The Killer Angels Analysis

740 Words3 Pages
Garrett Reppond
Michael Shaara
The Killer Angels
Ballantine Books, New York July 1975
This paper is a review of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, which is a historically correct novel that has some fictional dialog. A lot of the dialog is fictional, but it is mostly backed with historically correct information and events going on during the time. This story is about the events and discussion of the strategy to be used by the Confederate and Union forces leading up and during the Battle of Gettysburg. This review will discuss two topics raised by Michael Shaara in the novel; the ongoing conflict between which fighting style and strategies should be used by the Confederate army, and the other is the state of mind of the Confederate and Union
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Longstreet and Lee definitely do not see eye to eye on a lot of things when it comes to the war. The biggest thing that the two disagree about is the war strategy. Longstreet sees that the war is changing and he understands that if the Confederacy keeps using the same tactics for war that they will not come out on top at the end of this war. Longstreet is a firm believer in trench warfare and waiting for the enemy to come to him. Longstreet says at one point, when John Buford’s Calvary is on its way to sneak up on the Confederates, “Now all we have to do is swing around between him Washington and get astride some nice thick rocks and make him come to us, and we’ve got him in the open.” (p. 83). That statement shows right away that Longstreet strategizes and wants to take the defensive and counteract the opposing army. Longstreet believes that for the Confederates to have any chance on winning the battle that the Confederate army needs to take a defensive because of the sheer numbers that the Union army has over the Confederate army. Longstreet is not the only one who believes this, Lewis Armistead strongly believed in Longstreet’s defensive tactics. Armistead tells Longstreet, “I’ve been thinking on your theories of defensive war. Technically, by God, you’re probably right. Hell, you’re undoubtedly right.” (p. 64). Finally, Shaara states in the story that…show more content…
Shaara writes this story in a way that gives the reader insight on both the Confederate and Union army. The Confederates were fighting for pride and for their way of life. The South believed heavily in the power of the government in the states. At one point there was an argument between an Englishman and a guy named Sorrel. Sorrel ranted to the Englishman saying “That’s all we want and that’s what this war is about. We established this this country in the first place with strong state government just for that reason, to avoid a central tyranny.” (p. 65). The South looked at the North as a tyrannical government. The North on the other hand looked at the South as trying to tear the country into two. The Union army fought to keep the country together as one, because if the South would win the war it would have split the country into two for good.
In conclusion, there are things that happened in the war that could have changed the outcome greatly. If Lee would have listened to Longstreet there may have been a different outcome to the Battle of Gettysburg, which would have made a huge difference in the outcome of the war. Also, if the North and South would have understood each other’s motive to fight they may have not been a war in the first place. Shaara did a great job bringing raise these points in this
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