A prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by his father, Shaara continues in the family tradition of personalizing history in an eminently readable novel. In fact, I wish I had read this -before- Killer Angels! I was so impressed that I immediately ordered every one of the rest of his books and I can't wait to read them.
Lynn F. reviewed Gods and Generals (Civil War Trilogy, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 4
I read Killer Angels first and wanted to see how the author's son Jeffrey Shaara handled the material so wisely narrated by his father. I am mostly through the book and am really enjoying it. Jeffrey remained true to the style of Killer Angels, focusing on the men, conversation and strategy of the Confederate and Union Generals and troops in the months ahead of Gettysburg. This is not a blood and guts book. It is a great read for all those interested in this tragic period of our history and the minds and the character of the men that shaped it.
In a prequel of sorts to his father Michael Shaara's 1974 epic novel The Killer Angels, Jeff Shaara explores the lives of Generals Lee, Hancock, Jackson and Chamberlain as the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg approaches. Shaara captures the disillusionment of both Lee and Hancock early in their careers, Lee's conflict with loyalty, Jackson's overwhelming Christian ethic and Chamberlain's total lack of experience, while illustrating how each compensated for shortcomings and failures when put to the test. The perspectives of the four men, particularly concerning the battles at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, make vivid the realities of war.
Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great military leaders from the first gathering clouds of the Civil War. Here is Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a hopelessly by-the-book military instructor and devout Christian who becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War; Winfield Scott Hancock, a captain of quartermasters who quickly establishes himself as one of the finest leaders of the Union army; Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career and goes on to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history; and Robert E. Lee, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass. Profound in its insights into the minds and hearts of those who fought in the war, Gods and Generals creates a vivid portrait of the soldiers, the battlefields, and the tumultuous times that forever shaped the nation.
This is an excellent "prequel" to Shaara's father's "Killer Angels" covering Lee, Jackson, Chamberlain, and Hancock in the years before Gettysburg. The dinner at which Hancock and his best friend Armistead say goodbye, knowing that the next time they see each other will very likely be from opposite sides of the battlefield, moved me to tears.
If you are a Civil War buff, or love American history, this book is a must read. A companion to The Killer Angels, this book charts the war, the exploits of the combatants and their motivations. Hes accounts of key battles are riveting and helps us to see what it was like for Americans to battle eachother on these killing fields.
Frank H. reviewed Gods and Generals (Civil War Trilogy, Bk 1) on
Read this while on a deployment to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA. It should be entertaining to anyone interested in the Civil War, but I'm not a particular fan of his writing style (merely a matter of personal preference). The realization of the characters of these generals is done well and his battle descriptions are often exciting. Worth reading.
"Powerful...a worthy companion to The Killer Angels...Shaara brilliantly charts the war, the exploits of the combatants and their motivations. He also concisely shows how the early parts of the campaign unfolded. His accounts of the battles of Williamsburg, Antietan, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville are exciting...Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like."