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Gods and Generals: A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy)

(Book #1 in the The Civil War Trilogy Series)

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Book Overview

The New York Times bestselling prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels In this brilliantly written epic novel, Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Historical fiction the way it should be written.

This book was actually inspired by Jeff Shaara’s father’s great Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Killer Angels, which was first published in 1974, by Michael Shaara. It dealt with the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg as seen through the eyes of its principal participants. That great novel was also the inspiration for the movie Gettysburg released in theaters. Michael Shaara died and his son, Jeff, a talented writer himself, was finally convinced to write both a prequel to Killer Angels and a sequel as well to complete a trilogy of the Civil War in the Eastern Theater. Gods and Generals is this prequel released in 1996 and Last Full Measure is the sequel, released in 1998. Jeff has absolutely mastered the art of story telling and his imagery is vivid and exciting. He tells the story of the Civil War in the Eastern Theater in this book from the origins beginning around 1858 and climaxes after the Battle of Chancellorsville when Robert E. Lee makes his fateful decision to take the war into Pennsylvania (the subject of Killer Angels). An example of such imagery I include here as he describes the Confederate attack on the Union right flank at Chancellorsville: “Rodes turned, and there was a quick shout and a bugle sounded, and out in front the first line began to crush through the tangle of briars and thickets. From far out in both directions came the sound, the high, screaming wail, of ten thousand men; a solid line a mile wide pushing and clawing through the brush in one great mass of motion. The terrible sound echoed far in front of them, carried forward by the wind, and before them, beyond the brush, in the wide clearings along the road, heads began to turn, and plates of hot food were spilled, and the men in blue coats stood, staring at the impossible, the impenetrable thicket, and stared as the deer and the rabbits and the birds ran and darted and flushed out before the great wave. Before the first man was seen, or the first musket aimed, the men in blue were swallowed by the sound, the raw terror, and they began to run.” pp. 429-430. Now I have a pretty good imagination, and the Civil War is one of my favorite subjects to read about, but this passage sent chills down my spine. I was literally there, 158 years ago. And the very last page of this magnificent novel left me on the edge so that I can’t wait to re-read Killer Angels. That glorious and heroic Army of the Potomac with so much potential that had been led by such poor generals who were either incompetent, uninspired, or too timid, were now under the command of George Gordon Meade, “… a man who did not suffer from the heavy burden of defeat, whose troops withdrew from Fredericksburg because they had been unsupported, who had withdrawn at Chancellorsville because Hooker had collapsed. But now the army was his, and they were on the move, above the capital, moving with a new energy to confront the invasion. And this time Stuart could not ride fast enough. It was no longer a weak, lethargic army around which he was playing.” (p490.) I loved this book.

Historical Fiction Masterpiece!

This book was recommended to me by a family member, and I am so glad I finally took them up on their suggestion! This is one of the best books I've ever read and I DO NOT like military novels. I was entranced by the thoughts and feelings of the men we've often heard about in history class. I was glad for a new perspective on battles that I've always heard the facts about, and I am finding now that I just want to read more of Shaara's work in the future! This book was so good!

Astounding prequel to father's Killer Angels!

My first love is Scottish History, but since I was raised on both sides of the pond, I grew to have a great love for the complexities of the War Between the States in the US. So, it was great pleasure I read this book.Shaara, in this case Jeff, the son of Michael, had a hard act to follow. His father was the author of Pulitzer Prize Winning Killer Angels (1974). Killer Angels looked at the high watermark of the Confederacy which ended with the battle of Gettysburg. That was the single most important event of the whole War Between the States, in a war that shaped the United States. It gave such insight, such reality into the horror, the glory, the humanity and inhumanity of war, of Generals Lee, Hancock, Pickett and Chamberlain. Shaara's words brought alive the battle and made you feel it all, the anticipation, the frustration, the fear and the anger.In Gods and Generals, Jeff picks up his father's pen and gives you another masterpiece. Though father and son, both have a different writing voices. Jeff picks up the threads of what happened before Gettysburg, a prequel to his father's award winning novel, giving you insight into the men facing what would be their hardest trial. He again centres on the driven Lee, the bumbling Chamberlain, the dashing Hancock, but we also see Jackson, the man who could march his men 40 miles in a day and then fight a battle, one of the most efficient Generals of the whole war on either side, yet overwhelming a religious man. What interested me most, was his portrait of Lee, his dedication to the Confederacy winning and yet the pain of being torn by his loyalty to the Union army he once served and likely of which he would have been General had he not resigned his commission.A tour de force for a first time writer.

Like Father, Like Son

I purchased Jeff Shaara's "Gods and Generals" at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a year before I cracked its spine. When I did, I was on my way to a military operational research symposium in England. I'm sorry I waited so long."Gods and Generals" is a slam-bang precursor to his father's "Killer Angels," and I for one am hard-pressed to say which I enjoyed more. True, the father and son have written historical novels -- but what history! What great stories!For the first time readers are given an impression, a direct feel, for the personal, psychological and behavioral bent of the main characters in this drama of the American Civil War. I only wish that the son had addressed Buford in his work.I've walked the battlefields of Fredericksburg and the Wilderness. Jeff Shaara brings them to life, and tells a compelling tale of the principle actors on those bloody stages.The religious fervor Shaara imputes to the commanders, particularly Jackson and Lee, is a commentary on the war fervor of the South in general. How could one fight to dissolve the Union without God on one's side?If you have read "Killer Angels" then you must read "Gods and Generals." If you have not, then read "Gods and Generals" first, then immediately go to the father's work.Enjoy.

Well liked by Gods and Generals

Gods and Generals is a wonderful combination of fact and fiction. That was extremely helpful to me because it provided me with a lot of information about the first half of the Civil War without boring me to death. The setting is in the United States (mostly Virginia but there are a few seens elswhere) from just before the Civil War to the end of the battle of Chancellorsville. This includes such battles as Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam, and a brief acount of Bull Run. It also gives you the third person prospective of union Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, union Lt. Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, confederate General Robert E. Lee, and confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. The only person who tops Jeff Sharra in writing about the Civil War is his father Michael Sharra in The Killer Angels.

Oops! This review is for Gods and Generals.

I just posted a review for Killer Angels and posted it here. Oh well. If you've read Killer Angels and you liked it then you will like this book as well. Gods and Generals covers everything that happened BEFORE Gettysburg. This is an extremely good book. It is easy to create a little movie inside of your head of what is occuring while reading and the level of reading is not extremely difficult.
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