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The Last Full Measure (Ballantine Reader's Circle)by Jeff Shaara
Synopses & Reviews
In the Pulitzer prize-winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time, an enduring bestseller that has sold more than two million copies. 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 conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.
As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians in Washington and the generals in the field yawns ever wider. Never has the cumbersome Union Army so desperately needed a decisive, hard-nosed leader. It is at this critical moment that Lincoln places Ulysses S. Grant in command--and turns the tide of war.
For Robert E. Lee, Gettysburg was an unspeakable disaster--compounded by the shattering loss of the fiery Stonewall Jackson two months before. Lee knows better than anyone that the South cannot survive a war of attrition. But with the total devotion of his generals--Longstreet, Hill, Stuart--and his unswerving faith in God, Lee is determined to fight to the bitter end.
Here too is Joshua Chamberlain, the college professor who emerged as the Union hero of Gettysburg--and who will rise to become one of the greatest figures of the Civil War.
Battle by staggering battle, Shaara dramatizes the escalating confrontation between Lee and Grant--complicated, heroic, deeply troubled men. From the costly Battle of the Wilderness to the agonizing siege of Petersburg to Lee's epoch-making surrender at Appomattox, Shaara portrays the riveting conclusion of the Civil War through the minds and hearts of the individuals who gave their last full measure.
Full of human passion and the spellbinding truth of history, The Last Full Measure is the fitting capstone to a magnificent literary trilogy.
From the Hardcover edition.
"The Last Full Measure is more than another historical novel. It is rooted in history, but its strength is the element of humanity flowing through its characters....The book is compelling, easy to read, well-researched and written, and thought-provoking....In short, it is everything that a reader could ask for." Chicago Tribune
"If the true test of a work on the Civil War is to add something new to the established canon, Jeff Shaara's The Last Full Measure is a failure....Although it is billed as a novel written by a storyteller and not a historian, it straddles that hazy no man's land between fact and fiction a dangerous zone for any author who insists on using real characters and actual events already much written about and enshrined in some very good biographies and histories." Mark A. Bradley, The Washington Post Book World
"A worthy companion to its predecessors....These characters come alive as complex, heroic, and flawed men....You are with [Robert E.] Lee, a deeply religious man, as he first begins to wonder if the Confederate cause will prevail....You ride with [Ulysses S.] Grant to see the mounds of Union dead at Cold Harbor, and you share his sickening realization that thousands are dead because of his miscalculation....You are at [Joshua] Chamberlain's bedside as he fights to recover from nearly mortal wounds....Each book is masterful in its own way and taken together, they are unmatched in the body of Civil War literature." The Baltimore Sun
"Impressively researched, this deeply affecting work can't be faulted for inaccuracy or lack of detail. But the occasionally coarse grain of Shaara's characterizations is a problem. Haunted by Stonewall Jackson's ghost, 56-year-old Lee frequently appears to be a semi-senile neurotic. Grant, more concerned about his supply of cigars than battle losses, comes across as a dolt. This tendency toward caricature notwithstanding, Shaara has produced a stirring epigraph to his father's remarkable novel." Publishers Weekly
"An ambitious work....[Shaara] writes with considerable sensitivity and skill, setting vivid scenes and adding drama and suspense to a familiar tale." The Seattle Times
"Shaara's battle episodes nicely balance an admirable grasp of strategy with an understanding of the war's horror and cost. While it's hard to see how the younger Shaara's books offer anything new as either fiction or history on the subject, their swift pace and great accuracy do make for a vivid and sometimes moving review of a defining moment in American history." Kirkus Reviews
"A work of maturity and courage....Jeff Shaara is no longer standing in the shadow of the father but shoulder-to-shoulder with him." Orlando Sentinel
Michael Shaara was born in Jersey City in 1928 and graduated from Rutgers University in 1951. His early science fiction short stories were published in Galaxy magazine in 1952. He later began writing other works of fiction and published more than seventy short stories in many magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook. His first novel, The Broken Place, was published in 1968. But it was a simple family vacation to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1964 that gave him the inspiration for his greatest achievement, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Killer Angels, published in 1974. Michael Shaara went on to write two more novels, The Noah Conspiracy and For Love of the Game, which was published after his death in 1988.
Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives again in Tallahassee.
About the Author
Jeff Shaara was born in 1952 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University in 1974. For many years he was a dealer in rare coins, but sold his Tampa, Florida, business in 1988 upon the death of his father, Michael Shaara.
As manager of his father's estate, Jeff developed a friendship with film director Ron Maxwell, whose film Gettysburg was based on The Killer Angels. It was Maxwell who suggested that Jeff continue the story Michael Shaara had begun.
He and his wife, Lynne, divide their time between Tampa, Florida, and Missoula, Montana.
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