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The Civil War Trilogy: Gods and Generals / The Killer Angels / The Last Full Measure

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Michael Shaara reinvented the war novel with his Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Jeff Shaara continued his father’s legacy with a series of centuries-spanning New York Times bestsellers. This volume assembles three Civil War novels from America’s first family of military fiction: Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full M Michael Shaara reinvented the war novel with his Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Jeff Shaara continued his father’s legacy with a series of centuries-spanning New York Times bestsellers. This volume assembles three Civil War novels from America’s first family of military fiction: Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure. Gods and Generals traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great military leaders—Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Chamberlain—from the gathering clouds of war. The Killer Angels re-creates the fight for America’s destiny in the Battle of Gettysburg, the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history. And The Last Full Measure brings to life the final two years of the Civil War, chasing the escalating conflict between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant—complicated, heroic, and deeply troubled men—through to its riveting conclusion at Appomattox.


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Michael Shaara reinvented the war novel with his Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Jeff Shaara continued his father’s legacy with a series of centuries-spanning New York Times bestsellers. This volume assembles three Civil War novels from America’s first family of military fiction: Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full M Michael Shaara reinvented the war novel with his Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Jeff Shaara continued his father’s legacy with a series of centuries-spanning New York Times bestsellers. This volume assembles three Civil War novels from America’s first family of military fiction: Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure. Gods and Generals traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great military leaders—Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Chamberlain—from the gathering clouds of war. The Killer Angels re-creates the fight for America’s destiny in the Battle of Gettysburg, the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history. And The Last Full Measure brings to life the final two years of the Civil War, chasing the escalating conflict between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant—complicated, heroic, and deeply troubled men—through to its riveting conclusion at Appomattox.

30 review for The Civil War Trilogy: Gods and Generals / The Killer Angels / The Last Full Measure

  1. 5 out of 5

    Misfit

    These three books should be required reading in school. Very eye opening to the horrors of war. Gods and Generals - Fascinating portrayal of a sad time in US History, as told from the perspectives of the generals involved in these campaigns. I was most particularly moved by Lee and his torn loyalties to the US Army and his home state of Virginia, and most especially by the great Stonewall Jackson. I've come across the names in history classes (oh so long ago) and the occasional novel covering th These three books should be required reading in school. Very eye opening to the horrors of war. Gods and Generals - Fascinating portrayal of a sad time in US History, as told from the perspectives of the generals involved in these campaigns. I was most particularly moved by Lee and his torn loyalties to the US Army and his home state of Virginia, and most especially by the great Stonewall Jackson. I've come across the names in history classes (oh so long ago) and the occasional novel covering this period, but it was wonderful to have them brought to life as this author did, and we are once again reminded that was is indeed h***. One moment in the book that particularly touched me was during a retreat of Federal soldiers. One of them slipped in the mud and was told that since the general decreed the roads to be in good condition therefore there is no mud. Four stars instead of five as the author's habit of inserting a comma instead of the word "and" was a bit of a distration for me. The Killer Angels - The author brings the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War to life in this wonderful novel. He uses the alternating views from the officers of both sides of the conflict, thus making you feel as you are right with them, culminating in the horrific and tragic end of the battle. I was truly saddened by the incredible loss of life due to the mistakes of the priveleged few, the generals. No wonder they say Gettysburg is one of the most haunted places in America. The Last Full Measure - I think this book, and the two preceding it should be required reading in school. I had no idea how horrific this war was, particularly more so as the brutalities committed on both sides were against our own. There were so many moments when I wanted to stop and cry for the loss of life, and especially at the end when the one man who was capable of healing the country and bringing us all back together as one nation, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated. The research was impeccable and telling the story from the viewpoints of the various generals absolutely fascinating. The honorable Robert E. Lee, Chamberlain (loved his gracious salute to the surrendering army), and the ever fascinating U.S. Grant. One quote from so many in the book that just brought tears to my eyes: "Yes, it was horrible, horrible indeed. But he had to tell himself that, remind himself to see it that way. There was no sickening revulsion, no outrage, no indignation at the barbarism. It was just one more scene from this war, one more horror, one more mass of death, blending together with all the rest." Highly highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Rabe

    The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara gripped me from the moment I started it, another one of those books dangerous for a mother to start as it could lead to the neglect of children. (Fortunately, mine are old enough that at least serious accidents were ruled out during my stolen moments.) The portraits of the warriors are vivid. Robert E. Lee's honor and character are captured, along with the devotion of his men and even what might be seen as arrogance that led to Pickett's Charge. The heroism of The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara gripped me from the moment I started it, another one of those books dangerous for a mother to start as it could lead to the neglect of children. (Fortunately, mine are old enough that at least serious accidents were ruled out during my stolen moments.) The portraits of the warriors are vivid. Robert E. Lee's honor and character are captured, along with the devotion of his men and even what might be seen as arrogance that led to Pickett's Charge. The heroism of rhetoric professor Joshua Chamberlain, who held the end of the line at Gettysburg, is shown in the many details, including his wise treatment of deserters, his rousing speeches to his men, his horror at filling a hole in the line with his own brother. The Last Full Measure , written by Shaara's son, Jeffrey, takes the reader to the surrender of Lee, continuing in the same style as the original author. The thorough background research, based on soldiers' journals, newspaper accounts and other primary documents, is what gives these works the depth and richness that is so enjoyable. (I haven't read Gods and Generals yet, but look forward to that as a future treat.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This was an outstanding trilogy about the civil war and I'm not a big fan of history books about our country's wars. Although this is what I'd call fictional history the events were real. A great story! This was an outstanding trilogy about the civil war and I'm not a big fan of history books about our country's wars. Although this is what I'd call fictional history the events were real. A great story!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ginger Stephens

    This is a review of the entire trilogy. All Americans should read this, especially in this time when the Confederacy and the causes of the War are misunderstood and misconstrued. The Killer Angels is MUCH better than God and Generals and The Last Full Measure. That does not mean that those are not good books worth reading. The Killer Angels is in a class by itself. Few books are its equal. The Killer Angels inspires emotions: sadness, anger, confusion. The other two do that, but not as strongly This is a review of the entire trilogy. All Americans should read this, especially in this time when the Confederacy and the causes of the War are misunderstood and misconstrued. The Killer Angels is MUCH better than God and Generals and The Last Full Measure. That does not mean that those are not good books worth reading. The Killer Angels is in a class by itself. Few books are its equal. The Killer Angels inspires emotions: sadness, anger, confusion. The other two do that, but not as strongly and the characters are not nearly as vivid as those same characters I. The Killer Angels. All in all, this was time well spent and I recommend all three books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Fernandez

    Far and away one of the greatest trilogies ever written. Michael Shaara is the writer of the second book chronologically but first one published, "The Killer Angels" telling the story about the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg from the points of view of the general officers of both the Union and Confederate Armies in the American Civil War (1861-1865). The second published but first chronologically is "Gods and Generals" written and published by his son Jeffery Shaara 22 years later follows t Far and away one of the greatest trilogies ever written. Michael Shaara is the writer of the second book chronologically but first one published, "The Killer Angels" telling the story about the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg from the points of view of the general officers of both the Union and Confederate Armies in the American Civil War (1861-1865). The second published but first chronologically is "Gods and Generals" written and published by his son Jeffery Shaara 22 years later follows the wars early years and battles such as Antietam and Fredericksburg. It ends with General "Stonewall" Jackson's death at Chancellorsville and just as the armies approach Gettysburg. The Third published and final novel of the trilogy is "The Last Full Measure" which introduces Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant who is appointed By President Abraham Lincoln to take command of all Union forces and bring victory which as history shows happened on April 9, 1865. The Civil War possibly is the most documented and written about subject in American History and yet "The Killer Angels" was the first of it's kind a little over 100 years later. It was the first book to give the reader the chance to hear the story of the war from the actual participants. And the Shaaras do not disappoint. Stonewall Jackson is portrayed as he was. A devout Christian, logical, and seemingly invincible soldier who attributes his victories to the blessings of God and is cut down not by the enemy but by his own men. Robert E. Lee the honorable virginian gentleman soldier who facing a choice between fighting his country or his home resigns from the army and heads to his native state only to become The greatest General and possibly the most revered soldier in U.S. history. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the college professor turned Colonel who joins the army out of a sense of idealism and devotion to the concept of freedom. And Ulysses S. Grant, the hard and calculable General who unleashes what his predecessors lacked in assuring victory: THE FIGHT which crushes The Confederate States Army and ends the war. The trilogy even touched on the years before the war how some soldiers who were friends found themselves as enemies with devestating results such as the tragic friendship between Winfield Scott Hancock and Lew Armistead who avoid facing each other until the fateful battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War was a war of brother against brother but also one of ideals. Winston Churchill once called it "The Noblest of Conflicts". It's origins are spoken of in the novels by the general officers of the army. States rights, slavery, freedom, and even being a fight against "the gentlemen" are referenced in the three books The books are a "complete" story in that it is sad and full of fire. It is a story of friendships and promises. A story of ideals in the midst of battle and of course it is a story of love. In today's America, the civil war is still a very highly debated and sensitive issue and it is tragic that rather than having the real historic figures tell the story of what happened and why, people tend to fall in contradiction and partisan bickering. The Shaaras through these novels draw back the curtain and give the American People a story of the war Shelby Foote called "Central to all of our lives" without political correctness and bias which to my mind is the chief praise I give to the trilogy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I'm really not much in to the war history thing, all the little details of who surrounded who's flank, etc, BUT this was a very compelling fictionalization of the real life people leading the armies of both sides of the war. Gods & Generals felt a little too appologetic for the Southern states. It was, afterall, really about slavery, no matter how much some might want to white-wash this as state's rights. Maybe it felt that way because the folks in charge of the Union's army were complete bumbli I'm really not much in to the war history thing, all the little details of who surrounded who's flank, etc, BUT this was a very compelling fictionalization of the real life people leading the armies of both sides of the war. Gods & Generals felt a little too appologetic for the Southern states. It was, afterall, really about slavery, no matter how much some might want to white-wash this as state's rights. Maybe it felt that way because the folks in charge of the Union's army were complete bumbling idiots, compared to the Southern generals. Gettysburg was a pretty engaging, exciting read. Really enjoyed reading about Buford and Chamberlain's parts in this battle, as well as Hancock. Lee really jumped the shark with this one by sending in Pickett's division on day 3 -- what a useless slaughter. I'm amazed that Longstreet didn't just quit right then & there. He understood how badly that would turn out. The Last Full measure was good, but seemed to drag on forever. Maybe that was the point, though. It was a 2 year slog of trench warfare and horrible casualties while the Union slowly ground Lee's forces down. It was interesting to get to know more about Grant -- I'm curious now to see if I can get my hands on his memoirs. So, all in all, probably a 5 star read, as if for no other reason than that it made this war's history more alive to me than anything I ever learned in school / high school. Now I'm going off to find me some fluffy sci-fy to rest my brain...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jon Wayne

    Finest work I have read in many years This book captivated my time from the instant I started reading. I especially liked how he was able to use personal thoughts and feelings of the characters of the war. Totally impartial to both sides, he made me look up to and respect the leaders of both sides. Many, many times I shed tears at the loss of one of the soldiers. I myself a veteran of 2 wars totally understands the characters of the books and for the first time in my like understood the true caus Finest work I have read in many years This book captivated my time from the instant I started reading. I especially liked how he was able to use personal thoughts and feelings of the characters of the war. Totally impartial to both sides, he made me look up to and respect the leaders of both sides. Many, many times I shed tears at the loss of one of the soldiers. I myself a veteran of 2 wars totally understands the characters of the books and for the first time in my like understood the true cause of the south. I recommend this book set for those who love history. With this you not only get the raw history, but you are able to put the complicated pieces together and understand things like the battle at Gettysburg. Now when I stand on the fields at places like Gettysburg I can actually see what happened. The book set is very long and it has kept me reading for a long time. I'm sad that this series has ended, but I will now read all of Jeff's other books. Majdad.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lee Ann

    Loved all three, with Gods and Generals being the best of them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Ferder

    Highly recommend. This trilogy answered a lot of questions I had about the civil war. I feel I know the history a lot better now. Easy to read, great writing by both authors.

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Christensen

    Very well written. Covers the period of 1858 to 1863, prior to the civil war up to but not including Gettesburg. Tells the story of the lead up to the war and the early years from the perspective of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, with visits to other leaders. So, not a history book per say, but wonderful insight to what was going through the minds of these players. Very insightful as to the mind of a civil war military le Very well written. Covers the period of 1858 to 1863, prior to the civil war up to but not including Gettesburg. Tells the story of the lead up to the war and the early years from the perspective of Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, with visits to other leaders. So, not a history book per say, but wonderful insight to what was going through the minds of these players. Very insightful as to the mind of a civil war military leader. Thoroughly engrossing. The first book leads into his father's book, The Killer Angels which focuses on Gettysburg. The Last Full Measure finishes off the last two years of the war.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Greg Parrott

    Though long, I really enjoyed this trilogy from cover to cover. Fictional but plausible... refreshing putting the human on each major character trying to see inside their minds on why they did what they did. Covering from the pre-war years until just after the death of General Lee, the book dives into the (possible) emotions and thoughts of the major players. Did it really happen this way? No one can truly know. Worth the reading to have some perspective on the current events regarding things Co Though long, I really enjoyed this trilogy from cover to cover. Fictional but plausible... refreshing putting the human on each major character trying to see inside their minds on why they did what they did. Covering from the pre-war years until just after the death of General Lee, the book dives into the (possible) emotions and thoughts of the major players. Did it really happen this way? No one can truly know. Worth the reading to have some perspective on the current events regarding things Confederate.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseh

    Civil war trilogy Outstanding presentation of one of the bloodiest wars of the United States. Shaara presents a detailed story of the civil war from both the union and confederate viewpoints with no bias towards either side. The box set holds the readers attention throughout al three books. Excellent reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ernie

    Amazing Canadian reading about the US civil war after recent headlines about General Lee. Could not put this book down. Amazing character development, detail, story. I would recommend it to anyone interested in peeling back the onion layers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    james l royle

    Very real portrayal of the civil war. I have read Shaaras book on WW2 and this book follows his unique ability to place you there in the awful Civil War using history and fiction dialogue. Great book

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Carroll

    Outstanding Far better than Gingrich's coarse "what if" books, the Shaara trilogy puts you in the middle of this defining epoch in American history. And he does it through humanizing the key figures you only read about in history books. Outstanding Far better than Gingrich's coarse "what if" books, the Shaara trilogy puts you in the middle of this defining epoch in American history. And he does it through humanizing the key figures you only read about in history books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Edward Shuman

    Interesting story A very interesting read on the men who fought the Civil War. While not a true history it was told through the eyes of the main participants. It makes reading about the war very easy to take considering the amount of deaths that occurred.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Pierangeli

    Some of my all time favorites.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A compelled and well written fictional on the horror and adventure of war.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Radin

    An incredible trilogy! I loved every minute of it. Well written and exciting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    gail Baker

    Great trilogy of the Civil War and politics of the era. I never knew that the Southern States in Secession, if they won, wanted to return to British Rule.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lee Yahnker

    I love historical fiction when the characters play a major part. This book is to heavy on the battles of the Civil War. I didn’t finish it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anders Toerklep

    read 2/3 books. Very good!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Heath

    This will make you a fan of "historical fiction" - real events and characters, enlivened by imagined conversations, motivations, etc. Compelling reading - This will make you a fan of "historical fiction" - real events and characters, enlivened by imagined conversations, motivations, etc. Compelling reading -

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jimmie Aaron Kepler

    An excellent box set on the war in the east.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wolfe

    Great writing. I loved the story that went along with the history of the Civil War. Truly memorable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily Bittner

    I’ve reread these books many times

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Bartol

    Review One great read. A must for anyone interested in the Civil War and the history of the early United States.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Olsen

    good book with a different perspective since it's about/from the Generals. Can be frustrating at times hearing some of the hurdles (even though it's fiction, I'm sure some of the challenges were very much true!). good book with a different perspective since it's about/from the Generals. Can be frustrating at times hearing some of the hurdles (even though it's fiction, I'm sure some of the challenges were very much true!).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I didn't get a chance to read Gods and Generals, but I thoroughly enjoyed the other two books in the trilogy, especially "The Last Full Measure." I'm certainly not an expert, but these must certainly be among the best historical fictions of all time. It feels like an understatement calling them fiction even - given that although they were fictitiously written from the internal 1st person points-of-view of the minds of major generals such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysess S. Grant ($50 bill), and a few o I didn't get a chance to read Gods and Generals, but I thoroughly enjoyed the other two books in the trilogy, especially "The Last Full Measure." I'm certainly not an expert, but these must certainly be among the best historical fictions of all time. It feels like an understatement calling them fiction even - given that although they were fictitiously written from the internal 1st person points-of-view of the minds of major generals such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysess S. Grant ($50 bill), and a few other fascinating leaders of men, the authors fastidiously depicted historically accurate settings and characters including, in picture form, the exact geographical and strategic locations of both forces, the day down to exact hours of the events/battles that took place, and historically credible traits/quips of biographical information used to build each character. The book I would strongly recommend reading first is "The Last Full Measure." it may be long, but understandably so, and you won't be able to put it down in the middle of a chapter. This one read as follows: There were around 8 (if I remember correctly enough... having done this reading about 5 years ago) famous generals characterized extensively from the records of the 237 named fierce and frequent battles across 4 bloody years of one of the most entirely recorded wars in human history (this is real history people). It also holds accounts here and there from anonymous soldiers (also fiction) describing in detail the average man's nutritional conditions and day to day sufferings. These are very short, riveting chapters, one of which can be summarized as 'torture by mosquitos.' Lee's accounts were the most abundant, his name appearing as the title of each chapter in which followed an account from his fictionally reconstructed mind. I obviously remain awful in light of how much these authors knew about said (and every other) hero of the American civil war! I never intended whien starting this review to be so descriptive about a book I read 5 years ago, but my eccentricity just goes to show how spectacular these novels (and Civil War History,) are. I don't have any more time to spend rambling this out, so I will end with a short review that I found on the book's Amazon.com page that really captures what I wanted to say with the soul of wit that I lacked. "Riveting . . . Vivid . . . Brilliantly depicted. . . . THE LAST FULL MEASURE IS MORE THAN ANOTHER HISTORICAL NOVEL. It is rooted in history, but its strength is the element of humanity flowing through its characters. . . . The book is compelling, easy to read, well researched and written, and thought-provoking. . . . In short, it is everything that a reader could ask for." - Chicago Tribune Oh, the humanity! Yes! There lies the passion!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Black

    They books were brilliant and moving. Though I must confess that I struggled to finish the last half of the 3rd. I was practically shouting "SURRENDER ALREADY" at the pages. But the fights, the pride, the fear and uncertainty, the decorum and camaraderie, all captured brilliantly in these pages. I loved the style of writing on books 1 and 3 the best. Gettysburg came above in the 2nd. I've been to the Highgate Mark, the Wheat Field, Devil's Den, Little Round Top, looked across the field of Picket They books were brilliant and moving. Though I must confess that I struggled to finish the last half of the 3rd. I was practically shouting "SURRENDER ALREADY" at the pages. But the fights, the pride, the fear and uncertainty, the decorum and camaraderie, all captured brilliantly in these pages. I loved the style of writing on books 1 and 3 the best. Gettysburg came above in the 2nd. I've been to the Highgate Mark, the Wheat Field, Devil's Den, Little Round Top, looked across the field of Pickett's Charge, and the pages leapt to life. Books 1 and 2 should be required reading in our schools. We should not forget.

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