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The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels (1974)

by Michael Shaara

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A remarkable and unique re-creation of one of the bloodiest and hard fought battles of the Civil War. Shaara has you looking through the eyes of the officers on both sides, so that you can try too relate what the atmosphere was like during this conflict. It gave me a totally different objection about this battle. ( )
  Gatorhater | May 18, 2015 |
This book is often shown as being second in the "civil war trilogy", which I think is misleading: this book was written first, and the other two book in the so-called "trilogy" were written by someone else. So I consider this a stand-alone book.

As a British person, I didn't know much about the battle of Gettysburg other than it was the first big defeat for the confederacy and marked the turning of the tide for the American civil war. I think the book expects you to know a bit more about the battle, as it makes comments that are ironic or pathetic when you know the final outcome.

So I'd recommend that people who don't know much about the battle do a bit of research first, as that will help the enjoyment of the book. ( )
1 vote Pondlife | May 11, 2015 |
It takes a great writer to get me interested in a military battle, generals, strategies, etc. This author makes Gettysburg come alive by making the participants into real people. ( )
  anitatally | Feb 3, 2015 |
I loved this novel. The Civil War fascinates me, as I think it does many others, and it makes me so sad. The section on Pickett's charge made me bawl. I obviously don't ultimately wish that the South had won, but reading this made me want to yell, "Don't do that!" My heart broke for Lee and Longstreet and all the other Southerners involved in the Civil War. I have fond memories of watching this movie with my Dad, but the book blows the movie away. ( )
  carebear10712 | Dec 31, 2014 |
The Killer Angels tremendously moved me. I am not a Civil War buff. I've never been interested in popular movies or documentaries on the subject. Aside from school texts, I've never read about the war. No offense to anyone, but folks who spend their time re-enacting the Civil War will forever perplex me.

So what led me Michael Shaara’s book? Joss Whedon, who has cited it as an inspiration for Firefly, one my favorite cancelled-before-its-time shows. I’m not quite a Whedon fan girl, and there were other potentially compelling reasons to read this book, from its having been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction to the fact that according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, “It is one of only two novels on the U.S. Army's recommended reading list for Officer Professional Development” and has been required reading for all sorts of U.S. military entities. Had I not needed all that convincing, I hope I would still have had it thrust upon me it one day, for the writing is absolutely lovely, the characterizations are thoughtful, and the gravity of those three days of battle has never pressed more upon me. ( )
  mpho3 | Dec 10, 2014 |
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This is an account of how the book came to be written...
added by danielx | editNew York times, Paul Leigh (Jun 29, 2013)
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"When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare."

- Woodrow Wilson
"I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."

- E. M. Forster
"With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army. . . ."

- from a letter of Robert E. Lee
Mr. Mason: How do you justify your acts?
John Brown: I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity---I say it without wishing to be offensive---and it would be perfectly right for anyone to interfere with you so far as to free those you willfully and wickedly hold in bondage. I do not say this insultingly.
Mr. Mason: I understand that.

- from an interview with John Brown after his capture
Mine eyes have seen the glory . . .
To Lila (old George)
. . . in whom I am well pleased
First words

He rode into the dark of the woods and dismounted.
...Chamberlain remembered it still: "What a piece of work is man...in action how like an angel!" And the old man, grinning, had scratched his head an then said stiffly, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel."
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Book description
The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War: June 30, 1863, as the troops of both the Union and the Confederacy move into battle around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and July 1, July 2, and July 3, when the battle was fought. The story is character driven and told from the perspective of various protagonists.

AR 4.7, 15 Pts
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345348109, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:20 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought for two dreams-- freedom, and a way of life. Memories, promises, and love were carried into the battle but what fell was shattered futures, forgotten innocence, and crippled beauty.

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