58 pages 1 hour read

Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1974

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Important Quotes

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“Should have gone to Vicksburg. News from there very bad. It will fall, and after that…we must win here if we are to win at all, and we must do it soon.”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 12)

Longstreet is reflecting on the Confederate Army’s situation as he waits for Lee to emerge from his tent. This brief thought throws the reader into the middle of the Civil War with an understanding that the South is in a dire situation and needs a victory if they have any hope of winning the war. Longstreet’s observation also illustrates a sense of desperation, and desperation rarely bodes well in battle.

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“That’s different. Generals can do anything. Nothing quite so much like God on earth as a general on a battlefield.”

(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 25)

Chamberlain is talking to his brother, Tom, warning him to be careful in how he addresses him to avoid any appearance of favoritism. This statement illustrates the reverence that the generals in both armies receive from their staff, their officers, and their soldiers. It also shows the hierarchy inherent in the military, and this hierarchy reflects the importance of leadership and the need for each army to have solid leaders to stand behind. This reference to gods and generals is also significant, as Shaara’s son Jeff will carry on his father’s legacy by writing two additional Civil War novels, the first of which is titled Gods and Generals.

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“He had grown up believing in America and the individual and it was a stronger faith than his faith in God. This was the land where no man had to bow. In this place at last a man could stand up free of the past, free of tradition and blood ties and the curse of royalty and become what he wished to become. This was the first place on earth where the man mattered more than the state. True freedom had begun here and it would spread eventually over all the earth. But it had begun here.”

(Part 1, Chapter 2, Page 26)

Chamberlain is a very complicated man and character, and it is easy to see his strengths as a professor of