E–pub/Kindle [The Killer Angels] Ð Michael Shaara

Stevie kLs of how his father s book was rejected over a dozen times was a commercial flop but won a Pulitzer Prize only to see no increase in its profile following the award Michael died in 1988 thinking that the book would not be remembered In an twist of fate the movie adaptation Gettysburg that came out five years later would put the book on the best seller list almost twenty years after it was originally publishedOn the Confederate side an ailing and weary Robert E Lee has pinned his hopes to end the war on the idea of attacking and destroying the Union army on it s own ground but his top general James Longstreet was against the invasion since he believes the South s military success has come from a defensive style of warfare As they advance into Pennsylvania they ve been left with a dangerous lack of information about Union movements because cavalry officer JEB Stuart has been failing to provide them with reports from his scouting missionBoth sides begin to converge on the small town of Gettysburg which has a valuable crossroads nearby but Union cavalry officer John Buford is there first and immediately realizes that the hills and slopes outside of the town will give a huge advantage to the army that holds them With the Confederate forces closing in fast Buford occupies and tries to hold the good ground while urging the Union army to rush in and reinforce him As troops pour into the area from both sides they find themselves fighting in a battle no one had counted on The Union troops manage to occupy the better positions as Longstreet desperately tries to convince Lee that attacking would be a major mistake but Lee believes that his army can destroy the Union forces once and for allThis book and the subseuent film version would do a lot to make people reevaluate Longstreet s reputation He d been scapegoated by other Confederate officers after the war for the defeat at Gettysburg but Shaara s version of events based on letters and diaries of those involved makes a convincing argument that it was Lee whose stubborn refusal to disengage and pick a better spot for a fight was the main culprit for the Confederate failureShaara also credits the forgotten Buford with being a major reason as to why the Union was able to seize the high ground He also tells the story of another officer forgotten by mainstream American history as one of the true heroes of the battle Joshua Chamberlain was a professor at Maine s Bowdoin College when the war broke out but he showed anack for military command that eventually put him in charge of a regiment at the end of the Union line on a hill called Little Round Top As the extreme left position of the Union forces Chamberlain and his men had to hold back repeated efforts to flank them by Longstreet s troops and then they found themselves in the thick of the fighting again on the last day during Pickett s ChargeChamberlain would win the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg and he would continue to serve with distinction for the rest of the war Eventually promoted to the rank of brigadier general Ulysses Grant chose Chamberlain to command the Union troops at the surrender ceremony After the war he would win multiple terms as Maine s governor as well as eventually becoming president of his old college Feeling like a slacker yet The book and a great performance by Jeff Daniels in the movie version would make a great performance by Jeff Daniels in the movie

Version Would Make Remembered Once 
would make remembered once prose gets a bit flowery at times but Shaara s preface notes that he actually toned down the verbose style of the time There s also a preface notes that he actually toned down the verbose style of the time There s also a too much repetition on a couple of points like Chamberlain s horror at himself that he ordered his brother to fill a gap in the line during the fight on Little Round Top without a second thought or Confederate General Armistead s constant references to his friend Win Hancock as he frets that he ll have to face his buddy on the battle fieldThose are minor gripes about a book that found a new and fresh way to tell a story that every American school id has heard Shaara also does a nice job of pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of the Confederates who claim to be fighting for their rights while not mentioning that what they want is the freedom to eep owning slaves That point gets overlooked a lot when the South gets romanticized in mainstream works of fiction and it s refreshing that Shaara called bullshit on itRandom trivia Joss Whedon s television show Firefly was partially inspired by his reading of this bookAlso posted at Shelf Inflicted This is a different Officer Buckle and Gloria kind of army If you look at history you ll see men fight for pay or women or some otherind of loot They fight for land or because a Antolog�a Patri�tica king makes them or just because they likeilling But we re here for something new I don t this hasn t happened much in the history of the world We re an army going out to set other men free Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain The position of all the troops on July 3rd 1863 The last day of battle You can see the famous fishhook deployment of the Union troops in blueI hadn t really thought about how unusual it is in the history of the world for men to be fighting for the freedom of others It was one of many times while reading this book that Michael Shaara crystallized some thoughts for me I love those moments when I read something and I The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife know without a shadow of a doubt that another tumbler has clicked into place With every click I have come one step closer to understanding everything a mad thought that doesn t last long So the North was preserving the Union and freeing the slaves but what exactly where the boys in butternut fighting for Theyept on insistin they wasn t fightin for no slaves they were fightin for their rats It finally dawned on me that what the feller meant was their rights only the way they talk it came out rats Then after that I asked this fella what rights he had that we were offendin and he said well he didn t The Night Before Baseball at the Park by the Bay know but he must have some rights he didn tnow nothin about Now aint that something 33% of Southerners owned slaves Mississippi and South Carolina had much higher percentages at 49% and 46% So why did all those Southern boys rich and poor fight for the rats to eep slaves Most Southern Americans as do most Americans today had an expectation that they would be rich someday the eternal optimists Those poor white sharecropper farmers aspired to be slave owners It is. Historical detail to provide a fictional recreation of the bloody battle at Gettysburg in a new. ,
I was reminded about this book while listening to a podcast the other day The guy mentioned The Killer Angels and I immediately thought about how much I had liked it and about my stepdad He was the reason I read it some twenty years ago now this book that I am sure I would never have picked up on my own He handed it to me one day said something like This was really good You should read it I remember thinking at least two things in that moment A book about war I don t read that stuff But the second thing I thought about was my dad loving a book That s because I had so rarely seen him reading one So okay I thought I will try itWow is all I really need to say at this point Yes it s about war specifically the Battle of Gettysburg but it s far personal than that Sharra created something amazing here His words caused me to think about the individual man Not what I had expected at all Now when I think about The Killer Angels I think about my stepdad and I am grateful 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 illing 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 What Is Madness? 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 theey 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 WWII observations experiences articulating the most complex psychological processes peeling back layers of delusion contrived personas to exposed the petty and sadistic roots He was the 20th Centuries eenest 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 nown 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 This month marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which We All Know Is The all now is the that took place when Abraham Lincoln wanted to make a speech at that address and then one of the neighbors got mad and challenged him Or something like thatAh but seriously folks Gettysburg was the turning point of the American Civil War in which the Union forces defeated Robert E *Lee S Invading Confederate *s invading Confederate but this isn t a non fiction book about the battle Instead it s a historical fiction in which author Michael Shaara used research and literary license to put us into the minds of several ey figures so that readers experience the fight through their eyesFor this re read I listened to the audible version and it featured an interesting introduction from Shaara s son Jeff Who has followed his late father s formula to write several other books about American history The younger Shaara tel. Incisive portraits of Lee Longstreet Meade and other Civil War leaders are interwoven with rich. The same reason why I hear people who live below the poverty line saying they didn t believe it was rat that the government was taxing the one percenters than the rest of us It doesn t make sense but then theymightjust win the lotterysomeday General Robert E Lee on Traveller Lee said Well we have left nothing undone It is all in the hands of God Longstreet thought it isn t God that is sending those men up that hill But he said nothing Lee rode awayThis book is centered around the three days of the battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania Robert E Lee overall commander of the Confederate army and GOD to many is trying to make a final thrust North to force the Union to seek terms His men loved him unconditionally The secret of General Lee is that men love him and follow him with faith in him That s one secret The next secret is that General Lee makes a decision and he moves with guts and he s been up against a lot of sickly generals who don t now how to make decisions although some of them have guts but whose men don t love them He is a different man than he was at the start of the war Some would say he is a brilliant tactician but if you walk the grounds of the battle of Gettysburg which I have not had that opportunity physically you will discover that Lee gave his generals an impossible task The battle smells of desperation Shaara makes the case that Lee was already suffering from the heart condition that would eventually ill him But it was not the pain that troubled him it was a sick gray emptiness he Bach Flower Therapy: Theory and Practice knew too well that sense of a hole clear through him like the blasted vacancy in the air behind a shell burst an enormous emptiness General James Longstreet loyal despite his fervent disagreements with Lee on tacticsLee was feeling weak and mortal at Gettysburg He wanted the war ended now It certainly clouded his judgement He was a man of faith and honor In Pennsylvania he put too much faith in God finding his cause righteous and he depending too heavily on the honor of his troops to make it to that grove of trees at the top of the hill He had a brilliant commander in Lieutenant General James Longstreet Longstreet argued to slide around the enemy and to fight another day If truth benown he disagreed with this whole thrusting North business He wanted to build trenches and fight a defensive war You don t win glorious honorable battles fighting a defensive war and Lee was addicted to winning battles There is a whiff of Shakespearean tragedy around Longstreet It was Longstreet s curse to see the thing clearly He was a brilliant man who was slow in speech and slow to move and silent faced as stone He had not the power to convince He was a strong commanding figure until he got around Lee Longstreet felt an extraordinary confusion He had a moment without confidence windblown and blasted vacant as an exploded shell There was a grandness in Lee that shadowed him silenced him He was an eccentric as well He was living in his mind than in his body Longstreet touched his cap came heavily down from the horse He was taller than Lee head like a boulder full bearded long haired always a bit sloppy gloomy shocked his staff by going into battle once wearing carpet slippers Lee counted on him but unfortunately he would have traded Longstreet for Stonewall Jackson every day of the week and twice on Sunday General John Buford died a few months after gettysburg from typhoid fever he was a Gettysburg from Typhoid Fever He was a loss to the Union sideShaara also takes us into the minds of Union men like General John Buford who arrived at Gettysburg and realized the importance of deploying troops on the high ground against a superior Confederate force He new he had to hold out until reinforcements arrived He d done this before He had thrown away the book of cavalry doctrine and they loved him for it At Thoroughfare Gap he had held against Longstreet 3000 men against 25000 for six hours sending off appeal after appeal for help which never came What impressed me about Buford was his ability to think out of the box and adapt to any situation Unfortunately for the Union he didn t have long to live or his name may have been further immortalized in Civil War history books General John Bell HoodThere was also Colonel Joshua Chamberlain who commanded the 20th Maine He was a school teacher by trade a professor at Bowdoin before the war broke out He and the Maine troops were positioned at the far left of the Federal line He was on Little Round Top facing the seasoned veteran General John B Hood Hood was a Longstreet man and firmly believed in the concept of a defensive war Despite their objections to Lee s tactics Hood and Longstreet did everything they could to obtain the objectives The 20th Maine s bayonet *chargechamberlain s men fired until they ran out *s men fired until they ran out bullets and then Chamberlain in an act of desperation yelled Let s fix bayonets Chamberlain and his remaining men charged down the hill in the face of enemy fire and because of the ferocity of their attack Hood s men turned and retreated There are descriptions of battles so elegantly told that the horror is somewhat mitigated by the elouence of Shaara s writing Bravery is not just for Custeresue men like General Winfield Scott Hancock who inspired such loyalty from his acuaintances even those dressed in gray such as his best friend General Lewis Armistead Shaara describes the true crisis of consciousness these officers were facing Most of them had fought together in the Mexican American war went to West Point together drank together and had been united as one before this war where politics forced them to choose sides against the friends they had once fought with They re never uite the enemy those boys in blue I now Lee said I used to command those boys Longstreet said Difficult thing to fight men you used to command Lee said nothing By the end of this book I felt I The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied: April–September 1833 knew all these men as intimately as Inow friends I ve nown for decades It is as if Shaara raised them from the dead one by one They are talking skeletons with nothing but truth rattling through their teeth Their souls are showing through their pale gray ribcages enscrolled with their most intimate thoughts They hid nothing from Shaara not their fears or their desires The war has never been real to me Highly recommendedIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visithttpwwwjeffreykeetencomI also have a Facebook blogger page Thirtieth anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize winning historical novel 10000 first printin. ,

The Killer Angels

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