Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, required reading at military schools, the basis for the movie GETTYSBURG, and apparently an indirect inspiration for Joss Whedon developing the TV series FIREFLY, Michael Shaara’s THE KILLER ANGELS remains a classic war novel. I recently finished what must be my fifth reading of it, and I still love it.
The novel relays the events of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War. The story mostly focuses on the perspectives of Generals Lee and Longstreet on the Confederate side and General Buford and Colonel Chamberlain on the Union side. The story is character-driven, deeply insightful into combat and how the contestants viewed the causes of the war, poetic, and marked by incredibly artful and dramatic action scenes. It’s raw, honest, beautiful, and bears repeat reading.
If you’re interested in war fiction and the Civil War and haven’t discovered this gem yet, definitely check it out. Be sure to avoid the Lost Cause propaganda abomination that was GODS AND GENERALS, the film sequel to GETTYSBURG based on the novel by Shaara’s son, Jeff Shaara.