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The Last Full Measure

(The Civil War Trilogy #3)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  13,800 ratings  ·  329 reviews
In the Pulitzer prize-winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. In the bestselling Gods and Generals, Shaara's son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father's vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published May 2nd 2000 by Ballantine Books (first published December 12th 1991)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,800 ratings  ·  329 reviews

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Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“If God is watching us, what judgement does he make now?”

With the completion of “The Last Full Measure”, I have read every novel that Mr. Shaara has written (to date) about the American Civil War. Oddly enough, even though this text was written second out of his six books about the Civil War, the writing might be the best of the group. Less stilted, and ponderous as some of the others could be at times.
Mr. Shaara is at this best when writing about battle. He puts you there in a vivid and very ma
Don Nelson
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Of the three books Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels and The Last Full Measure - The Last Full Measure was, for me, the most painful.
In this book the reader is introduced to Ulysses S. Grant and discovers the metal of the man. General Robert E. Lee continues to be the stalwart leader of the southern army. The reader comes to understand the passion of these men as well as the Union commander Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who came away from Gettysburg a hero. Chamberlain is the only one of these
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times.”
When the armies of the North and the South walked away from the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863, the victor was clear, but you wouldn't have known by the casualty numbers alone. 50,000 men had been killed, wounded, or captured over those three days, roughly an equal loss for each side. Michael Shaara (Jeff's father) wrote about this battle in his book, The Killer Angels, and I had wondered why he chose that point in time to focus a narra
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
"The Last Full Measure" is the final book in the Civil War trilogy by the Shaaras. Michael Shaara, the father, started it all when he wrote wrote the Pulitzer-Prize winning "The Killer Angels" about the battle at Gettysburg. He passed away before he could write more. His son Jeff then wrote about events leading up to Gettysburg and next what followed after Gettysburg. Is "The Last Full Measure" as good as "The Killer Angels"? Not quite, but perhaps that's not even a fair question.

"The Killer Ang
Pickle Farmer
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is how the majority of the characters talk in this book: "There are.... a lot...... of periods...... in between..... words...."

I read the first 150-200 pages or so of this with such gusto! It wasn't as good as "The Killer Angels," obviously, but it was perfectly readable and exciting. Then things got sluggish. Chapter after chapter where absolutely nothing of importance or interest happenned. A battle was fought. Generals muse on death and destruction. Chamberlain is non-existent; there is
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I still enjoyed the historical information but I did not care for his writing style--it lacks the flair for writing in comparison to his father's book. He overuses phrases of his own making that often confuse the reader left not knowing who he is talking about or who is doing the talking. Sometimes the pace flows and keeps the reader interested, and other times it lags on and on to the point of frustration. He tries to describe the feelings of the characters when he couldn't possibly know what w ...more
The Last Full Measure takes its title from words in Lincoln’ indescribable Gettysburg Address:
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died i
Daniel Ligon
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fitting conclusion to an excellent Civil War trilogy. While Jeff Shaara isn't quite as good a writer as his father Michael ("Killer Angels"), he still does a great job of capturing the look and feel of the scenes and characters. Shaara's portrayal of General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is particularly compelling. Few moments in American history are as tragic or as poignant as the surrender at Appomattox Court House and the events leading up to it, and Shaara tells that story masterfully. Great ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Picking up shortly after the events of Gettysburg depicted in The Killer Angels, this novel takes us all the way through the rest of the Civil War, concentrating mostly on the battles in the East, the grand struggle between the newly promoted and positioned US Grant and the steady Robert E. Lee. Indeed, most of the book alters perspectives between the two leaders as well as presenting the viewpoint of Joshua Chamberlain, unlikely hero of Gettysburg and a man who had a Forest Gump-like ability to ...more
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
This work suffers from the same flaws as God and Generals. Shaara simply fails to reproduce the genius of his father. The only book in this trilogy that needs to be read is Michael Shaara's original "The Killer Angels."
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread
Enjoyed rereading this one to prepare for our trip to Virginia and Washington DC in October
Peter Spence
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
The predecessor of this book (The Killer Angels) far surpasses The Last Full Measure in most ways - tightness of storyline, style, prose, illustration and delivery of key facts - but, nevertheless, I enjoyed Jeff Shaara's game attempt to conclude the Civil War story in his father's image.
As a "foreigner", I don't have the inculcated knowledge of the War that US students undoubtedly absorb from their earliest school years, so I found the book very helpful in establishing the timeline of events, a
Bob Matter
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read about half of this book, then set it down to read something else, and then another something else, and then another, etc. The first half was interesting, and I had read the first two books of the trilogy ("Killer Angels" and "Gods and Generals"), so I wanted to finish it. Three years later, I have. And am I glad I did. The last third or so of the book was a detailed account of the last weeks and days of the Army of the Potomac (Grant) vs. the Army of Virginia (Robert E. Lee). Shaara bring ...more
Gilda Felt
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shaara does a great job in pulling the reader into the conflict as each battle plays out. The growing desperation of the South, as its supplies give out and its numbers dwindle, the growing confidence of the North, which iswell supplied and with an almost unending supply of men. Each is vividly drawn.

The same descriptions could be used for its leaders. Lee has to watch while his men go hungry, dressed practically in rags, and wonder when enough will be enough. Grant has the full force of the Nor
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent finish to a remarkable trilogy. Anyone who has a passing knowledge of the Civil War needs to read this set of books. It is an exciting and well told story which will certainly lead me to reading more about this period in US history. Start with Killer Angels. Gods and Generals was good and The Last Full Measure was an amazing way to bring it to the end.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This classic trilogy was enjoyable and satisfying to read.

Gods and Generals: 4.5
Killer Angels: 5.0
The Last Full Measure: 4.0
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Jeff Shaara completes the Civil War three-book sandwich he and his father wrote, wrapping up the tales from the bloodiest war in which the United States had been involved up to that point. Shaara's storytelling takes the reader inside the lines of troops, generals, battle plans, and even strategies to defeat the other side. He illustrates the progress of both sides by personalising the story, using characters on both sides of the fighting to bring a more complete and in-depth analysis and presen ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, audiobooks
This is a more than satisfying conclusion to the Shaara family Civil War Trilogy that chronologically begins with Jeff's "Gods and Generals", and continued with his late father Michael's masterful account of Gettysburg in the "Killer Angels". While the previous books focused on four narrators each, this third book by Jeff Shaara drops the count down to three, and for the most part two. If there is a flaw to this book, it is that we are not given enough of the fascinating and admirable Joshua Cha ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was good but brutal. So much fighting and sadness. The civil war was an awful time period. I did like reading about both sides and the positive and negatives that both sides had. A good read if you really want to know everything about every battle in the civil war.

Favorite quotes:
- pg 505- “you just go about your work and your duty with absolute honesty, you fight for something you believe in without any other motive. Lee simply did not believe he was ever wrong, or would ever lose.
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: civil-war
I loved Michael Shaara's book about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, and so it was with a lot of anticipation (and a bit of anxiety) that I started reading his son Jeff's companion volumes. Overall, I don't like them. I wish I did. I want to, very much. But I keep finding them overwritten, too much telling, not enough showing, and sometimes so sprawling and incoherent that I, someone who has studied the Civil War in detail and knows a fair amount about it, have trouble keeping track of who is doin ...more
Just arrived from USA trough BM.

Even if I haven't read his father's book The Killer Angels, I was able to follow this magnificent epic based on the American Civil War.

General Lee's surrender to General Grant was very touching and very well described by the author.

His American Revolutionary War (1770-1783) series is also memorable and unforgettable.

Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Like his father before him with Killer Angels, Jeff Shaara weaves a masterful portrait focusing on Lee, Grant and Chamberlain in the closing days of the war. The battles are detailed and precise; the men are real and fascinating. Highly recommended for both civil war buffs & historical fiction fans.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, war
Interesting account of the leaders during the second half of the American Civil War. A little dry, but I enjoyed it, both from the presentation of the characters and the historical information. Recommended.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In 1976 Michael Shaara wrote The Killer Angels (1976). His son, Jeff, became an equally adept military novelist, adding two additional Civil War novels to complete the Civil War Trilogy: Gods and Generals (1996)—“first” in the Trilogy—and The Last Full Measure (1998). Jeff Shaara has also written several other novels of the Civil War, as well as a number of WWII histories. His style is different from his father’s: the story is told more from the viewpoint of an outside observer, less from the in ...more
Jonathan Lu
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthy conclusion to the shaara trilogy that for the first time focuses on the persona of Grant and his stature compared to the other (primarily confederate) generals. What separates 2 armies between each other on the battlefield is truly the men leading them, with generals as the heroes celebrated throughout time. Very interesting as in this book having been written in 1998 is the first to address the changing nature of war itself - with the US civil war as really the first "modern" one that ...more
Erin Bottger (Bouma)
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is truly one of the most profound books I have ever read.
I'm not a Military history buff but since I moved to Alabama 3 years ago, I have been trying to understand much more about the Civil War, Reconstruction and the Southern Heritage in general. I've been reading several novels and histories about the period but none has impacted me quite so strongly as this one.
Shaara has masterfully told the story of the last two years of the Civil War in both a balanced and personal way. He has sough
Gary Letham
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The third and final part of the Shaara's Civil War trilogy in the East. It is the beginning of Lee's defensive retreat from Gettysburg, a journey that will culminate in the surrender at Appomattox Court House. The north has a new commander, Ulysses S Grant, fresh from his victories in the west. He is made commander of the whole Federal army and he has a plan. He has greater resources and more importantly, a bigger and replacable army, and he knows Lee has neither. Grant does not fight a pretty w ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had a really hard time reading the last of this Civil War trilogy. It took me months, not because it isn't interesting, but because it is, perhaps, too detailed. My take away from The Last Full Measure is that if the general populous is not affected by the devastations of war, then no one will do anything to stop the war. If you can believe this fictional account of the war, the Civil War was not won by battles, but by preventing the citizens of the south to provide the troops supplies and by ...more
John Huber
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it, just as I did Gods and Generals and The Killer Angels. Better than I expected, but maybe most because Jeff Shaara is still overshadowed by his father's prose in TKA. This book, in my opinion, is another example to prove that Jeff's writing is actually better that that of his father. In particular, I liked the addition and emphasis on Grant's character - it felt true to me and it was very readable. Chamberlain's character, for some reason, fell off for me. He was my favorite in ...more
Craig Zeichner
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it
There are a number of good things here. I like the way Shaara sets up the death of J.E.B. Stuart's at Yellow Tavern--implying it was Phil Sheridan who fired the fatal shot. I also like his portrayal of President Lincoln and the interactions he has with General Grant. Speaking of Grant, there's a marvelous scene where General Sherman comes to meet with the General-in-Chief and Mrs. Grant. However, so much of Shaara's narrative is too "clean" and the tension is simply not there. It may not be fair ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The Civil War Trilogy (3 books)
  • Gods and Generals (The Civil War Trilogy, #1)
  • The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2)
“world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion …” 3 likes
“The word began to filter down the lines, and the grumbling stopped, there was something new about this march, something these men had never been a part of before. If the fight in the Wilderness had not gone their way—the most optimistic called it a draw—they were not doing what this army had always done before, they were not going back above the river. If they had never said much about Grant, had never thought him any different from the ones who had come before, if they had become so used to the steady parade of failure, this time there was a difference. Some wanted to cheer, but were hushed by nervous officers. So along the dusty roads hats went up and muskets were held high, a silent salute to this new commander. This time, they were marching south.” 3 likes
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