The Killer Angels Book Review
The novel I chose for the historical book review is called The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. This novel is about the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, and it is written from the perspective of the people fighting while sharing their thoughts and feelings about the battle as it goes on. Although it is historical fiction, The Killer Angels centers around the Battle of Gettysburg, which, of course, really took place. While the strategy of the battle is factual, the dialogue is fictitious. The book starts with a Foreword that gives details of the armies and people involved. Four main chronological sections cover the days of Monday, June 29, 1863, through Friday, July 3, 1863, while switching between viewpoints Union and Confederate participants. An Afterword tells the reader what happens to several of the key characters. Even though a chapter is written from one commander's perspective, the author still allows you to see what some of the other characters in those scenes are thinking. Without this way of writing the novel, the reader wouldn’t truly be able to understand thoughts and opinions of the soldiers, so some of the choices wouldn't have made as much sense. Shaara included the arguments between characters about how to go about the attack, which gives the reader much more details about how complicated the few days of the battle were.
Since 355 pages are used to cover just four days of history, Shaara’s story of the Battle of Gettysburg is extremely in depth. Considering this, it’s difficult to tell how accurate the historical content of the novel is. Yes, it’s accurate that the Union army won the battle, and yes, it’s accurate that the battle took place in 1863, but what about the small details Shaara writes about, that we can’t know for sure are true? What I found is that Michael Shaara did extensive research about the Battle of Gettysburg by reading the letters and memoirs of the soldiers and officers involved in...
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