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The Killer Angels Library Binding – Oct 8 2008


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product Details

  • Library Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439560870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439560877
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g

Product Description

Review

“The best and most realistic historical novel about war I have ever read.”
–GENERAL H. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF

“My favorite historical novel . . . A superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”
–JAMES M. MCPHERSON
Author of Battle Cry of Freedom

“Remarkable . . . A book that changed my life . . . I had never visited Gettysburg, knew almost nothing about that battle before I read the book, but here it all came alive.”
–KEN BURNS
Filmmaker, The Civil War

“Shaara carries [the reader] swiftly and dramatically to a climax as exciting as if it were being heard for the first time.”
–The Seattle Times



From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Shaara was born in Jersey City in 1929 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1951. His early science fiction short stories were published in Galaxy magazine in 1952. He later began writing other works of fiction and published more than seventy short stories in many magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook. His first novel, The Broken Place, was published in 1968. But it was a simple family vacation to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1966 that gave him the inspiration for his greatest achievement, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels, published in 1974. Michael Shaara went on to write two more novels, The Noah Conspiracy and For Love of the Game, which was published posthumously after his death in 1988.


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 1,223 reviews
422 of 430 people found the following review helpful
The Civil War never interested me much June 17 2000
By Ned K. Wynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: 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.
120 of 124 people found the following review helpful
Any praise of this book is an understatement. Jan. 2 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This fine example of what historical fiction should be, which I first picked up to read as an eighth grader, was the gateway into my now militant obsession with the Civil War and my idolization of Gen. Joshua Chamberlain. The well-deserved rave reviews that litter the front and back covers drew me to it, but Shaara's powerful writing style and stunningly human characters drew me INTO it. Not surprisingly I worship the film Gettysburg and have accumulated a large collection of Civil War and Chamberlain-related literature, though some have suggested this is slightly abnormal for a fifteen year old. While reading The Killer Angels one must wonder at Shaara's amazing ability to portray the major players of the battle, whose real personalities must have since been lost over a century of historian analyzation, as real people. I absolutely love this book and jealously guard my much-used copy. To enjoy it you don't have to be a Civil War buff or even know anything about the battle, you only have to be prepared to appreciate what is epic and human in the midst of this otherwise horrifying war.
108 of 112 people found the following review helpful
As good as it gets... April 2 2008
By Cynthia K. Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most times, I would much prefer to read a work of nonfiction as opposed to historical fiction. But after reading dozens of books about the Battle of Gettysburg, it was refreshing to read Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning Killer Angels. This fictional account gives us a viewpoint not to be found in nonfiction works.

What makes Killer Angels different is that each chapter is written through the eyes of the various leaders from both the Union and the Confederacy including Buford, Longstreet, Lee, Chamberlain, Armistead, as well as an English observer, Fremantle. Shaara used diaries, journals, letters and memoirs to recreate not only what was happening on the battlefield, but also, what these men were thinking, seeing and feeling. It's as if you're an eyewitness to history. Killer Angels does not attempt to cover every minute of the Battle of Gettysburg. In fact, Shaara focuses on four main aspects: Buford's establishing Union lines on good ground before the battle, Longstreet's ambivalence about fighting at Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine defending Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge.

I found myself especially haunted by James Longstreet. Once a carefree, amiable man, he's still reeling from the recent deaths of 3 of his 4 children in one week. Robert E. Lee's number two man, he knows that a frontal attack (Pickett's charge) will be disastrous. He is tortured that Lee won't listen to his advice, and inconsolable after so many men are killed. "Along with all the horror of loss, and the weariness, and all the sick helpless rage, there was coming now a monstrous disgust. He was through. They had all died for nothing and he sent them...The army would not recover from this day."

I also gained an appreciation for Joshua Chamberlain. Chamberlain was not a trained soldier, but a college professor. But he was definitely a born leader. He started the Civil War as a lieutenant colonel and finished as a brigadier general. His heroics in leading his men on Little Round Top is a thing of legend, probably saved the Union and earned him a Medal of Honor.

I have found that once Gettysburg has gotten under your skin, you'll never tire of reading about this important battle that changed the course of the war. For fictional accounts, Killer Angels is about as good as it gets.
62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
The Battle of Gettysburg seen through the eyes of generals Feb. 20 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am one of those people who first read Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" after seeing the film "Gettysburg." Consequently the book's novel idea of telling the story of the Battle of Gettysburg by focusing on five key participants--General John Buford and Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain for the Union, along with Generals Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet and Lewis Armistead for the Confederates--was not a new idea to me. Through the eyes of these five men the crucial points of the battle--preventing the Confederates from taking the high ground on July 1, stopping Hood's division from sweeping the Federal left flank on Little Round Top on July 2, and the high water mark of the Confederacy with Pickett's Charge on July 3--are crystallized as desperate actions agonized over by the leaders who have to make the crucial decisions. Even though these five men are battlefield commanders, they still manage to personalize the battle in which more Americans were killed than were lost in the entire Vietnam War.

Shaara's son Jeff has published a Civil War prequel and sequel to his father's book, but those volumes cover more than a single battle and the focus on a limited number of characters does not work as well. Still, I appreciate that the rest of Chamberlain's story is developed, since it is the college professor from Maine who emerges from both "The Killer Angels" and the Ken Burns PBS documentary on "The Civil War" as the idealized citizen-soldier of the war. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of both this novel and its film, are that they make the defense of Little Round Top by the 20th Maine the high point of the Battle of Gettysburg rather than Pickett's Charge, and that it is the name of Armistead rather than Pickett that we will not forget from that most famous charge. It also serves as a poignant reminder of what Buford did on the first day, before the big names and the rest of the two armies arrived at Gettysburg.

"The Killer Angels" deserves its reputation as the finest Civil War battle novel because it gives us more of a look at the psychology of these leaders than we can get from a history book. While Armistead did not really survive the battle and Buford would be dead by the end of the year, the other three lived long enough to leave behind their versions of what happened those fateful days in July 1863. Shaara goes along with Longstreet's view that Pickett's Charge was a mistake, but in terms of the book's narrative that logic gives way to the charisma of Lee's leadership, just as it did that fateful day. But that is valid since the great tragedy of the American Civil War is that the emotions that fueled the Southern Confederacy were ground down by the inevitable logic of the Union's advantages in terms of population, industry, and everything else. Even if the Army of Northern Virginia had won at Gettysburg it never could have taken Washington, Grant would have still come East to take command of the Union Armies, and all that would have changed was the time and place of Lee's inevitable surrender. What Shaara accomplishes in his Pulitzer Prize winning novel is to allow us to understand why the Rebel troops who marched towards the clump of trees at the Angle would have thought otherwise and believed it with all their hearts, minds and souls.
62 of 71 people found the following review helpful
"Killer Angels"-Mr. Powell's English Class Dec 15 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Killer Angels" is an amazing Pulitzer Prize winning novel that depicts the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the Civil War. Michael Shaara, the author, portrays passion, loyalty, and drama in the most important three days of the Civil War. Shaara wrote "Killer Angels" so that he could let readers feel as though they were truly involved in the battle, what the weather was like, and the look on the men's faces, much like Stephen Crane did in "The Red Badge of Courage." He expertly avoided historical opinions and states the words of the men themselves instead. The novel captures the true experiences of the battle and tells the story from both sides--North and South. The reader is placed inside the minds of the generals, and you see the men fighting for different causes. The North, fighting for political reasons and trying to hold the Union together, believes that the Southern states are fighting over the slavery issue. The South states are actually fighting for their freedom and states rights, in general. This theme is briefly expressed throughout the novel. The vivid descriptions show various possible viewpoints of the military strategy, unique landscape, and even impressions from a foreign nation. Details of the war as well as the emotional aspects are strongly expressed, such as, Longstreet's heartbreaking struggle after the loss of his three children, the legacy of Old Man Lee in one of his last battles, and the tragedy of two best friends on opposing sides, Hancock and Armistead. At the beginning of the novel, there is a helpful foreword for people, such as myself, that do not know much about the facts of the Civil War up to this point and the background of the generals. The novel also closes with an interesting afterword to subdue the curiosities of the reader, who may not know about the events following Gettysburg and the life of the generals afterwards. I suggest this book to anyone who is looking for a new historical viewpoint of the Civil War.

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