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Gods and Generals
 
by
Jeff Shaara
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Gods and Generals (The Civil War: 1861-1865 #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  19,433 ratings  ·  450 reviews
Historical Fiction that is well worth the time. The author concisely show how the early parts of the campaign unfolded. His accounts of the battles of Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville are are exciting.
Paperback, 498 pages
Published May 1997 by The Ballantine Publishing Group (first published July 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lauren
Jun 03, 2010 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a faint background in Civil War history
Recommended to Lauren by: My Sister and Pastor
I love how Jeff Shaara writes. It takes some getting used to, yes, but once you get used to it...Brilliant! Outstanding!!!!!! I especially love how he focuses on the army, barely touches the political side of the war-and when the political side is touched, it's mostly negative.

I'd never thought to deeply about the Civil war until this school year. Now, with this book coming to top off my school year, I must say
history is a whole lot more complicated then I thought.

The story begins in 1858 (57??
...more
Christine
This book could be considered the prequel to THE KILLER ANGELS (reviewed separately), written by Mr. Shaara’s father. This book takes a unique perspective leading up to the Civil War, introducing us to the notable historical figures in that confrontation. Mr. Shaara shares with the reader, through excellent characterization and dialogue why the Civil war was so important to these men. The author manages to bring to life the years leading up to the Civil War. Seemingly historically accurate, this ...more
Mom
I really don't know what happened with Jeff Shaara from this book to his second attempt, The Last Full Measure, but I enjoyed this book more. There is still the rambling on, and the writing still has the same irritating problems, but not to the same extent as Measure. I still enjoy the historic events told in a comprehensible way; it fulfills my need to understand the order in which things happened. I must say, I could not read two pages where he goes on about the death of General Jackson, it is ...more
Matthew Hodge
The first in the epic father/son Civil War trilogy (the next one is The Killer Angels by Jeff's father Michael Shaara, followed by Jeff's sequel The Last Full Measure). This was Jeff's first book, and it must have been intimidating writing a prequel to his father's book, which had won the Pulitzer prize and been made into the astonishingly good film, Gettysburg.

But Jeff rose to the challenge admirably and delivered a book similar in tone to his father's and carefully maintaining the air of trage
...more
Cam
I have read some really great books in the past year or two(Memoirs of a Geisha, The Kite Runner, Seabiscuit)- and this book definitely joins the list. It was so well written and interesting. It's about the civil war- it's quite thick and I thought it might be boring, but it was a page turner. I felt so connected to all of the characters, and I found myself really conflicted on whether I wanted the Union or the confederates to win the war- the book presented the generals as real people, so it di ...more
Michal
Dec 06, 2007 Michal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the Civil War.
When my history professor gave me a list of books to choose from to read for his Civil War class, I chose this one on impulse. I came into the novel with very little knowledge about the events recorded in the book, but Jeff Sharra brought it to life for me.
All too often, the Southern soldiers are depicted as uneducated brutes who hated slaves. While I'm sure that was true of some, Sharra portrays the Southern Generals as fighting for their homeland, for their families, and as unwilling to turn
...more
Rob
Apr 11, 2007 Rob rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War & Historical Fiction enthusiasts
Shelves: fiction
The author's father was named Michael Shaara and wrote "The Killer Angels" which was a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that was made into the movie "Gettysburg". The son, Jeff Shaara, copied his father's unique writing style but did not do it justice. Admittedly, "The Killer Angels" is a historical fiction novel that covers 3 days while the son had to cover several years of the Civil War. This was not easy for that writing style. Still the book is an acceptable prequal to the "Killer Angels" if you ...more
David Rheem Jarrett
This book is a terrific read for anyone interested in the history of the American Civil War but not interested in reading a textbook about it. Told from alternating points of view of four general officers, two from the south and two from the north, the book shows how the bungling of politicians and generals led to the horrific loss of both Union and Confederate soldiers' lives and limbs during the worst war this country has ever experienced. The narration is detailed, sometimes pedantic enough t ...more
Laura
I love American History, but I had a really hard time getting into this book. Sometimes I really enjoy switching point of view between different characters, but I struggled with it in this book. Every time I began to feel connected to one of the characters, I would have to readjust when the story was yanked away to a different location.

I think epic stories covering great distance and a long time period are difficult to write. I felt that this book was accurate in its character portrayals, but it
...more
Mark
There is very little I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. It seems a rather polarizing read with people either really liking it or really hating it. Unfortunately for me I fall into the latter category.
The book is just ok...considering the subject matter at hand it should have been great. By confining himself to copying his father's style, the book never flows, drama never builds, characters are never rounded out.
Switching from one character's point of view to anothers can be
...more
Dave
The book barely rates an "ok" which is better than movie of the same name. The surprise of this is that this book was borne out of Jeff's attempt to write a screenplay sequel for the movie Gettysburg that was created from his father's original book. Jeff attempts to mimic his dad's style in a book that involves 3+ years instead of 3+ days. For this reason alone it doesn't work. The gaps in the narrative can best be described as "Swiss Cheese". The pre-war chapters of Hancock and "Lo" Armistead a ...more
Lynn Green
Jeff Shaara uses the formula used so successfully in Killer Angels, an historical novel about the Civil War battle of Gettysburg, in Gods and Generals which covers the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. Each chapter focuses on one of the major figures in these conflicts including Lee, Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and others.

I appreciated Shaara's in-depth research which matches that of his father's book. The characters are complex and nua
...more
Chloé
Like The Killer Angels, this book is very good at revealing the personal struggles and thoughts of some leading figures in the Civil War. It's engaging, informative, and a must read for anyone with an interest with history. However, I much preferred his father's book, The Killer Angels. Perhaps a comparison is a bit unfair due to the timespan, but this type of book seemed to work better with three days instead of three years. And I liked Michael Shaara's style a bit better, though they are simil ...more
Hank Pharis
A novelistic recounting of the story of Robert E. Lee, Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson, Winifield Scott Hancock,
and Joshua Chamberlain leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. Well written and enjoyable!
Alejandro
Jeff Shaara simply could not pull off what his father accomplished. I'm sure Mr. Shaara is a smart historian of sorts, but as a writer it just doesn't give the proper payload. Perhaps he simply tried to cram too much in the lead-up to the Battle at Gettysburg, unlike his father who concentrated all of his attention and efforts on just those three historic days? Either way, the writing is simply annoying (too many "..."s throughout), and the only thing interesting is the sprinkling of Jeff Shaara ...more
Joseph
This books really puts a human face on the civil war. I found my self rallying for both the blue and gray...kind of an odd experience. This book takes you into the field and around the strategy tables. This and Shaara's other books are full of inspiring leadership lessons. It has been a while since I found myself struggling to put the book down but with God's and Generals, it was a battle! Excited to read the next book Killer Angels by his dad which covers the battle of Gettysburg.
Michelle
Of the three in the "father-son trilogy," this one ranks lowest, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean it's not any good. Shaara, the son, covers a lot of material, beginning the novel well before war breaks out, showing how the men who served together make the decisions that transform their friends into the enemy they must face on the battlefield. Although not as personal as The Killer Angels, the style of telling the story through the eyes of the participants is still an effective way to touch ...more
Timothy Riley
This was a fairly lame book. I think it didn't require much more than Junior year of college level research. It was not very riveting. Without looking into it, I believe the author is pretty much a confederate apologist. He idolizes men like Lee, Jackson and Longstreet. His descriptions of them are glowing; they are the heroes while the union generals are buffoons and the union fighting men victims of inept leadership-that last part is fairly accurate. I know that a story like this should not ta ...more
Karma
I really enjoy historical novels and this was no exception. I enjoyed getting to know more about the men who fought this tragic war. I knew that that the Union army could and should have won the war much much earlier than they did but until reading this book, I wasn't quite aware exactly how cautious and often idiotic the numerous leaders of the army were. I was struck with the great emotion and conviction with which the southern soldiers fought. They weren't fighting to keep slavery - they were ...more
Jim
I am a big fan of military histories - fact and fiction. For years my biggest gap was the American Civil War (War Between the States). I cannot tell you why this so because I do not know why. A friend, who is a big Civil war buff, finally shamed me into reading about it. My first venture was JEFF SHAARA's bestselling GODS AND GENERALS (ISBN 978-0345422477, paperback, $7.99).

In 1974 Jeff's father, MICHAEL SHAARA had his bestselling, Pulitzer Prize winning novel THE KILLER ANGELS, published. It w
...more
Kathie
A well written book chronicling the lives of four men; Robert E. Lee, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, Winfield Scot Hancock, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,from prior to the Civil War through their involvement in the war up until the South's victory at Chancellorsville, VA. The Southern generals were an inspiration to their men and clearly thought God was on their side. The author tells about the failures of the Northern commanding generals, McClellan, Burnside, Pope, to be able to size up their si ...more
Thad
Gods and Generals: Review
We all have preconceptions about the justification of the Civil War. Gods and Generals is a historical fiction novel by Jeff Shaara about the Civil War which caused me to examine those thoughts. This story was written as a prologue to the book Killer Angels, which was written by his father Michael Shaara.
Gods and Generals takes place all over America, from Washington D.C to San Francisco, California. The story begins a few years before the war, with tensions growing b
...more
Benjamin Thomas
I’ve read quite a few Jeff Shaara novels but never his first one. Most readers will know that Jeff’s father Michael Shaara wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning The Killer Angels (a book among my all-time top 10 – all genres). Upon Michaels’ death, Jeff took up the mantle and began his writing career by offering this “prequel” to that famous novel.

“Gods and Generals” tells the story of the first years of the American Civil War through the points of view of four key individuals: Robert E. Lee, Thomas
...more
Drewpope
This book is about the civil war and different military generals in the war. It goes thru the beginning of the war, the generals positions, history, and view points in the battles of the war. General lee was a great military mind before the war, born in Virginia and a farm raised boy, he went to west point and graduated the 2nd in his class. He was a brilliant military mind and Lee was proud to serve his country’s military. As the nation broke into two sides, lee was split as well. To stay in hi ...more
Tom
Corny dialogue, very stilted. This book and the series of three novels about the Civil War was highly recommended, so I was very disappointed.I couldn't even finish it. I remembered why I really dislike so many historical novels--they try too hard and sound like a low budget movie.
Janet
The first time I understood how the Civil War really happened was by reading this book. It's a fictionalized account, but full of background on the generals, colonels, etc., maps of battlegrounds and movements by the two sides, etc. It sounds dry, but it was great! It's a wonder the North won with such incompetent leadership - except Lincoln, of course. The book stops at Gettysburg - I'll be reading that one next.
Stephanie
After reading his Revolutionary War series I was looking forward to the Civil War series - I was not disappointed. I watched the movie, Gods and Generals, at the same time and was so moved by all these generals who cared deeply for Jackson. Through these books I am seeing another view point of the Civil War -- how the South felt like they were defending their freedom like we did in the Rev War. On to The Killer Angles...
Jennifer Hughes
This was interesting enough to finish, but I didn't get into it as much as I was hoping to. It was interesting to read about the lead-up to the Civil War from the perspectives of several pivotol leaders of both North and South. I read "The Killer Angels," which was written some years earlier by Jeff Shaara's father, in college and enjoyed that one a lot more.
Andrea
A historical novel of the Civil War until just prior to Gettysburg, and prequel to one of my very favorite books, "The Killer Angels". It was written by the son of the author of "Killer Angels", which may be why I didn't like it as well. Still, I enjoyed the history/novel/military leader perspective. My least favorite of the trilogy.
Taylor
Wow. If you want to learn more about civil war history or just solidify the facts and characters in this mind, read this. Shaara literally makes the stiff facts, names and dates that never meant a thing to me before, come alive and actually makes it exciting. There were so many things and little details that I hadn't realized or found important before I read this book. I found myself loving and admiring Lee and Jackson, and feeling so sad when Jackson was dying! I think one of my favorite charac ...more
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  • The Killer Angels
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  • Gettysburg
  • Cain at Gettysburg
  • Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War Series, Volume 2
  • The Bloody Ground (The Starbuck Chronicles, #4)
  • Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg: General Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine
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  • The Civil War: An Illustrated History
  • Look Away (U.S. Civil War, #1)
  • From Manassas To Appomattox
  • 1812
  • The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy
  • Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend
  • The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers
14655
Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely know ...more
More about Jeff Shaara...

Other Books in the Series

The Civil War: 1861-1865 (3 books)
  • The Killer Angels
  • The Last Full Measure
The Last Full Measure Rise to Rebellion The Rising Tide (World War II: 1939-1945, #1) The Glorious Cause To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War

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“And so, pointing fingers become pointing guns, because nobody listens to fingers.” 14 likes
“Major, I do not know why God does the things He does, but I believe you have the same duty to God as you have always had: to follow the right path, to live your life with a clear conscience.” 7 likes
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