“Having never been a big history or war buff I was slow to get around to reading this one, but becuase it came highly reccomended to me and because my interest in this period was sparked by reading The Red Badge of Courage, I did. And after reading it am really glad I did.
This piece of historical fiction is the story of the battle of Gettysburg told from the viewpoints of the generals involved on both sides of it. I really enjoyed this perspective, which is a far cry from the mundane accounts of the civil war as laid out in history textbooks. The story of the war comes to life as you get not only the facts, the strategy, the maps, and the tangible ascpects of the battle and the planning of it, but also the feeling, the emotion, and the incredible magnitude of the weight of each decision that General Lee and the others have to make. I felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation of the consequences of sending men into battle and knowing that a bad plan could cost the lives of many men.
The underlying reasons for the war, which were different for each side were also brought out through the dialogue as the major players interacted. Many issues of the day were touched upon such as states rights, slavery, etc. but you never feel like you are being fed facts or enduring a history lesson. Instead, the author uses the passions of his characters to relate these facts through their discussions and their actions.
I really enjoyed this book and was inspired by it to read Gods and Generals. Gods and Generals is a prequel to The Killer Angels, but was written by Jeff Shaara after his father Michael Shaara-authour of Angels-died. It is also a piece of historical fiction written in the same style as Angels, but dates back to allow the reader to get to know the same generals on their journey through life ending at Gettysburg.