Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The Killer Angels...
The Killer Angels tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg through the thoughts of the generals who led the troops on both sides. The book kind of reads the thoughts and minds of many of the generals and officers, but concentrates mostly on James Longstreet of The Confederacy and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of The Union, who was my favorite character.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a man who, like Lincoln, had an ability for sophisticated moral reasoning. It is amazing throughout the book to listen inside his head as he struggles with the moral questions of war and does his best to do right.
While beloved and respected and a brilliant man, Robert E. Lee does not have the same ability. And, his main confident and friend James Longstreet sees the weakness in the man that is so revered that his devastated troops take courage at the sight of him. Longstreet, who is a brilliant tactician has ideas about defensive warfare that are generations before his time. He is brilliant and wise, but not recognized as so. His heart-sickness over unnecessary slaughter of his troops and the deaths of his children are heart-breaking to read.
This book reads almost like a play and is very different in style from anything else that I have ever read. If you have any interest in the Civil War, read this one for sure.