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      Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo 9781419713743

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The Last Full Measure (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

by

The Last Full Measure (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Cover

 

 

Excerpt

By July 1863 the Civil War has been fought over the farmlands and

seacoasts of the South for better than two years, and is already one of

the bloodiest wars in human history. It is a war that most believed would

be decided by one quick fight, one great show of strength by the power of

the North. The first major battle, called Bull Run in the North, Manassas

in the South, is witnessed by a carefree audience of Washington's elite.

Their brightly decorated carriages carry men in fine suits and society

matrons in colorful dresses. They perch on a hillside, enjoying their

picnics, anticipating a great show with bands playing merrily while the

young men in blue march in glorious parade and sweep aside the ragged band

of rebels. What they see is the first great horror, the stunning reality

that this is in fact a war, and that men will die. What they

still cannot understand is how far this will go, and how

many men will die.

In the North, President Lincoln maintains a fragile grip on forces pulling

the government in all directions. On one extreme is the pacifist movement,

those who believe that the South has made its point, and so, to avoid

bloodshed, Washington must simply let them go, that nothing so

inconsequential as the Constitution is as important as the loss of life.

On the other extreme are the radical abolitionists, who demand the South

be brought down entirely, punished for its way of life, its culture, and

that anyone who supports the southern cause should be purged from the

land. There is also a great middle ground, men of reason and intellect,

who now understand that there is more to this war than the inflammatory

issue of slavery, or the argument over the sovereign rights of the

individual states. As men continue to volunteer, larger and larger numbers

of troops take to the fields, and other causes emerge, each man fighting

for his own reason. Some fight for honor and duty, some for money and

glory, but nearly all are driven by an amazing courage, and will carry

their muskets across the deadly space because they feel it is the right

thing to do.

From the North come farmers and fishermen, lumberjacks and shopkeepers,

old veterans and young idealists. Some are barely Americans at all,

expatriates and immigrants from Europe, led by officers who do not speak

English. Some are freedmen, Negroes who volunteer to fight for the

preservation of the limited freedoms they have been given, and to spread

that freedom into the South.

In the South they are also farmers and fishermen, as well as ranchers,

laborers, aristocrats, and young men seeking adventure. They are inspired

first by the political rhetoric, the fire-breathing oratory of the radical

secessionists. They are told that Lincoln is in league with the devil, and

that his election ensures that the South will be held down, oppressed by

the powerful interests in the North, that their very way of life is under

siege. When the sound of the big guns echo across Charleston harbor, when

the first flashes of smoke and fire swallow Fort Sumter, Lincoln orders an

army to go south, to put down the rebellion by force. With the invasion

comes a new inspiration, and in the South, even men of reason are drawn

into the fight, men who were not seduced by mindless rhetoric, who have

shunned the self-serving motives of the politicians. There is outrage, and

no matter the issues or the politics, many take up arms in response to

what they see as the threat to their homes. Even the men who understand

and promote the inevitable failure of slavery cannot stand by while their

land is invaded. The issue is not to be decided after all by talk or

rhetoric, but by the gun.

On both sides are the career soldiers, West Pointers, men with experience

from the Mexican War, or the Indian wars of the 1850s. In the North the

officers are infected and abused by the disease of politics, and promotion

is not always granted by performance or ability. The Federal armies endure

a parade of inept or unlucky commanders who cannot fight the rebels until

they first master the fight with Washington. Few succeed.

In the South, Jefferson Davis maintains an iron hand, controlling even the

smallest details of governing the Confederacy. It is not an effective

system, and as in the North, men of political influence are awarded

positions of great authority, men who have no business leading soldiers

into combat. In mid-1862, through an act of fate, or as he would interpret

it, an act of God, Robert Edward Lee is given command of the Army of

Northern Virginia. What follows in the East is a clear pattern, a series

of great and bloody fights in which the South prevails and the North is

beaten back. If the pattern continues, the war will end and the

Confederacy will triumph. Many of the fights are won by Lee, or by his

generals--the Shenandoah Valley, Second Manassas. Many of the fights are

simply lost by the blunders of Federal commanders, the most horrifying

example at Fredericksburg. Most, like the catastrophic Federal defeat at

Chancellorsville or the tactical stalemate at Antietam, are a combination

of both.

By 1863 two monumental events provide an insight into what lies ahead. The

first is the success of the Federal blockade of southern seaports, which

prevents the South from receiving critical supplies from allies abroad,

and also prevents the export of raw materials, notably cotton and tobacco,

which provide the currency necessary to pay for the war effort. The result

is understood on both sides. Without outside help, the Confederacy will

slowly starve.

The second is the great bloody fight at Gettysburg. While a tragic defeat

for Lee's army, there is a greater significance to the way that defeat

occurs. Until now, the war has been fought mostly from the old traditions,

the Napoleonic method, the massed frontal assault against fortified

positions. It has been apparent from the beginning of the war that the new

weaponry has made such attacks dangerous and costly, but old ways die

slowly, and commanders on both sides have been reluctant to change. After

Gettysburg, the changes become a matter of survival. If the commanders do

not yet understand, the men in the field do, and the use of the shovels

becomes as important as the use of muskets. The new methods--strong

fortifications, trench warfare--are clear signs to all that the war has

changed, that there will be no quick and decisive fight to end all fights.

As the Civil War enters its third year, the bloody reports continue to

fill the newspapers, and the bodies of young men continue to fill the

cemeteries. To the eager patriots, the idealists and adventurers who

joined the fight at the beginning, there is a new reality, in which honor

and glory are becoming hollow words. The great causes are slowly pushed

aside, and men now fight with the grim determination to take this fight to

its end; after so much destruction and horrible loss, the senses are

dulled, the unspeakable sights no longer shock. All the energy is forward,

toward those men across that deadly space who have simply become the

enemy.

Robert Edward Lee

Born in 1807, he graduates West Point in 1829, second in his class. Though

he is the son of "Light-Horse" Harry Lee, a great hero of the American

Revolution, late in his father's life Lee must endure the burden of his

father's business and personal failures more than the aura of heroism. Lee

is devoutly religious, believing with absolute clarity that the events of

his life are determined by the will of God. On his return from West Point,

his mother dies in his arms. The haunting sadness of her death stays hard

inside him for the rest of his life, and places him more firmly than ever

into the hands of his God.

He marries the aristocratic Mary Anne Randolph Custis, whose father is the

grandson of Martha Washington, and whose home is the grand mansion of

Arlington, overlooking the Potomac River. The Lees have seven children,

and Lee suffers the guilt of a career that rarely brings him home to watch

his children grow, a source of great regret for him, and simmering

bitterness in his wife Mary.

Lee is a brilliant engineer, and his army career moves him to a variety of

posts where his expertise and skill contribute much to the construction of

the military installations and forts along the Atlantic coast. He goes to

St. Louis and confronts a crisis for the port there by rerouting the flow

of the Mississippi River. In 1846 he is sent to Mexico,and his reputation

lands him on the staff of General-in-Chief Winfield Scott. Lee performs

with efficiency and heroism, both as an engineer, a scout, and a staff

officer, and leaves Mexico a lieutenant colonel.

He accepts command of the cadet corps at West Point in 1851, considered by

many as the great reward for good service, the respectable job in which to

spend the autumn of his career. But though his family is now close, he

misses the action of Mexico, finds himself stifled by administrative

duties. In 1855 he stuns all who know him by seizing an opportunity to

return to the field, volunteering to go to Texas, to command a new

regiment of cavalry. But even that command is mundane and frustrating, and

there is for him nothing in the duty that recalls the vitality and

adventure of the fighting in Mexico. Throughout the 1850s Lee settles into

a deep gloom, resigns himself that no duty will be as fulfilling as life

under fire and that his career will carry him into old age in bored

obscurity.

As the conflict over Lincoln's election boils over in the South, his

command in Texas begins to collapse, and he is recalled to Washington in

early 1861, where he receives the startling request to command Lincoln's

new volunteer army, with a promotion to Major General. He shocks

Washington and deeply disappoints Winfield Scott by declining the

appointment. Lee chooses the only course left to an officer and a man of

honor and resigns from his thirty-year career. He believes that even

though Virginia has not yet joined the secessionist states, by organizing

an army to invade the South, Lincoln has united his opponents and the

southern states, which must eventually include Virginia. Lee will not take

up arms against his home.

In late April 1861 he accepts the governor's invitation to command the

Virginia Militia, a defensive force assembled to defend the state. When

Jefferson Davis moves the Confederate government to Richmond, the Virginia

forces, as well as those of the other ten secessionist states, are

absorbed into the Confederate army. Lee is invited to serve as military

consultant to Davis, another stifling job with little actual authority. In

July 1861, during the first great battle of the war, Lee sits alone in his

office, while most of official Richmond travels to Manassas, to the

excitement of the front lines.

In June 1862, while accompanied by Davis near the fighting on the Virginia

peninsula, commander Joe Johnston is wounded in action and Davis offers

command of the Army of Northern Virginia to Lee. Lee accepts, understands

that he is, after all, a soldier, and justifies the decision with the fact

that his theater of war is still Virginia. Defending his home takes on a

more poignant significance when Lee's grand estate at Arlington is

occupied and ransacked by Federal troops.

Lee reorganizes the army, removes many of the inept political generals,

and begins to understand the enormous value of his two best commanders,

James Longstreet and Thomas Jackson, who at Manassas was given the

nickname "Stonewall." Using the greatest talents of both men, Lee leads

the Army of Northern Virginia through a series of momentous victories

against a Federal army that is weighed down by its own failures, and by

its continuing struggle to find an effective commander. Much of Lee's war

is fought in northern Virginia, and the land is suffering under the strain

of feeding the army. The burden of war and of the Federal blockade spreads

through the entire Confederacy and inspires Lee and Davis to consider a

bold and decisive strategy.

In September 1862, Lee moves his army north, hoping to gather support and

new recruits from the neutral state of Maryland. The advance results in

the battle of Sharpsburg--known as Antietam in the North--and though Lee

does not admit defeat, the outrageous carnage and loss of life force him

to order a retreat back into Virginia. But his army is not pursued by the

Federal forces, and with new commanders now confronting him, Lee begins a

great tactical chess game, and accomplishes the greatest victories of the

war.

In December 1862, at Fredericksburg, Virginia, his army maintains the

defensive and completely crushes poorly planned Federal assaults. In May

1863, at Chancellorsville, Lee is outnumbered nearly three to one, and

only by the utter audacity of Stonewall Jackson does the huge Federal army

retire from the field with great loss. But the battle is costly for Lee as

well. Jackson is accidentally shot by his own men, and dies after a

weeklong struggle with pneumonia.

Lee and Davis continue to believe that a move northward is essential, that

with weakened confidence and inept commanders, the Federal army need only

be pushed into one great battle that will likely end the war. In June

1863, Lee's army marches into Pennsylvania. He believes that a great fight

might not even be necessary, that just the threat of spilling blood on

northern soil will put great pressure on Washington, and the war might be

brought to an end by the voice of the northern people. The invasion of the

North will serve another purpose: to take the fight into fertile farmlands

where Lee might feed his increasingly desperate army.

Some in Lee's army question the strategy, raising the moral question of

how to justify an invasion versus defending their homes. Others question

the military judgment of moving into unfamiliar territory, against an

enemy that has never been inspired by fighting on its own ground. There

are other factors that Lee must confront. Though he is personally

devastated by the death of Jackson, Jackson's loss means more to his army

than Lee fully understands.

As the invasion moves north, Lee is left blind by his cavalry, under the

flamboyant command of Jeb Stuart. Stuart fails to provide Lee with

critical information about the enemy and is cut off from Lee beyond the

march of the Federal army, an army that is moving to confront Lee with

uncharacteristic speed. The Federal Army of the Potomac has yet another

new commander, George Gordon Meade, and if Lee knows Meade to be a careful

man, cautious in his new command, he also knows that there are many other

Federal officers now rising to the top, men who are not political pawns

but in fact hard and effective fighters.

The two armies collide at a small crossroads called Gettysburg, a fight

for which Lee is not yet prepared, and the fight becomes the three

bloodiest days in American history. As costly as it is to both armies, it

is a clear defeat for Lee. He had believed his army could not be stopped,

and begins now to understand what Jackson's loss might mean--that as the

fight goes on, and the good men continue to fall away, the war will settle

heavily on his own shoulders.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Born in 1828 near Brewer, Maine, he is the oldest of five children. He

graduates Bowdoin College in 1852, and impresses all who know him with his

intellect, his gift for words and talent for languages. He is raised by a

deeply religious mother, whose greatest wish is that he become a man of

the cloth, and for a short while Chamberlain attends the Bangor

Theological Seminary, but it is not a commitment he can make. His father's

ancestry is military. Chamberlain's great-grandfather fought in the

Revolution, his grandfather in the War of 1812. His father serves during

peacetime years in the Maine Militia and never sees combat. It is family

tradition that his son will follow the military path, and he pressures

Chamberlain to apply to West Point. When Chamberlain returns to the

academic community, a career for which his father has little respect, the

disappointment becomes a hard barrier between them.

He marries Frances Caroline (Fannie) Adams, and they have four children,

two of whom survive infancy. Fannie pushes him toward the career in

academics, and his love for her is so complete and consuming that he

likely would have pursued any path she had chosen.

Considered the rising star in the academic community, Chamberlain accepts

a prestigious Chair at Bowdoin, formerly held by the renowned Calvin

Stowe, husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her controversial book, Uncle

Tom's Cabin, inspires Chamberlain, and the issues that explode in

the South, so far removed from the classrooms in Maine, reach him deeply.

He begins to feel a calling of a different kind.

As the war begins in earnest, and Chamberlain's distraction is evident to

the school administration, he is offered a leave of absence--a trip to

Europe, to take him away from the growing turmoil. Chamberlain uses the

opportunity in a way that astounds and distresses everyone. He goes to the

governor of Maine without telling anyone, including Fannie, and volunteers

for service in the newly forming Maine regiments. Though he has no

military experience, his intellect and zeal for the job open the door, and

he is appointed Lieutenant Colonel, second-in-command of the Twentieth

Maine Regiment of Volunteers.

After a difficult farewell to his family, Chamberlain and his regiment

join the Army of the Potomac in Washington, and in September 1862 they

march toward western Maryland, to confront Lee's army at Antietam Creek.

The Twentieth Maine does not see action, but Chamberlain observes the

carnage of the fight and, for the first time, experiences what the war

might mean for the men around him. Three months later he leads his men

into the guns at Fredericksburg and witnesses firsthand what the war has

become. He spends an amazing night on the battlefield, yards from the

lines of the enemy, and protects himself with the corpses of his own men.

In June 1863 he is promoted to full colonel, and now commands the

regiment. He marches north with the army in pursuit of Lee's invasion. By

chance, his regiment is the lead unit of the Fifth Corps, and when they

reach the growing sounds of the fight at Gettysburg, the Twentieth Maine

marches to the left flank, climbing a long rise to the far face of a rocky

hill known later as Little Round Top. His is now the last unit, the far

left flank of the Federal line, and he is ordered to hold the position at

all cost. The regiment fights off a desperate series of attacks from

Longstreet's corps, which, if successful, would likely turn the entire

Federal flank, exposing the supply train and the rear of the rest of the

army. Low on ammunition, his line weakening from the loss of so many men,

he impulsively orders his men to charge the advancing rebels with bayonets,

surprising the weary attackers so completely that they retreat in disorder

or are captured en masse. The attacks end and the flank is secured.

During the fight, he is struck by a small piece of shrapnel, and carries a

small but painful wound in his foot. As the army marches in slow pursuit

of Lee's retreat, the foul weather and Chamberlain's own exhaustion take

their toll, and he begins to suffer symptoms of malaria.

Though he is unknown outside of his immediate command, this college

professor turned soldier now attracts the attention of the commanders

above him, and it becomes apparent that his is a name that will be heard

again.

Ulysses Simpson Grant

Born in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, he graduates West Point in 1843.

Small, undistinguished as a cadet, it is his initials which first attract

attention. The U.S. becomes a nickname, "Uncle Sam," and soon he is known

by his friends as simply "Sam." He achieves one other notable reputation

at the Point, that of a master horseman, seemingly able to tame and ride

any animal.

His first duty is near St. Louis, and he maintains a strong friendship

with many of the former cadets, including "Pete" Longstreet. Grant meets

and falls madly in love with Julia Dent, whose father's inflated notion of

his own aristocratic standing produces strong objection to his daughter's

relationship with a soldier. Longstreet suffers a similar fate, and in

1846, when the orders come to march to Mexico, both men leave behind young

girls with wounded hearts.

Grant is assigned to the Fourth Infantry and serves under Zachary Taylor

during the first conflicts in south Texas. He makes the great march inland

with Winfield Scott and arrives at the gates of Mexico City to lead his

men into the costly fighting that eventually breaks down the defenses of

the city and gives Scott's army the victory. Grant leads his infantry with

great skill, and is recognized for heroism, but is not impressed with the

straight-ahead tactics used by Scott. He believes that much loss of life

could have been avoided by better strategy.

He returns home with a strong sense of despair for the condition of the

Mexican peasantry, which he sees as victims of both the war and their own

ruling class. It is an experience that helps strengthen his own feelings

about the abominable inhumanity of slavery.

Returning to St. Louis, Grant receives reluctant consent to marry Julia,

and eventually they have four children. He receives a pleasant assignment

to Detroit, but in 1852 he is ordered to the coast of California, an

expensive and hazardous post, and so he must leave his family behind. The

following two years are the worst in his life, and despite a brief and enjoyable tour at Fort Vancouver, he succumbs both to the outrageous temptations of gold-rush San Francisco and the desperate loneliness of

life without his young family. Shy and withdrawn, he does not enjoy the

raucous social circles of many of his friends, and the painful isolation

leads him to a dependency on alcohol. His bouts of drunkenness are severe

enough to interfere with his duty, and his behavior warrants disciplinary

action. Because of the generosity of his commanding officer, Grant is

afforded the opportunity to resign rather than face a court-martial. He

leaves the army in May 1854 and believes his career in the military is at

a painful conclusion.

He returns to his family unemployed and penniless, and attempts to farm a

piece of land given him by Julia's father. With no money to provide the

beginnings of a crop, Grant attempts the lumber business, cutting trees

from the land himself. He eventually builds his own house, which he calls,

appropriately, "Hardscrabble."

He is generous to a fault, often loaning money to those who will never

repay the debts, and despite a constant struggle financially, he is always

willing to help anyone who confronts him in need.

In 1859 he is offered a position as a collection agent for a real estate

firm in St. Louis, and trades the small farm for a modest home in the

city, but the business is not profitable. Though he is qualified for

positions that become available in the local government, the political

turmoil that spreads through the Midwest requires great skill at intrigue

and political connections, and Grant has neither. He finally accepts an

offer from his own father, moves to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, and clerks

in a leather and tanned goods store with his brothers, who understand that

Grant's military experience and West Point training in mathematics will

make for both a trustworthy and useful employee. But the politics of the

day begin to affect even those who try to avoid the great discussions and

town meetings, and Grant meets John Rawlins and Elihu Washburne, whose

political influence begins to pave the way for an opportunity Grant would

never have sought on his own.

As the presidential election draws closer, Grant awakens to the political

passions around him, involves himself with the issues andthe candidates,

and finally decides to support the candidate Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln

is elected, Grant tells his friend John Rawlins that with passions

igniting around the country, "the South will fight."

Persuaded by Washburne, Grant organizes a regiment of troops from Galena

and petitions the governor of Illinois for a Colonel's commission, which

he receives. After seven years of struggle as a civilian, Grant reenters

the army.

Serving first under Henry Halleck, he eventually commands troops through

fights on the Mississippi River at Forts Henry and Donelson, each fight

growing in importance as the war spreads. Promoted eventually to Major

General, Grant is named commander of the Federal Army of Tennessee, but

still must endure Halleck's fragile ego and disagreeable hostility. On the

Tennessee River at a place called Shiloh, facing a powerful enemy under

the command of Albert Sidney Johnston, Grant wins one of the bloodiest

fights of the war, in which Johnston himself is killed. Here, Grant's

command includes an old acquaintance from his days in California, William

Tecumseh Sherman.

In July 1862, when Halleck is promoted to General-in-Chief of the army and

leaves for Washington, the army of the western theater is a confused

mishmash of commands under Grant, Don Carlos Buell, and William Rosecrans.

While the focus of the nation is on the great battles in Virginia, Grant

gradually establishes himself as the most consistent and reliable

commander in the West. He finally unites much of the Federal forces for an

assault and eventually a long siege on the critical river port of

Vicksburg, Mississippi. In July 1863, the same week Lee's army confronts

the great Federal forces at Gettysburg, Grant succeeds in capturing both

Vicksburg and the Confederate force that had occupied it.

Now, Lincoln begins to focus not just on the great turmoil of Virginia,

but toward the West as well, and it is Grant's name that rises through the

jumble of poor commanders and the political gloom of Washington. After the

disasters of leadership that have plagued the army, Lincoln's patience for

the politics of command is at an end. He begins to speak of this quiet and

unassuming man out West, a general who seems to know how to win.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345425485
Author:
Shaara, Jeff M.
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Author:
Shaara, Jeff M.
Author:
Various
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
War
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Fiction.
Subject:
War & Military
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Civil war -- History.
Edition Number:
1st trade pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Civil War Trilogy
Publication Date:
19990431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
8.1 x 5.4 x 1.1 in .94 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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The Last Full Measure (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345425485 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "An ambitious work....[Shaara] writes with considerable sensitivity and skill, setting vivid scenes and adding drama and suspense to a familiar tale."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "A work of maturity and courage....Jeff Shaara is no longer standing in the shadow of the father but shoulder-to-shoulder with him."
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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