The Killer Angels Book Review

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Katie Cline The Killer Angels Book Review June 21, 2012 The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara: The Random House Publishing Group, New York, 1974. The Killer Angels is a stunning recollection of the telltale battle of the Civil War: the Battle of Gettysburg. Set from June 29 to July 3, 1863 and told from the vantage points of several soldiers and commanding officers from both sides, including Lee, Longstreet, and Chamberlain, Michael Shaara effectively paints a picture of the war that divided America, from the tactical planning to the emotional hardships The book opened with a sodden Confederate spy as he blazed through the Union lines in the dead of night on June 29, 1863 toward the headquarters of Confederate general Robert E. Lee with…show more content…
During one such moment, Chamberlain is reminded of a Shakespearean speech: “What a piece of work man is…in action how like an angel!” (page 126). Upon hearing this, Chamberlain’s father commented, “Well, boy, if he’s an angel, he’s sure a murderin’ angel.” (page 126). From this interaction, Chamberlain came up with “Man: the Killer Angels”, a thought he often revisited over the course of the Battle of Gettysburg, and from which the book acquires its title. Chamberlain acted with the intention of getting something positive out of the war. He never treated the Confederates as though they were less than him: “ Chamberlain put out a hand. ‘Sir’ he said. The Alabama man nodded slightly. His voice was so low Chamberlain could hardly hear it. ‘Do you have some water?’ ‘Certainly.’ Chamberlain offered his own canteen.” (page 243). It is even known that he had his troops salute the surrendering South at Appomattox. Overall, I found Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels an interesting book; it shed a new and different light on the Battle of Gettysburg by showing it from multiple points of view. I believe that Shaara was successful in writing in the diction of his chosen narrators; he used slang and dropped “g’s” for the Confederate soldiers and used proper grammar and British terminology for the Englishman, Freemantle. I was also impressed by his knowledge of military terms and the effectiveness of which he used them. The terms were used enough that

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