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The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy) Paperback – May 28, 1996
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This novel reveals more about the Battle of Gettysburg than any piece of learned nonfiction on the same subject. Michael Shaara's account of the three most important days of the Civil War features deft characterizations of all of the main actors, including Lee, Longstreet, Pickett, Buford, and Hancock. The most inspiring figure in the book, however, is Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, whose 20th Maine regiment of volunteers held the Union's left flank on the second day of the battle. This unit's bravery at Little Round Top helped turned the tide of the war against the rebels. There are also plenty of maps, which convey a complete sense of what happened July 1-3, 1863. Reading about the past is rarely so much fun as on these pages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The late Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (1974) concerns the battle of Gettysburg and was the basis for the 1993 film Gettysburg. The events immediately before and during the battle are seen through the eyes of Confederate Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Armistead and Federal General Buford, Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, and a host of others. The author's ability to convey the thoughts of men in war as well as their confusion-the so-called "fog of battle"-is outstanding. This unabridged version is read clearly by award-winning actor George Hearn, who gives each character a different voice and effectively conveys their personalities; chapters and beginnings and ends of sides are announced. Music from the movie version adds to the drama. All this comes in a beautiful package with a battle map. Recommended for public libraries not owning previous editions from Recorded Books and Blackstone Audio (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/1/92 and LJ 2/1/93, respectively).
Michael T. Fein, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, N.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I particularly liked reading the inner thoughts of the men as they prepared for battle. Very poignant thoughts of home and childhood.
I was interested in all the different reasons the rank and file had for fighting the war. Everyone, even the generals seemed to have different reasons. One infantry man was surprised to discover that some people were fighting the war over slavery-----I don't remember his reason for fighting, don't know if he said, but he was as surprised to find out some were fighting against slavery as I was to find out he wasn't-----I think he was fighting simply because the South was fighting.
I also enjoyed the British guy who was just hanging around, the war was an amusement to him. He thought the South was so refined, most like Englandmen, true gentlemen.
I also liked the portrayal of Lee. He was truly a gentleman. I can see why he is still revered as a great man. And how he carried on in spite of his ill health. and he erred in not taking Longstreet's advise and came to rue his decision.
I didn't know that the South thought England would join in their cause. Do you know anything about that? I suppose they might have been able to break the North's blockade of Southern ports.
Highly recommend this Novel to those that want to know more. If you have never or would never see this historical place, the book describes it perfectly for you. Being there before reading, It was described perfectly.
His characters fall in line with what is expressed from tour guide tapes, instructors, and field marshals who pointed out events at specific locations.
Give some room in your mind that he is weaving a plot through the events which gives him liberty to make dialogue and enjoy the story where it takes you.
This will be an annual read for me, it was that good.
His style artfully plays with your emotions, giving you tension on the eve of battle awaiting the action, giving you the wild confusion in the midst of combat, giving you the despair of defeat, and the conditional joy of victory amid the unprecedented loss of life. Shaara infuses his narrative with the personalities of the commanders he follows. By the end, you feel as though you have come to know them just a bit.
Any tale like this, using actual historical figures in what is necessarily a fictional narrative about an actual battle, will always raise questions about how accurate the portrayals are in relation to the actual events and actual persons whose thoughts are put to paper. I, regrettably, am not historian enough to pass judgement on this aspect of the novel. From all I've read, he is accurate enough. On the question of whether the fault for losing the battle rested with Lee or with his subordinates, Shaara falls squarely in the former camp. If you prefer the latter, be warned.
The book, as is often the case, is a great read with a lot more detail, background and story than the movie would ever have time to cover. It is fascinating and gives a more Southern look at the turning point of the Civil War. Even if you aren't into history you will like this book.