August 1, 2010
Book Critique on “The Killer Angels”
The book, "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, belongs to the genre Historical Fiction. This book is set during the time of the American Civil War and takes a look at the conflict at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from June 29 - July 3, 1863. The story revolves around three major characters, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and two sub-major characters, Winfield Scott Hancock, and John Buford and each of these characters struggle with their sides of the battlefield and how best to achieve victory for their causes. This book was very well researched by Shaara, who spent many hours at the National Battlefield Park, and at other libraries and institutions looking in depth into each of his major and a few minor characters that made it into his book. As a history student with a great interest in history, but minimal knowledge on the subject, I appreciated the work for making it completely accurate, informative and an exciting read, as well as for the amount of time the author went through to come out with a fictional piece of work that could compare to a number of purely historical works that covers the exact same people and events. The book begins on June 29, 1863 with a spy informing the Confederate army of the location of Union troops near them. Two of the Confederate generals, James Longstreet and Robert E. Lee, are skeptical at first but then believe what the spy says he saw and begin to move the Confederate troops toward Gettysburg. The fighting begins in the morning on June 30 between a group of Union cavalry soldiers on foot and a small group of Confederate infantry. The Confederate soldiers begin the attack believing the Union soldiers are only a state militia. On July 1 the Union soldiers are outnumbered and fear reinforcements may not come soon enough. The Union reinforcements arrive just in time, but General Reynolds, the general who has been...