Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Killer Angels.

Last month I talked about how much I like the movie Gettysburg. I just finished listening to an unabridged version of The Killer Angels, on which Gettysburg is based. If you are at all interested in the Civil War you will find this novel fascinating. Michael Shaara spent 7 years researching this book. He portrays both sides fairly and equally. In the forward he explains he did modernize the language a little. The words they used then, in Mr. Shaara's words, was more flowery than we use today. He felt if he had used it exactly it would have made it a difficult book to read. If you are looking for a full account of the three days at Gettysburg you won't find it here. What you will find is a fascinating look at several men who shaped the events of those three days. The main men followed are Robert. E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. You feel a better understanding of what these men went through and some of their thought processes.

This book came out in 1974. At the time of publication it was not a best seller. The Vietnam war was winding down and people did not want to read about war. It won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1975 and people then took notice. While it is a book about war, it humanizes it's characters and gives you a different perspective on them and what the war was all about. I find the Civil war a fascinating period of our history, and this book helped give me a better understanding of what happened in that small Pennsylvania town on July 1,1863 through July 3, 1863.

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