doc À The Killer Angels ✓ Mass Market Paperback

Michael Shaara Ñ The Killer Angels book

doc À The Killer Angels ✓ Mass Market Paperback â In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history two armies fought for two dreams One dreamed of freedom the other of a way of life Far than rifles and bullets were carried into battle There were memories There were promises There was love And far thIn the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history two armies fought for two dreams One dreamed of freedom the other of a way of life Far than rifles and Michael Shaara's passion gave life to something uniue and singularly extraordinary in this Pullitzer Prize winning novel With high charged emotive prose lush descriptions and fully fleshed characters he transforms the The Battle of Gettysburg the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War into a gorgeously rendered and deeply personal story populated by flawed ordinary men caught in an extraordinary concatenation of circumstances by the machinations of Fate Shaara’s reduction of this momentous event into a tapestry woven of a myriad of individual observations and subjective accounts so seamlessly alternates between heart swelling and heart wrenchingthat your own blood pumper may need an overhaul by the time your finished Shaara’s approach for this story was so revolutionary at the time that he couldn’t even find a publisher willing to distribute his novel Recounting the period of June 30 July 3 1863 the day before and the 3 days of the Battle of Gettysburg Shaara’s narrative filters the events surrounding the battle through the subjective lens of the leaders of the two armies Today his approach has been mimicked so often by those inspired by his achievement that it’s likely to feel familiar to those reading it for the first time see reference to Ken Burn’s Civil War below However back in 1975 it was fresh and daring and uniue Shaara jumps back and forth between dozens of viewpoints each serving an important function and providing a uniue perspective on the events surrounding the conflict The most notable players in Shaara’s epic play are For the South Commanding General Robert E Lee General George Pickett General James Longstreet and British Col Arthur Freemantle; and For the North Commanding General George Meade General John Buford andCol Josh Chamberlain Through these soldiers and many others Shaara emphasizes the motivations decisions and actions of these men and how each of their uniue and very human perspectives along with the ever present “fog of war” resulted in the final outcome at Gettysburg Not being a Civil War buff there was one part early in the story that I found fascinating to read According to Shaara and many historians I have come to find but for one ambiguous order on the part of General Lee to his conservative cream puff of a subordinate General Richard Ewell the South may very well have won the Battle of Gettysburg and drastically changed the outcome of the Civil War Here is the order by General Lee as recounted by Shaara Tell General Ewell the Federal troops are retreating in confusion It is only necessary to push those people to get possession of those heights Of course I do not know his situation and I do not want him to engage a superior force but I do want him to take that hill if he thinks practicable Emphasis added Four simple words “if he thinks practicable” were enough “wiggle room” to permit Ewell to justify ignoring Lee’s order and deciding against taking Cemetery Hill This inaction allowed the Union to entrench themselves on the higher well defended ground Shaara goes on to make it clear through Lee’s own personal musings that if hard charging BSD Gen Stonewall Jackson had not been killed weeks earlier Cemetery Hill would’ve been taken and the outcome of the battle and possibly of history dramatically altered Another moment of the novel that I found simply breath stealing was the description of the battle of Little Round Top A single regiment of Union soldiers the 20th Maine held off a superior force of confederate charges for well over an hour until they finally ran out of ammunition With the confederate soldiers still advancing and no retreat possible Chamberlain raised his saber let loose the shout that was the greatest sound he could make boiling the yell up from his chest Fix bayonets Charge Fix bayonets Charge Fix bayonets Charge He leaped down from the boulder still screaming his voice beginning to crack and give and all around him his men were roaring animal screams and he saw the whole Regiment rising and pouring over the wall and beginning to bound down through the dark bushes over the dead and dying and wounded The result was that the soldiers from the South broke in the face of the furious charge and the Union held Little Round Top The fact that Chamberlain was a citizen solider being a college professor before volunteering for the army and yet acted so competently and with such courage was amazing to experience uite simply this is an extraordinary novel However for two completely subjective and probably unfair reasons I have elected to only rate this as a very strong 4 stars Reason #1 is that the Civil War is not favorite period of American history and so my juices don’t flow as strongly when reading stories from this time as others smitten with the events Reason #2 goes by the name of Ken Burns and his brilliant mini series The Civil War That masterpiece has ruined me for all other depictions of the conflict The great irony is that Shaara’s novel was a major influence on Burns’s decision to create his mini series in the first place and Burns adopted to a great degree the tone and style employed by Shaara Alas Ken Burns got to me first and his expansive description of the war and the causes thereof keep him firmly dug in at the top of the charts Still a strong strong strong 45 stars and my HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

text õ The Killer Angels Ñ Michael Shaara

Bullets were carried into battle There were memories There were promises There was love And far than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields Shattered futures forgotten inno Visceral That’s the best word I can use to describe The Killer Angels both in the sense of instinctive or elemental emotions and in the sense of internal organs and guts Because both are relevant when you’re talking about a book that captures what I imagine the experience of war to be like in a way that very few other books I’ve ever read hasThe big caveat there of course is the “I imagine” part—I’ve never been a soldier have never fired anything other than a BB gun though in my callous youth I did bring to a premature conclusion the life of than one recalcitrant soda can and have absolutely no idea what it’s like to kill another human or have another human try to kill me; Jebus willing I never will So it’s possible that war is nothing like this But Shaara’s lean but descriptive prose and shifting POVs offer a perspective that feels so authentic that I found myself occasionally forgetting that this is a novel rather than a stitching together of first hand narratives; one suspects Mr Shaara did his homework There’s a reason this book is a classic of its genre and it’s simultaneously an enlightening and painful readThe American Civil War is if not uniue in the history of warfare certainly a particularly unusual conflict especially when you consider the officers leading the troops on both sides of the fight Many had served together previously in the United States army—and for a not inconsiderable period of time—which meant that you had colleagues and in some cases good friends whose job it was to go out and try to kill each other in the name of the geography into which they happened to have been born putting aside their own personal feelings about the reasons for the war Side note I have a few colleagues I’d be totally fine pointing the business end of my bayonet at but it’s unlikely that I would actually be able to eviscerate them if it came to that though I’d happily pour salt in their coffeeShaara is not concerned with trying to explain the reasons for the Civil War nor in making a case for whether those reasons were good ones or not; his goal is to capture the experience of the fight He does so masterfully; I felt completely immersed in the very troubling experience of preparing to fight from the oddly relaxed downtime between battles to the gut liuidating moments before the charge This is one of those books that will sit with me for a while and one that reminds me that even when justified—and I have a much higher threshold for justification than most rulerscountries over the course of human history—war is an awful horrific terrible thing that indelibly transforms the lives of all those involved whether directly engaged in the battle the family members of those combatants or the civilians whose homes and towns are destroyed in the processI think I may need a little Dr Seuss as a palate cleanser before jumping into anything else this heavyThanks to Allie for the buddy read

epub The Killer Angels

The Killer AngelsCence and crippled beauty were also the casualties of war The Killer Angels is uniue sweeping unforgettable a dramatic re creation of the battleground for America's destin Perhaps the Greatest War Novel Ever WrittenToo much? American war novel then'The Killer Angels' stands tall as the best novel about the American Civil War ever written and there have been many E L Doctorow's 'The March' for example about the military convoy and its swelling ranks of thieves whores and freed slaves following General Tecumseh Sherman's trail of destruction is a great book but it doesn't manage to convey the scope and complexity of battle with the grace Shaara does The narration hovers above the killing fields of Gettysburg like the recording angel itself examining without judgement the horrors and triumphs looking into the hearts and minds of the now legendary officers whose fates were decided there The interactions between an exhausted Lee who has decided to take the offensive and move into Northern territory for the first time since the war began and Longstreet his pragmatic and most trusted friend and general are unforgettable Shaara imagines Longstreet's wavering faith in Lee as a near religious crisis He lets the reader suffer with Lee at the sickening realization he has made a fatal error wasting tens of thousands of lives on an obvious tactical mistake and knowing that now he has finally lost a battle this one loss will likely cost him the war Shaara's account of the various decisive military engagements are masterful in particular Chamberlain's heroic defense of his position on 'Little Round Top' one of the key factors in the Union victory Michael Shaara won a Pulitzer for 'The Killer Angels' an honor he very much deserved He was not a prolific writer however and his best work would be his last His son Jeff Shaara has continued on the course his father charted telling the stories behind the other great battles of the civil war as well as going back in history further to create historical novels about the American Revolution and the Mexican American war But it is 'The Killer Angels' that remains the masterpiece perhaps the best war novel ever written There are very few books that have managed to convey the heroic grandeur and vast complexity of war while capturing the sad and curious details the psychological transformations the waste and tragic errors Others come close Norman Mailer's 'The Naked and the Dead' and James Jones 'The Thin Red Line' for example both dealing with the Pacific theater of the Second World War Jones provides a profound understanding of the motivations driving his characters; but Mailer in his debut novel became an immediate intellectual powerhouse with a fictionalized account of his WWII observations experiences articulating the most complex psychological processes peeling back layers of delusion contrived personas to exposed the petty ugly and sadistic roots He was the 20th Centuries keenest literary observer of human behavior motivations and this laser scalpel of an intellect made 'The Naked The Dead' an instant classic in the canon of war novels a powerful work of literature that has retained its shocking vitality over the last 70 years And then there's 'Count Belisarius' by Robert Graves It's a lesser known novel by the greatest writer of Historical Fiction in the English language following his masterwork 'I Claudius' It a heart breaking tale of a noble General fighting for the Eastern Roman Empire after Rome itself had fallen to the Germanic tribes; his incorruptible sense of duty loyalty competence is ruthlessly exploited by a weak petty jealous cruel Emperor Justinian He is sent out against impossible armies who vastly outnumber him and through sheer strategic genius brings his Emperor a glorious victory Justinian steals all the glory and sends him out on even deadlier missions greedily stealing all the glory again again so jealous of Belisarius he sends him on suicide missions which he somehow survives And for all the victories sacrifice loyalty he is not rewarded but punished 'Goodbye To All That' was Graves fascinating autobiography much of it devoted to his life shaping experiences during WWI and it makes as ideal companion to Erich Maria Remarue's 'All uiet On The Western Front' a novel about the First World War from the German POV; both books are included in the 4 volume WWI Classics pack picture linked above And lastly 'Tree of Smoke' Denis Johnson's modern masterpiece set amid the chaos of Southeast Asia before and during the Vietnam war For a clear eyed but unflinching tale of the various costs that war demands however 'The Killer Angels' stands alone More Art book Reviews More Comic book Reviews More Novel Reviews