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Paperback The Last Full Measure Book

ISBN: 0345425480

ISBN13: 9780345425485

The Last Full Measure

(Book #3 in the The Civil War Trilogy Series)

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Book Overview

In the Pulitzer prize-winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. The Last Full Measure tells the epic story of the events following the Battle of Gettysburg and brings to life the final two years of the Civil War. Jeff Shaara dramatizes the escalating confrontation between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant--complicated, heroic, and deeply troubled men. For Lee and his Confederate forces, Gettysburg...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A fine study of the last year ...

... of the American Civil War. I would say this is an excellent history for those who do not particularly have the patience or care to read a history book. Set as a novel viewing the events of the war through the eyes of it's major players, the story begins with Lee's army at the swollen banks of the Potomac after his retreat from the disaster at Gettysburg. Although the novel does not include the recruitment process of Grant for command of all Union forces as Lt. General (a rank last held by George Washington), nor the strategy session between Grant and his favorite, Gen. W.T. Sherman; it does give a glimpse of why Lincoln chose this man to led the Army. With the selection of Grant the focus of the war is changed from the dubious capture of Richmond as a means to defeat the South to the defeat of Lee himself. Grant sums it up in a sentence to Gen. Meade (who he leaves in charge of the Army of the Potomac) saying, "Where Lee goes, you will go too." Grant knows that the fighting heart of the South is not in Richmond, but in its most popular leader, Gen. R.E. Lee. When Lee is beaten, the war will end ... and of course, history bears this out. The tale takes us through the Union defeat in the burning thickets and forest of the Wilderness; Lee's (and Stuart's) brilliant disengagement and race to Spotsylvania and the mule shoe salient -- where the most vicious fighting of the war takes place -- the two armies positioned literally yards from each other, clubbing and stabbing one another to death over and through chinks in the log barricades. It follows Lee's move to the North Ana River where Grant's leaders make a terrible mistake in deployment, but are spared disaster because Lee remains in his tent, too ill to take advantage of the situation. The fight moves further south to Cold Harbor and the wholesale slaughter of Union troops in Grant's biggest mistake of the war. Over 7,000 men are killed in twenty minutes of battle. And finally to the siege of the strategic rail center at Petersburg. Ultimately Lee will leave Petersburg and march his army west only to be dogged by the Union and finally give up the fight as hopeless at Appomattox. Although slow moving at times, the average reader will come to know the last year of the Civil War in a way that standard history texts cannot tell it. This is the most critical period of time for each nation's survival. If Lee can hold out for a few more months and Lincoln is not reelected, the pacifist movement in the North will permit the Confederacy their independence and the Union will be broken. With the defeat of Lee in Virginia and the victories of Sherman in Georgia, the South will give up the fight and the Union preserved. We all know the eventual outcome of the struggle. This book gives us the personalized details of how desperate a fight it really was. Some of the more avid history buffs might be a bit disappointed at the coverage of some events (such as the battle of Cold Harbor), but all in all, th

Life-like Conclusion to the Civil War

Jeff Shaara follows in his father's footsteps ... big shoes to fill indeed! He does a highly admirable job of researching and writing about the heroes, both North and South, who fought during the last two years of the Civil War. This book provides the reader a ring-side seat to key battles and positions, as each side fights to their last full measure of strength. The reader is provided personal information about the lives of the major players: General Robert E. Lee, General Ulysses S. Grant, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. We get inside the hearts and minds of these soldiers and although fiction it rings true to life. Historical fiction is a marvelous method to learn about detailed and important battles which became turning points in this most fundamental war in the history of the United States. Most impressive descriptions are provided as General Robert E. Lee struggles in his heart and soul to send his valorous troops against the much better equipped Northern soldiers. We learn how strategy and insight gave the South advantages over technology and numbers, in the beginning. We learn that after Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was given command of the North, the tides turned ... and the reasons why. Maps are provided which give proper visualization to the word descriptions of strategic locations and key battles. Divided into four parts, the prolog to each section uses the words of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address very effectively. Each section includes descriptions of a wide range of events, thorough analysis, and human emotions for the years of the war and post war events that it covers. The book goes beyond the war to include descriptons of when President Lincoln is shot. It concludes with an afterward that gives a wonderful summary of the post-war lives of major participants both Blue and the Gray. Reading this book was truly an eye-opening experience, filled with illuminating moments and unforgettable real people. It leaves the reader hungry to read more about the subject It compelled me to buy more books by this author - for example, "Gone for Soldiers" (the Mexican War) and "Rise to Rebellion" (the American Revolutionary War). Erika Borsos (erikab93)

A Chip Off The Old Block.

The general consensus seems to be that Jeff Shaara is a good writer, but not up to his father's standards. I have to disagree. This book was thoroughly enjoyable and quite moving. Not only that, Jeff manages to write the book in the same style as his father, likely in a successful attempt to tie the trilogy together in similar prose. This is a lot harder to do than one might suspect.Also, to Jeff's credit, the scope of The Last Full Measure is greater than The Killer Angels, which focused exclusively on Gettysburg. Jeff takes up the war after Lee's defeat at Gettysburg, and follows it to its conclusion at Appomattox. His rendering of the horrific conditions of Lee's army as it tries to escape the inevitable, and the poignant moments of the final battles and the climax at the courthouse are as good as historical writing gets. I believe Jeff surpasses Michael's ability to tap into and reveal the minds and emotions of the key players, Lee, Grant, Chamberlain, and others.Don't discount or skip this book based on the comparative naysayers' comments. I place The Last Full Measure on the top shelf of Civil War literature. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.

THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR'S LAST YEARS!

In reading this book I found it a lot more enjoyable than the other three stories. It gets right down into the heart and soul of the main characters in the book. I don't think that it was to wordy. I think he (Jeff Shaara) put as much effort possible into telling a complete and detailed account on what it was like for the soldiers in the Civil War. I think it is the best out of all three because it really gets into detail about what the soldiers had to go through in order to fight for their country. It shows how through bad and good the men from the South never gave up until they had given their LAST FULL MEASURE! I don't care what anyone says about this book being to wordy because I just think that they need an excuse to put down Jeff. Overall I think Jeff did an unbelievable job finishing what his father started and I hope that he continues to write books about how it was just for regular soldiers. I would like to read how it must have felt for them and not just the generals and people who never got dirty.

Incredible as it may seem, it's the best of the three!

While "Killer Angels" tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg in poignant detail, and "Gods and Generals" provides the reader with insight into the minds of the men who commanded the armies of the Civil War, in "The Last Full Measure" Jeff Shaara brings you to your knees. I do a lot of reading during my lunch hour (I hate eating alone in restaurants!) I was sitting in a crowded local McDonald's when I read the part about Robert E. Lee's decision to surrender and the surrender itself and I sat there and cried. I reread it several times and cried every time. When I got home that evening, I read it to my husband. I had to stop several times because my voice kept breaking. By the time I finished we were both in tears. In all of the reading I have done about the civil war, I've never understood the pain of the South's surrender until now. It was heartbreaking! If you care anything about the South, or if you just want to understand why the Confederate soldiers continued to fight when there was nothing left to fight with, read this book!
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