Intelligentsia Essay

This essay has a total of 756 words and 4 pages.


intelligentsia





The Killer Angels
Fabulous insight into the military mind, the minds of men, the minds of people dedicated
to a cause greater than themselves. Michael Shaara gives us a dozen characters worth
caring about from both armies, and then plunges them into one of the most terrible things
in America's history the "Battle of Gettysburg"

The book is a great depiction on the American Civil War. The book is repulsing, the
massive slaughter of "Americans by Americans" over human slavery. There was also a highly
accurate portrayal of the action, and the command challenges at Gettysburg. "This is the
story of the battle of Gettysburg, told from the viewpoints of Robert E. Lee and James
Longstreet and some of the other men who fought there. … I have not consciously
changed any fact."[pg.xiii]

Historical and military authors often find it tempting to display their research and
learning ability by filling each paragraph with mindless babble. Michael Shaara tells the
story with vivid emotions. He makes the reader feel like they were there in the camps,
under the artillery, behind the stone wall, marched, bled, and prayed that Lee would not
order the charge. Michael Shaara takes you there, as soldiers saw the war and army life.
He showed the true sorrow and terror. "Yet you learn to love it. Isn't that amazing? Long
marches and no rest., up very early in the morning, and asleep late in the rain, and
there's a marvelous excitement to it, a joy to wake in the morning, and feel the army all
around you and see the campfires in the morning and smell the coffee…"[pg.125]
Leadership in those days, was all about character, and conducting your self as a
gentlemen. Shaara wrote of Gen. Armistead, "He was one of the men who would hold ground
if it could be held; he would die for a word. He was a man to depend on, and there was
this truth about war to taught you the men you could depend on."[pg.67]

Other aspects of war are not so clear, such as the reason for the conflict, and the
motivation of the men who volunteered to fight. Shaara does a masterful job of bringing
the complex and unresolvable issues to the reader through the thoughts, and arguments of
the characters. The conversation on causes and conscience between a Union Colonel and his
master Sargent is the best scene in the book, and helps explain the title. [pg.188-9]
There's no better summary of their relationship than when the proud and practical Sergeant
says, "Colonel, you're a lovely man." He shook his head. "I see at last a great difference
between us, and yet I admire ye, lad. You're an idealist, praise be." [pg.188] It takes
both kinds of men to make a great army.

The Killer Angels offers many insights into the minds of the men who were there. They had
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