Gods and Generals: A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy)
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara’s classic Civil War novel about the men who led the fight at the Battle of Gettysburg, was a major literary event, winning the Pulitzer Prize, becoming a #1 bestseller, and selling more than two million copies. Now, in Gods and Generals, Jeff Shaara carries forward his father’s vision in an epic story that traces the lives, passions, and careers of these great military leaders from the first gathering clouds of the Civil War.
Here is Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a hopelessly by-the-book military instructor and devout Christian. His fierce exterior hides a compassionate soul that few—students and soldiers alike—will ever see, and he becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War. We follow Winfield Scott Hancock, a Captain of Quartermasters who is assigned command of a brigade of infantry, quickly establishing himself as one of the finest leaders in the Union army. Then there is Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career to volunteer for service in the new army, only to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history. And here too is a brilliant portrait of the complex, aristocratic Robert E. Lee, who is faced with the agonizing decision of resigning from a distinguished thirty-year army career in order to defend his home, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass.
As the war gathers momentum, Stonewall Jackson wins his reputation by a series of stinging victories over ineptly led Union forces. Lee, finally given command of the Confederate forces, recognizes that this strange, devout, and dangerous man is his greatest weapon. For a time, it truly seems as if God is on their side and that Lee will lead his army to final victory against overwhelming odds. Nowhere is this plainer than at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where, for the first time, all four men meet on the same field and experience the exhilaration and raw horror of battle from four very different points of view.
But it is in the next great fight, the Battle of Chancellorsville, that Lee’s brilliant strategy, and Jackson’s supreme achievement, are overshadowed when Jackson is mortally wounded by his own men. This loss is the true turning point of the war. Lee now realizes that against the ever-growing numbers of Union forces, he can only win by a direct threat to Washington. So the battle-hardened armies of the Confederacy begin their fateful invasion of the North, toward an obscure crossroads in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg.
Beautifully written, compelling in its vivid portraiture of the battlefield, and profound in its insights into the minds and hearts of those who fought, Gods and Generals is truly a worthy companion volume to the timeless The Killer Angels.
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