The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There was little to no character development and the constant switching back and forth from different people's point of view was disconcerting.I didn't realize this was part of a trilogy, but I don't think not reading the first book in the series had any impact as this book is mainly concerned with the battle of Gettysburg.
The book does a good job of conveying that there were no winners in this War and that everyone lost, I disagree about the inevitability of the war. It also does a good job of showing that the men fighting against each other were often former classmates, close friends, and comrades in the Mexican War.
Freemantle was an Englishman who was observing the War for him it was Grand Entertainment. I found myself wishing that he would get hit by a bullet. His take on the reason for the War. "The Northerner doesn't give a damn for tradition, or breeding, or the Old Country. He hates the Old Country.............the South is the Old Country. They haven't left Europe. They've merely transplanted it. And that's what the war is about."
Various Southerners throughout the book would say they were fighting for State's Rights or Their Rights. The Northerners would claim to be fighting to end slavery, but when confronted by a Negro (the word used in the book) they were repulsed by him and scared of how different he appeared from them.
Robert E. Lee was a tired old man battling heart problems and disheartened by breaking his vow to the United States. "When Virginia left the Union she bore his home away as surely as if she were a ship setting out to sea, and what was left behind on the shore was not his any more. So it was no cause and no country he fought for, no ideal and no justice. He fought for his people, for the children and the kin, and not even the land, because not even the land was worth the war."
Chamberlain was a brave man who was instrumental in the North winning the battle.
Longstreet was disheartened by Lee throwing so many lives away and unable to forgive Lee for not following his advice.
Stuart was instrumental in the South's loss. His failure to provide timely information and his going joy riding at the moment he was needed most lead to Lee not knowing anything about the battlefield or the North's troop deployment. Lee refused to court martial him, although many of the Confederate Officers asked him too.
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