Play Book Tag discussion

The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2)
This topic is about The Killer Angels
10 views
Archive: Other Books > [Poll Ballot] The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara - 3 stars

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Joy D | 3869 comments The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara - 3 stars - My Review

This book is the second book in a trilogy about the American Civil War. It is the only one of the three written by Michael Shaara. The other two were written later by the author’s son, Jeff. I mention this to point out that The Killer Angels can easily be read as a standalone.

It is not a “history” of the Battle of Gettysburg (1863). Of course, being historical fiction, it does not need to be, but the book summary indicates it is a balanced view. It is not. It mostly contains the southern perspective, as Shaara’s main sources include Longstreet’s memoirs and Freemantle’s book.

For a book about Gettysburg, there is remarkably little about the actual battle – only Little Round Top and Pickett’s Charge are covered in any detail. And it covers only a small amount of strategy. It appears to be mostly a character study of two men, Confederate General James Longstreet and Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. These officers and their peers do LOTS of talking.

On the southern side, we hear about Robert E. Lee, Lewis Armistead, and British observer Arthur Freemantle. On the Union side, John Buford appears on the first day. Chamberlain is covered to a greater degree, but he was not in a position to see the entire battlefield on the third day, when much of the action occurs.

I did enjoy it and there are many positives. It is very well-written. The characters are drawn in such a way that the reader understands their motivations. The battle scenes of the final day are particularly vivid and immersive. Published in 1974, this book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year.

I listened to the audio book, competently read by Stephen Hoye. His voice acting in the last action-oriented chapter – prior to the summary of what happened to each character – is particularly moving. There are many glowing reviews of this book so perhaps my expectations were too high.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6002 comments I read it for my F2F book club nearly 20 years ago! It was a 5-star read for me.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7862 comments I really loved this whole series-slowly going to read all of Jeff Shaara's books


Joy D | 3869 comments Book Concierge wrote: "I read it for my F2F book club nearly 20 years ago! It was a 5-star read for me."

I know most people loved this book. I wonder if would have made a difference if I had read it instead of listened to it?


Joy D | 3869 comments Joanne wrote: "I really loved this whole series-slowly going to read all of Jeff Shaara's books"

Glad to hear you loved the series. I am on the fence about reading more of these books.


back to top