Tom's Reviews > The Killer Angels

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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's review
Jan 28, 08

bookshelves: civil-war, extracurricular-fiction
Read in January, 2008

I'm tempted to say a lot of this book wasn't really my thing, but the more I think about it, the more I find parts I enjoyed. I mostly picked it up to help me get a better handle on Gettysburg in an entertaining way, and it not only helped me visualize the conflict, but also gave me a fuller sense of military tactics throughout the Civil War. It's probably dumb of me to admit, but after a handful of books, this was the first time where ideas like defensive lines and flanking maneuvers really clicked for me. The series of maps helped, too.
The writing ranges in quality, but at its best hits a nice lyrical spot I have a real affection for. Also nice were the fragmentary stabs at stream-of-consciousness turning this book into a marriage between really light Modernism and popular historical novel.
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Peter I am re-reading this book in preparation for giving a book talk. I read it several years ago and loved it, but I couldn't really remember why, other than it's about a subject that I love.

Now that I am back into it, two things that you mentioned are the things that I find are connecting me with the history being described: Shaara's use of stream-of-consciousness really brings you into the character's world and gives the feeling of living the experience; and the maps. You can't have a book about a battle without maps, and this book has plenty of them.


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