Download Book õ The Killer Angels Æ 345 pages ´ Michael shaara

Epub ð The Killer Angels ñ Michael Shaara

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 “Once Chamberlain had a speech memorized from Shakespeare and gave it proudly the old man listening but not looking and Chamberlain remembered it still ‘What a piece of work is manin action how like an angel’ And the old man grinning had scratched his head and then said stiffly ‘Well boy if he’s an angel he’s a murderin’ angel’” Michael Shaara The Killer AngelsWhen it was first published Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels landed with a thud Even when it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975 it did not gain a wide following When Shaara passed away in 1988 he did so believing his novel to have underachieved as far as Pulitzer Prize winners can ever be so considered Then in 1993 the film version Gettysburg was released in theaters Though it did not prove a runaway box office hit it did enough to lift The Killer Angels onto the bestseller lists According to Shaara’s son Jeff who can start a bank with the books he’s sold by aping his father’s distinctive techniues The Killer Angels was initially greeted with skepticism due to its release at the tail end of the Vietnam War Maybe or maybe not The world after all is filled with great books that never found wide audiences Still there is some validity in the point The Killer Angels is decidedly old fashioned It has none of the cynicism or darkness of modern war novels I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a pro war book but it embraces martial virtues with both its arms In the world of The Killer Angels when the characters aren’t thinking about duty loyalty and honor they are giving speeches about it The Killer Angels begins on the eve of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg and takes us through each of the three bloody days as the Union and Confederacy clashed in the fields and hills around a small Pennsylvania crossroads village In order to tell this story Shaara employs viewpoint chapters in which the battle unfolds through the eyes of a limited number of characters The characters are the Confederate scout Harrison; Confederate generals Robert E Lee James Longstreet and Lewis Armistead; the British observer Fremantle; Union General John Buford; and Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of the 20th Maine whose posthumous reputation has spiked drastically because of this Though the writing is in the third person each of the viewpoint chapters sticks to the thoughts feelings and actions of the chosen character This leads to the kind of telescoping that is familiar to anyone who has read A Song of Ice and Fire While we are ostensibly being treated to epic events it sometimes feels like we’re viewing it through a keyhole By focusing so rigidly on a handful of participants you get a great sense of intimacy at a loss of some of the scope It’s impossible to talk about The Killer Angels without mentioning Shaara’s amazing style He has an incredible eye for detail the weather the terrain the colors the sounds He wraps you in these details until you feel like you’re present on the field You feel like you could take this book to Gettysburg and find your way around At times he slips easily into a hypnotic stream of consciousness punctuated by the use of the present tense interior monologues and his trademarked sentence fragments Though if we’re being technical I think Jeff Shaara has the trademark now Shaara’s genius is in his characterizations He brings Buford and Chamberlain and the others to life by embodying them by inhabiting their minds There is Lee suddenly very old suffering from heart disease struggling with the loss of Jackson unable to control his subordinates or get them to see his vision He is courtly saintly pervaded by an unfortunate fatalism he wraps in a vague theology “It’s in God’s hands now” he intones repeatedly There is Chamberlain a professor of rhetoric uestioning everything his thoughts his actions a true believer in the cause of freedom and Union though he is constantly trying to define those things And then there is Armistead who gets only one chapter during Pickett’s Charge but remains perhaps the most powerful creation a doomed romantic mourning his broken friendship with Union General Winfield Hancock In a novel short of female characters the remembered bonds between Hancock and Armistead provide the love story The best testament to the power of Shaara’s vision is that his fictionalized conception of these real life figures has gained such widespread traction For instance Shaara used Longstreet’s memoirs in his research; as such Longstreet arises as something of a prophet a man who can see the trenches of World War I just over the horizon who believes that Lee’s aggressiveness will destroy the Confederacy While effective it is worth noting that Shaara’s concept of these men is not necessarily shared by all historians The Killer Angels is not a graphic or gratuitous book There are no curse words Despite the presence of thousands of men there is nary a dirty thought in the air The violence is rather tame at least relatively speaking Yet Shaara still manages to deliver marvelous battle scenes especially a memorable accounting of Pickett’s failed assault on the Union center Garnett’s boys had reached the road They were slowing taking down rails Musket fire was beginning to reach them The great noise increased beating of wings in the air More dead men a long neat line of dead like a shattered fence And now the canister oh God Armistead shuddered millions of metal balls whirring through the air like startled uail murderous uail and now for the first time there was screaming very bad sounds to hear He began to move past wounded struggling to the rear men falling out to help heard the sergeants ordering the men back into line saw gray faces as he passed eyes sick with fear but the line moved on The Killer Angels does have its share of flaws though they are slight The cast of characters for one is a bit imbalanced On the Confederate side Longstreet is a Corps commander while Lee is in charge of the whole Army Meanwhile on the Union side Buford is in charge of a cavalry division and disappears after the first day Chamberlain commands only a regiment This means you get a great sense of the Confederate strategy while the Union strategy is reduced to slandering General George Meade who despit

Epub The Killer Angels

The Killer AngelsBullets 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 This month marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which we all know is the fight 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 troops 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 key 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 tells 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 a knack 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 Chamberlain remembered once againThe 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 bit 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 kid 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 keep 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

Michael Shaara ñ The Killer Angels Reader

Download Book õ The Killer Angels Æ 345 pages ´ Michael shaara ´ 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 werCence 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