Even though I knew how things were going to turn out for the battling armies, Shaara does a brilliant job of creating tension in this final section.
The primary tension is the portrayal of what General Longstreet, General Lee’s second in command, went through in trying to change Lee’s mind without insulting his commander and then the anguish of following Lee’s suicidal order to attack. Heart wrenching. Longstreet understood that old tactics wouldn’t be successful with new weapons. And I just wanted to shake General Lee. What was he thinking? Why couldn’t he see what Longstreet understood? But that is the benefit of sitting on one’s butt reading history–usually you know how everything turns out and the price of decisions being made.
As the Marine Corps Reading List blurb says of this book, “The author’s ability to convey the thoughts of men in war as well as their confusion–the so-called “fog of battle”–is outstanding.”
|James Longstreet” by E. & H. T. Anthony (publisher) – SMU Digital Collection|
One thing that I didn’t anticipate before reading this novel was my desire to learn more about the lives and careers of the men who are highlighted in this story. Longstreet, with his dedication, understanding, and tears, is the guy who captured my imagination in this last section.
I’m so glad to have finally read this classic and was pleasantly surprised by its readability and passion.
Before I read any more about the Civil War, I want to watch the movie Gettysburg, which was based on this novel, and then go visit Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania, which is only about five hours away from where I live.
So, fellow readers, have any of you read The Killer Angels or visited Gettysburg? Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated!