Book review: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara


The Killer AngelsThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book of the The Civil War: 1861-1865 series.

In this book, the author describes four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.

Through the vision of the four main characters, Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet for the Confederacy, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and John Buford for the Union, the author describes the battle of Gettysburg.


The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

Page 29-30:

“Some of us volunteered to fight for Union. Some came in mainly because we were bored at home and this looked like it might be fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came … because it was the right thing to do. All of us have seen men die. Most of us never saw a black man back home. We think on that, too. But freedom… is not just a word.”

Page 61:

“The day of the one-battle war is over, I think. It used to be that you went out to fight in the morning and by sundown the issue was decided and the king was dead and the war was usually over. Nut now…now it goes on and on. Was has changed Lewis. They all expect one smashing victory. Waterloo and all that. But I think that kind of war is over. We have trenches now. And it’s a different thing, you know, to ask a man to fight from a trench. Any man can charge briefly in the morning. But to ask a man to fight from a trench, day after day…”

Page 119:

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 man … in 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 sure a murderin’ angel.” And Chamberlain had gone on to school to make an oration on the subject: Man, the Killer Angel.

A movie Gettysburg (1993) was made based on this book.

This movie is available at YouTube.

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