Opinion and Commentary to "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara

Essay by Joe1A+, April 1997

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In the novel The Killer Angels, Mr. Shaara's historical accuracy is unquestionable. He has written this fabulous (Pulitzer Prize winning) novel. Although the heroic suicidal charge of the 10th Minnesotans on the second day of the battle was left out, Shaara focuses on Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine which makes up for the lapse. It is safe to say that no other novel has so closely allowed the reader to understand the peculiar madness of this civil war.

After reading this powerful, exciting novel one assumes that whenever cultures clash, there will be a final conflict. By showing the reader what the principals of this great battle were (and may have been) current thinking on multiculturalism are highlighted in a new and perplexing way. This was a great feet for a book written in 1974 to be so magnificent.

The Killer Angels has been made into a five hour long motion picture and is called 'Gettysburg.'

The novel is so compelling that the story seldomly deviates from the movie. The movie illustrates Mr. Shaara's ability to tell a complex story with clarity. The novel shows a great depiction of the tragedy of war, like in the part when Armistead races into battle, even though he is fighting his best friend (Hancock), and they both get shot. It really shows the views of each side, and what each character felt.

The Killer Angels' will satisfy both the history buff and the Civil War buff. But, the sense of duty, honor, and the appalling loss of life as well as the unbelievable heroism displayed by both sides in the battle will move many readers.

The Killer Angels Summary

This outstanding historical novel depicts four days at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which occur during summer of 1863. These crucial days are the...