A friend told me the best book on the civil war was Killer Angels so I decided to read it and I am glad. It is amazingly well written, well read and informative.
This book could probably not have been written today. It is openly honest and not always politically correct. It is a magnificent portrayal of the Battle of Gettysburg that took place over four horrific days. The author has managed to truly climb into the hearts and minds of the characters. General Lee is so real you feel the pain in his arm and his chest as he ails, you feel the weight of the power of his authority, the weight of asking men to fight and die, the pain of the very painful decisions. Others like Longstreet come completely alive and walk off the page into your own heart. You feel his frustration when he receives order that he knows will fail, when he knows that Stuart has failed in his duties.
You will feel the frustration of Chamberlain as he tries to protect his brother, fight a battle that he doesn’t think he can win, take a hill and hold it against all odds, feel his courage as he yells fix bayonets and charges the enemy winning the decisive battle, defeating an enemy greater in number by sheer force of will. He had no more ammunition. Is it fate, destiny?
I love this book because even though it is a military novel based on fact, it isn’t crude and has only a rare moment of questionable language, they are so civilized and there is an absence of the whole idea of political correctness, political speech…there is honor and sometimes stupid blind obedience, but here is loyalty.
They had to trust one another and they did.
The sad thing is that friend fought friend and and friends therefore became enemies…enemies became friends in some cases…it is about the futility of war, no one wins.