Customer Review

422 of 430 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Civil War never interested me much, June 17, 2000
This review is from: The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy) (Mass Market Paperback)
At least that was true until I read Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels." Now I'm a goner. I have bought five more books on the Civil War including McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom," a huge tome that promises to fill me in on the whole historical context, time, place, politics, all of it. All this happened because I was interested in a single book. This is Michael Shaara's fault.
It is of no consequence that the prospective reader may not have the slightest interest in war, the Civil War in particular, guns, Gettysburg, generals, muskets, artillery, smoke, fire, or death. All the reader need be interested in is a good book that is a pleasure, an enlightening experience, to read. If you like reading, if you enjoy books that captivate, that keep you turning pages, that won't let you sleep, then buy this book.
Let me note here that the author indulges in several literary devices that might pain the true Civil War buff. He uses interior monologues which are, of course, pure fiction (though based on written material of the time). He also centers his story on two major fights that took place at Gettysburg: the battle of Little Roundtop, and Pickett's Charge, even though quite a lot of other great moments occurred there. Both these battles are told well, and the characters of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain - the commander of the 20th Maine who held Little Round Top against attacking Confederates to the "last bullet," and James Longstreet, commander of the I Corps of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia who had serious differences with his superior over the tactics used at Gettysburg, are explored at depth.
By necessity, Shaara could not tell, in a single novel (for that is what this book is), all that happened those three fateful days. For those who want to know more I refer you to Shelby Foote's "Stars In Their Courses."
I aim this review at those who are unsure of whether a Civil War novel is what they want to read. Be assured you will not be disappointed. This is a truly fine book, especially for the uninitiated, as I was. I recommend this book to all without hesitation.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 2, 2010 9:34:46 AM PST
Dragonora2 says:
Dear Mr. Wynn,
If you are now interested in the Civil War, I highly recommend Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. While a novel, it required extensive research to complete and definitely shows a side of the war that most people (at least those who don't live in the South) do not hear. It is also the most enjoyable book I have ever read, truly great and if I may say so, epic. It has many moments of hilarity, as well as tragic ones. It has everything - humor, tragedy, romance, violence. And also a herione, though a true witch, you cannot help but root for in every page (along with an assembly of colorful and memorable characters that you will end up thinking about weeks and months after you've finished the book).

Hope you enjoy!
Tara

Posted on Apr 25, 2011 11:58:17 PM PDT
I hope you don't mind my writing this, but I must say that your review is beautiful and touching. Thank you for writing it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2011 7:42:41 PM PDT
No one would ever mind someone telling them what he/she has written is beautiful and touching and then being thanked for having written it. I'm assuming you refer to Mr. Wynn, but I'm glad you made your post.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2013 9:03:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2013 9:05:40 AM PDT
knowident says:
I want to reinforce this recommendation. I imagine most of you view the movie "Gone With the Wind" as a chick flick and something that your mom made you watch. Not slamming the movie, just making a point. The book will take you to Tara, hold you there, terrify you, make you grieve for a way of life that was both mowed down and burned out (Again, just making a point here.) Margaret Mitchell fills you with the emotions, the grief and the way of life. Give it a try. I double-dog dare you 8)

Posted on Jun 30, 2013 11:34:46 AM PDT
gilly8 says:
Actually, to anyone "new" to the Civil War, I'd MOST of all recommend Ken Burn's excellent documentary, "The Civil War"....for movies I'd recommend an older one, "Glory" which tells a true story.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2013 11:03:34 AM PDT
Niku says:
I had no idea that the movie appealed disproportionately to women until I decided to see it. That was decades ago, so my memories might be a little shaky, but it seems to me that I was just about the only male in a filled theater. Talk about a "chick flick". I now think that this movie qualifies for that title. Even so, I did enjoy it, although I would never rate it as one of the best/most enjoyable/impressive, etc. movies that I have ever seen, and I just couldn't understand how many of the women I talked to at the time got so emotional while viewing it. Maybe I'm lacking something human, but had no such effect upon me.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2014 9:22:30 PM PDT
Barbara says:
I read your fine post and just ordered the book. I too have been taken over by the history of the WBTS. My families were ruined in the War. They were brave Confederates living in South Carolina, and another line was living in Virginia. They were farmers and did not own slaves. All were ruined, as were nearly everyone in the South by the brutal revenge taken on them by the North. In the past six weeks, since I joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I have bought countless books online on the War, and at local book stores. I have a new large book case filled now and have no more room for books to add to my library. I have never been as involved in a subject or moved by anything before as I am with the War Between the States, or as we call it in the South, The War of Northern Aggression. I am a great great grandaughter of the War and proud of it. I remember the stories my grandfather told me in when I was a girl in the 1940s, and his stories come alive in these exciting books.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2014 9:29:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2014 9:34:09 PM PDT
Barbara says:
This post is for Niku who said the movie Gone With the Wind did not move him and it was a "chick flick." Perhaps the movie did not move you because the War Between the States is not part of your history.
But even a woman who is not from the South knows what it is like to be abused by a man she loves. Scarlett was a spoiled, beautiful fool, and Rhett wanted to conquer her. When he finally did, and she was a changed, repentent and loving wife, the next morning he left with these words when she asked what she should do...."Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." Truth is, he never gave a damn. But he had now won, his game was over, and he was leaving her alone. Maybe you just don't give a damn either!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2014 2:42:07 PM PDT
No, no! Rhett did care, and tried very hard (in his way). By the time Scarlett finally saw the light, it waw too late--it was over for him.
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