing, 288 pp., cloth $28.00

Ironically, the soil of Pennsylvania, founded by pacifist and Quaker William Penn, was soaked with the blood of its inhabitants. Brady J. Crytzer’s Battlefield Pennsylvania documents the many battles waged in this state. Some near present-day Pittsburgh were part of a British–French rivalry beginning in 1754 that Americans remember as the French and Indian War, which itself sparked a world conflict known as the Seven Years War (1756–63). The colonial officer and revolutionary partly responsible for that war, George Washington, fought a series of battles near Philadelphia two decades later. When the Union created by Washington and his generation almost died of slavery, the Civil War’s greatest battle was fought at Gettysburg. The author includes less conventional battles in this volume — nativist riots in Philadelphia and labor struggles in Pittsburgh. The last battlespace he chronicles, the crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, was the first battle of another worldwide war.

Crytzer based this book on his Pennsylvania Cable Network program that examines these sacred sites. The author’s format for this study is enormously valuable. Each chapter includes a concise description of the battle, relevant background on the engagement, the legacy of this skirmish, and what remains today for visitors.

I hope that the hardcover edition I reviewed will be made available in paperback, destined to be well-thumbed by visitors to these sacred sites. In addition to its value as a guidebook, Battlefield Pennsylvania could be an excellent resource for history teachers. A number of critical themes emerged from these chapters, such as wars with Native Americans that illuminate racial issues, labor struggles that highlight class conflict, and nativist riots that reflect ethnic prejudice. Crytzer convincingly reveals how William Penn’s dream of a Peaceable Kingdom was shattered.

Barbara A. Gannon
University of Central Florida