58 pages 1 hour read

Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1974

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The Role of God in War

One theme found within The Killer Angels is that of faith and reliance on God’s will, acknowledging that everything is in His control. Lee is particularly religious, always seeking God’s hand in what he does and what happens throughout the battle. When he thinks about Ewell and Early being new to their commands, he believes that it’s “all in God’s hands” (96). When he feels frustrated because his commanders are not working well together, he relinquishes control: “It was all in God’s hands […] God has decreed a fight here” (100). Later, Lee hears a bit of good news about a Union corps retreating. The narrator says that he “closed his eyes once briefly. God’s will. My trust in Thee. Oh Lord, Bless You and thank You” (104). In a discussion with Longstreet, Lee says, “The issue is in God’s hands. We will live with His decision, whichever way it goes” (182). When trying to plan his attack, Lee prays for confirmation and knows that “this was the way, as God would have it” (257). Before sending Longstreet’s division into the final doomed charge, Lee justifies his choice by saying, “Well, we have left nothing undone. It is all in the hands of God” (287).