Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by Michael Schaara
Reviewed by Richard McGowan
After reading The Killer Angels, I made it
my business to visit the beautiful and moving monument for
Congressional Medal of Honor winners. I had to read the name
"Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain," one of the most accomplished
Americans to have ever lived.
Schaara's The Killer Angels, the Pulitzer
Prize-winning narrative of the Battle at Gettysburg, tells why
Chamberlain is, quite possibly, the single most important soldier
of the Civil War. Along the way, though, we meet many others,
including Robert E. Lee and Lee's "Old Warhorse," James Longstreet;
John Buford, "never to receive recognition for his part in choosing
the ground and holding it, and in so doing saving not only the
battle but perhaps the war," and George Pickett, who said bitterly
of Lee, "That man destroyed my Division."
The Killer Angels, therefore, is not simply
an account of a battlefield. While military strategy and tactics
unfold in the book's pages, the narrative accounts of the generals,
field officers, and soldiers turn Gettysburg into a flesh-and-blood
endeavor involving people.
Schaara's book, meticulously researched and
written, would have a place on the shelf of any American historian
by virtue of its account of military maneuvers. It belongs on the
shelf of any serious reader by virtue of its characterizations of
the principal figures in the Civil War's most famous battle.
Were a person only to learn about Joshua
Lawrence Chamberlain in reading The Killer Angels, that would be,
by itself, reason enough to read this book.
-Richard McGowan is an instructor of Business Ethics at Butler