The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2)

5/5 stars

The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2) by Michael Shaara

This is the book General H. Norman Schwarzkopf described as “the best and most realistic historical novel about war that I have ever read.”

Me too Stormin’ Normon. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more impressed.

Sole recipient of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Killer Angels is a historical dramatization of the Battle of Gettysburg–where a Union victory was the turning point in the American Civil War, but at the staggering cost of 50,000 Americans lives.

50,000. In three days.

Nearly the same amount of American deaths as occurred during the entirety of the Vietnam War.

How about this: 750,000 Americans were killed during the Civil War.

More than the number of Americans killed during WWII, WWI, Vietnam, Korean War, American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican/American War, Iraq/Afghanistan Wars, and the Philippine-American War.

COMBINED. At least that’s what Wikipedia is telling me.

While the facts are staggering, it’s not the facts themselves that have left me so impressed with The Killer Angels. It’s the seamless integration of history and story that caught me. The story pulled me through with it’s power–forced me through is more accurate. This is a white-knuckled history lesson unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

Told from the point of view of several key historical figures on both sides of the conflict, the history part of the story is rich. With details and insights pulled from memoirs and writings of the actual players, we get a first hand look into the always emotional and frequently gut-wrenching emotions behind each decision and order. The history and facts are woven through this amazing story, and suddenly Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, Joshua Chamberlain, John Buford, and others long gone are real and alive. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Brother vs brother. Friend vs friend. Rights. The English looking to take back some of their lost colonies. Slavery. Army life. Why fight? The Cause. War heroes. War villains. How can there be good guys and bad guys when everyone is American? How did our country survive? The impact of the American Civil War is still felt today. Brutality and death. Generals sending soldiers to die. Behind the scenes. Fault. Blame. Strategy. Tactics. Morality. The battles.

This was real.

My eyes are opened. No language. PG fighting and violence. Appropriate for all. Recommend for all.

Happy Reading!

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