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The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels (original 1974; edition 1987)

by Michael Shaara

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5,781135733 (4.31)284
Title:The Killer Angels
Authors:Michael Shaara
Info:Ballantine Books (1987), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Civil War, Gettysburg, Lee, Chamberlain, Longstreet

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The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974)


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This was a book that taught me a lot about war history and tactics. This book is about gettysberg. The main idea of this story is the leading up ,and the follow through of gettysberg. In this book The two armies have many skirmishes and have a few major battles leading up to gettysberg.
In this book the two armies fight in battles, the two sides the union and the rebels. In the end the Union wins and the rebels are disbanded. I recommend this book and hope anyone who reads it will like it too ( )
  ZaneH.G1 | Oct 24, 2015 |
Discussed on the A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, episode 36.

  ScottDDanielson | Oct 23, 2015 |
Fascinating look inside the battle of Gettysburg. This historical fiction at its best won Shaara a Pulitzer Prize. ( )
  VashonJim | Sep 6, 2015 |
I may possibly have been the last Civil War enthusiast yet to read The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, a historical novel I have heard repeatedly referenced by historians, battlefield guides, reenactors and Civil War buffs of virtually every stripe. Now I can officially proclaim that I have read it too! But what took me so long?
I was actually reared on historical fiction – Michener, Clavell, Vidal – and I read voraciously in this arena, which had a profound effect upon my intellectual development with regard to both history and literature. Later, as I determined to become a historian, I deliberately eschewed this genre. Why? Because quality historical fiction tends to deeply ingrain its impressions in the synapses: to this day I have to vigorously resist identifying as authentically biographical the characters of Burr and Lincoln that Gore Vidal so brilliantly conceived in those marvelous eponymous historical novels.
The Killer Angels was actually pressed upon me by a friend who had often nagged me to read it. Finally, he mailed me a copy, which thus enforced a sense of guilt and obligation upon me. I still did not turn to it immediately, but I did take it along with me on a recent trip. My Master’s Degree in History was conferred at a ceremony held in National Harbor, Maryland, and it seemed fitting that my next stop post-commencement should be in the realm of the multiple Civil War battlefields at Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was in that vicinity, overlooking a tranquil pond on the deck of a rented 1830s-era log cabin in Spotsylvania, with a cup of coffee in the early morning sun just prior to a battlefield tour, that I began The Killer Angels. And I could not stop reading it.
As promised by its many fans, it is an outstanding read on a variety of levels, not least in its talent for recreating the time and circumstances, effortlessly placing the reader in that milieu to walk with the characters on those crucial days that saw what was the largest land battle in North America. A complex yet engaging storyline that never grows dull, perhaps its greatest strength is in its skilled characterizations that truly bring colorful animation to a long-dead cast of otherwise monochromatic figures. The grand scale of Gettysburg is resurrected, as well as what this battle would mean for each side in a clash that while hardly deciding the war nevertheless placed a pronounced exclamation mark in the course of how its narrative would be writ ever afterward.
Although the characters were exceedingly well drawn, I did not need to fear that I would confuse fiction for biography here, since I have previously read more than a little about central players such as Lee, Longstreet and Chamberlain. I have visited the battlefield, once with a guide in my car and on foot, and again on a walking tour with the legendary Ed Bearss. I had not believed that a novel set on those grounds on those days would hold much value for me, but in this I was mistaken: Shaara’s deliberately understated prose that deftly wove history with literature made me “feel” the events there as I never thought possible. I was indeed stirred in a way I never could have anticipated.
In the end, I do not regret waiting this long to read this fine novel. While I am thankful that I had a firm historical foundation in place prior to entertaining the drama, I am yet even more grateful then for that drama. If it turns out that I was not truly the absolute last person to read this book, I would urge those who have taken my place to pick up a copy: you truly will not regret it. ( )
  Garp83 | Jul 19, 2015 |
This summer a friend and I were trying to decide on a destination for a short trip. We knew it had to be reasonably close, because we only had what amounted to an extended weekend but it also had to be far enough to make it seem like a mini vacation. We were suffering from a terrible case of the "been there, done thats" when my friend mentioned a long time desire to visit Gettysburg. A desire brought on by playing a video game of all things. Although I had no overwhelming desire to visit Gettysburg, it turned out to be a fascinating destination, which led me to pick up some books to find out more about what I had learned while visiting. I generally shy away from three genres of books ... westerns, sci-fi and war ... this was definitely an exception to the rule.

Where GODS AND GENERALS (Jeff Shaara) focuses on the years leading up to the Civil War, Michael Shaara’s book covers primarily the three days of fighting at 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”. (Quote from the book cover)

While the book seems to be well researched (Despite my visit to Gettysburg I am still in no position to judge this fact with any accuracy) it is a work of historical fiction. I was not looking for a history book; I was looking for a book to give me the flavor of those years and possibly some understanding of this period in U.S. history. My needs were met.

( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
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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."
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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
Haiku summary
In the Civil War
the battle of Gettysburg
is where many die. (marcusbrutus)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -0400)

(see all 8 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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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