Synopses & Reviews
Detailing the events around four days in late June and early July, 1863, the story follows four men as they march into the field for what will become the bloodiest three days in American history. Robert E. Lee leads the Confederate troops on an invasion of Pennsylvania, believing it is the only way the South can still force Washington to accept peace, and a Southern victory. By his side, James "Pete" Longstreet does not share Lee's optimism, and understands that this great fight could be the South's Waterloo. On the Northern side, Cavalry General John Buford is the man on the spot, and heroically holds Lee's army back while the rest of the Union troops move into position on the valuable and crucial high ground of Cemetery Ridge. Leading a regiment to the far end of the line, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is told he must hold the flank, that his small command is the key to the entire Union position. Ordering his men to dig in, waiting for the inevitable assault from Longstreet's troops, the former college professor realizes that this is his destiny, commanding soldiers on a hill known as Little Round Top.
"The best Civil War novel ever written, even better than The Red Badge of Courage." Stephen B. Oates
"A compelling version of what America's Armageddon must have been like....Surefire storytelling." Publisher's Weekly
"[Shaara] writes with clarity and power....His descriptions of the battle scenes are vivid and unsparing." Newsday
"You will learn more from this utterly absorbing book about Gettysburg than from any nonfictional account. Shaara fabulously, convincingly brings characters such as Robert E. Lee to life and makes the conflict all too real." Forbes
“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
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.
About the Author
Michael Shaara was born in Jersey City in 1929 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
, and Redbook
. His first novel, The Broken Place
, was published in 1968. But it was a simple family vacation to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1966 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 posthumously after his death in 1988.
From the Hardcover edition.