Jake's Reviews > The Last Full Measure

The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara
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Jul 26, 09

bookshelves: fiction
Read in January, 1998

I had a chance to shake hands with Jeff Shaara at a Civil War reenactment in Gettysburg prior to the release of his first novel Gods and Generals . He was autographing copies of a new edition of The Killer Angels , his late father's Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Hmmm. Anyway, he seemed like a gentleman.

I’m rather cynical about Jeff Shaara’s great success as a rare coin dealer turned novelist. But I have to confess, in his second outing he does pretty well. I enjoyed reading The Last Full Measure. It’s not especially memorable, but has some great moments, including an incident where Confederate and Union soldiers befriend each other across the No Man’s Land of Petersburg, VA.

Though this novel is often exciting, I’m not sure how much credit should go to the author. Like the title of the book, Mr. Shaara’s novel is in large part a regurgitation of famous quotes and battles. All the real plot work has been done by historians, and much more importantly, by the actual participants who survived and wrote memoirs, reports, and letters home. I’m curious to what extent Mr. Shaara just culled together highlights and rephrased other people’s work.

Still, if Mr. Shaara’s Civil War fan fiction brings uninformed readers a bit closer to the real history, maybe it’s all for the best.
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