|The Killer Angels cover collage|
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara is a novel about the Battle of Gettsyburg which took place July 1-3, 1863. The battle was a big turning point in the Civil War and the novel was awarded the Pulitzer in 1975.
“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
While I’ve never been “into” the Civil War, my interest in this novel was piqued over 15 years ago when I was living in North Carolina and a friend whipped out her annotated copy of the book. Her history professor dad had made notes in it for her, circling or writing in the names and deeds of ancestors who’d been in the battle. I was fascinated by that knowledge of her heritage (even if she suspected some of it may have been family lore rather than historical fact).
I recently decided to start reading about the Civil War and knew this novel would probably be the book I’d start with. When my friend Janis Herbert included it on her list of recommended books on the Civil War it was a done deal. I’m told this book is a very readable, more about the feelings of the men who fought than military battle tactics and maneuvers.
From the publisher: In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.
Week 1: Read through the section “June 29” (about 46 pages). Discussion post on July 7th.
Week 2: Read through the section “July 1” (about 69 pages). Discussion post on July 14.
Week 3: Read through the section “July 2” (about 102 pages). Discussion post on July 21.
Week 4: Read through the section “July 3” & afterword (about 70 pages). Discussion post on July 28.
Who wants to join me?