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Michael Shaara (1928–1988)

Author of The Killer Angels

28+ Works 9,409 Members 202 Reviews 19 Favorited

About the Author

Michael Shaara was a novelist, short story writer, and educator. He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on June 23, 1928. Shaara earned a B.S. from Rutgers University and did graduate work at Columbia University and the University of Vermont. Shaara spent two years in the service, worked as a show more policeman and a sailor, and became associate professor at Florida State University in 1961. From 1961 to 1965 he wrote, produced, and performed in a show for educational television. Shaara published a novel in 1974 titled, The Killer Angels. The novel told the story of the Battle of Gettysburg from the point of view of the men fighting it. It received the Pulitzer Prize in 1975. In 1993, the novel was the basis for the motion picture Gettysburg. Shaara also published more than 70 short stories that appeared in several U.S. and foreign publications and wrote several more novels. Shaara died on May 5, 1988. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: courtesy of Jeff Shaara


Works by Michael Shaara

Associated Works

The Science Fiction Century (1997) — Contributor — 530 copies
Galactic Empires, Volume One (1976) — Contributor — 408 copies
Gettysburg [1993 film] (1993) — Original book — 355 copies
The World Turned Upside Down (2005) — Contributor — 221 copies
Science Fiction Stories (1991) — Contributor — 182 copies
The Fourth Galaxy Reader (1959) — Contributor — 129 copies
Galactic Empires {complete} (1976) — Contributor — 124 copies
Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction, Volume 8: Monsters (1988) — Author, some editions — 69 copies
Best SF Three (1958) — Contributor — 56 copies
Alpha 7 (1977) — Contributor — 47 copies
Alpha 9 (1978) — Contributor — 38 copies
Science Fiction Thinking Machines (1954) — Contributor — 38 copies
The Best Science Fiction Stories and Novels: Ninth Series (1956) — Contributor — 34 copies
Peter Davison's Book of Alien Planets (1983) — Contributor — 31 copies
World Zero Minus: An SF Anthology (1971) — Contributor — 18 copies
Political science fiction;: An introductory reader (1974) — Contributor — 13 copies
Titan XVIII (1976) — Contributor, some editions — 8 copies
Galaxy Science Fiction 1959 August, Vol. 17, No. 6 (1959) — Contributor — 7 copies


Common Knowledge



A very satisfying and engaging page-turner.

This novel has great characters and descriptions of the battle without getting too bogged down for non-military readers. I found myself wanting a bit more detail on the tactics and strategy, as well as the basic events of the battle that were taking place away from the main characters, but the characters and engagements that received focus were extremely well presented.

I enjoyed the literary device of each chapter being in the voice and inner thoughts of a different character, which provided more insight than was possible in the movie Gettysburg. For example, in the movie Chamberlain is talking to Kilrain and brings up the quote from Hamlet, "how like an angel" and Kilrain retorts "killer angel". In the book, it was a memory of his days as a student studying Shakespeare and he had written a speech about this quote and shared it with his father, who retorted "murderous angel" and he had then revised his speech around that idea and gave the speech with great success, and his father was very proud of him. Later he feels this same sense of pride after his actions on Little Round Top on Day 2.

The novel also does so much than the movie can to show the inner anguish of Longstreet.

There are other notable differences with the film, which makes it seem like Reynolds and the 1st Corps were already well on their way on June 30th to support Buford, when the book makes it clear no one is coming until Buford sends urgent messages, and another officer besides Reynolds might have not hurried so quickly which would have led to an entirely different outcome of the battle.

A very satisfying read.
… (more)
bballard74 | 188 other reviews | Feb 29, 2024 |
Gettysburg novel, very good.
derailer | 188 other reviews | Jan 25, 2024 |
A free short sci-fi classic originally published in Galaxy in 1953, Michael Shaara presents a hellish vision of heaven, or is that a heavenly vision of hell? Which you see probably reflects more about you than the story.

I confess it didn't really work for me, but it might for you. It's a quick read freely available from Gutennburg, and well worth it if you enjoy classic sci fi short stories.
furicle | Aug 5, 2023 |



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