Killer Angles is a very interesting book. Even tough it is considered to be a historical novel sometimes it can be misleading to consider it that. Even tough Michael Shara used real characters like General Robert E. Lee and General James Longstreet, and Joshua L.
Chamberlain he added his own ideas. For example he based the situations from the real historical events but he added his own imagination to the novel to make it more interesting. Sometimes this can create historical inaccuracy. But overall this is a very good book that I suggest to anybody. If you want a clearer picture of the battle of Gettysburg, the generals and the events you should definitely read the book! There are many conflicts that the main characters have between them. One of the most important conflicts of the book is the argument between Lee and Longstreet.
The two men argued if they should use offensive or defensive tactics to win the battle. Lee is portrayed as a man who believes he can win the war and destroy the union army if he puts the soldiers in the right place. Lee was wrong to assume this because he failed to see the advantage of the Union army who were secured in the higher ground of Cem entry Ridge. Longstreet had a better plan.
He thought that the best way to win the battle would be to fight it defensively. He wanted Lee to move the Confederate army to a position southeast of Gettysburg. Longstreet thought that because they would be between the Union capital and the Union army this will leave the union army with no chance but to attack and protect the capital. This was a better plan, but Lee failed to see that. The most important problem the main characters have to face is the battle itself, and the defeat. (Surprisingly enough mostly all of the characters are from the Confederacy).
This story opens with the main character named Jim Nolan leaving behind his former life and going to meet Harry Nilson, a leader of the ?Party.? Jim had a father killed in a riot, a mother who died, and a sister that was missing. He wants to join the ?Party? because he wants to do something that will give his life meaning. He is accepted, and is introduced to other members of the party. The next ...
The author points out that one of the most important reasons that the battle was lost is the advantage of the Union army. They had the higher ground to fight on. Also, with the lost of J. E. B. Stuart Lee had no information about the movement of the Union army and the geography of the area.
Buford (Union) only yields Seminary Ridge but manages to keep all the other hills. (Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill, Little Round Top, and Big Round Top) causing the Confederates to lose. The quote that I think was the most important in the book is from chapter 3 July 1. “Tell General Ewell the Federal troops are retreating in confusion. It is only necessary to push those people to get possession of those heights. Of course, I do not know his situation, and I do not want him to engage a superior force, but I do want him to take that hill, if he thinks practicable.” General Lee spoke this quote, and it shows one of the flaws of Lee during the battle.
The biggest flaw can be seen in the phrase “if he thinks practicable.” This gives a choice to Ewell to choose whether he wants to attack Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill. As we know Ewell who was very cautious didn’t take the hills. This gave the Union army to quickly take them. At this time the fate of the Confederacy has been decided. They might of won the battle if Ewell took the order seriously or if Lee was more ambiguous.
I value this book mainly because it shows the horrible picture of war and the destruction to human life it causes. (The most striking scene to me was when Chamberlain remembers piling the dead corpses in the previous battle to protect him from bullets. ) This book lets you realize that if there is war there will be a great cost of lives. This is a fact that every government should realize before they decided to attack other countries.