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Gods and Generals

von Jeff Shaara

Reihen: Civil War trilogy (1)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
2,733313,995 (3.88)84
The New York Times bestselling prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels   In this brilliantly written epic novel, Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the 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 who becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War; Winfield Scott Hancock, a captain of quartermasters who quickly establishes himself as one of the finest leaders of the Union army; Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career and goes on to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history; and Robert E. Lee, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass. Profound in its insights into the minds and hearts of those who fought in the war, Gods and Generals creates a vivid portrait of the soldiers, the battlefields, and the tumultuous times that forever shaped the nation.… (mehr)
  1. 00
    Long Remember von MacKinlay Kantor (DinadansFriend)
    DinadansFriend: Another Civil war novelist whose Gettysburg novel I found good.
  2. 00
    The Last Full Measure von Jeff Shaara (stretch)
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In 1974 [a:Michael Shaara|16892|Michael Shaara|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1447009089p2/16892.jpg] wrote [b:The Killer Angels|682804|The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2)|Michael Shaara|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1355371689l/682804._SX50_.jpg|1044737], a story of The Battle of Gettysburg. Shaara won the Pulitzer for that book. Here is a bit from my review on that book:

This is the story of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg. It doesn't matter how much you know about that war, or how many books you have read on the subject. This book will more than likely change how and what you think of when the Civil War is brought up. Michael Shaara tells this story in such a captivating way, it will all be fresh and new . Although you know how it ends, you will wish, as some of these men did, that it could have been different.

Fast forward 2000, [a:Jeff Shaara|14655|Jeff Shaara|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1277931532p2/14655.jpg], Michael's son publishes a prequel, [b:Gods and Generals|29925|Gods and Generals (The Civil War Trilogy, #1)|Jeff Shaara|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1330062676l/29925._SY75_.jpg|30342]. This book begins 3 years before the outbreak of The Civil War. Using the same format his father used, the story is told through the eyes of four men-Robert Edward Lee, Winfield Scott Hancock, Thomas J (Stonewall) Jackson and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. The first 119 pages introduce you to these men, and the lives they had before the South succeeded. On page 120 men, who were raised in the South, begin resigning their posts and commissions in the Union Army. Explaining "they cannot fight against their homes." At this juncture, the world changes and our country becomes "Hell on Earth."

The book continues through mid 1863, and over this time Shaara opens up a whole new Civil War for me. The incompetence of the men in Washington, the politics so similar to the present day. Longstreet expressed his opinions of the Union Army, in a letter, "The soldier has no respect for the commanders, the commanders have no respect for the Generals. Not a very healthy army." Had someone, anyone, listened to the ranks of men, perhaps the war would have ended after less than a year.

These books are very character driven, you feel the sorrow, the love and despair of these men. You begin to know them as humans, not just characters from the past.

There is a 3rd book in this series[b:The Last Full Measure|29923|The Last Full Measure (The Civil War Trilogy, #3)|Jeff Shaara|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1331939776l/29923._SY75_.jpg|168568], again written by [a:Jeff Shaara|14655|Jeff Shaara|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1277931532p2/14655.jpg]. It covers the final years of the war. No doubt that I will read it. However, my " reading heart" is telling me to re-read The Killer Angels first. As a rule, I do not re-read, so this is very unusual and hard for me to do. I just feel I need to go back and follow the story as it unfolds.

Just a note: Jeff Shaara had never written a book before Gods and Generals. So if you think he just danced by on his fathers coat tails, you are wrong. A quote from the back of the book:

Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift. Thank Gods and Generals that it was passed from father to son -The Atlantic Journal Constitution. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Part 1 in a Civil War trilogy originally started by his father, this engaging, epic book follows four Civil War generals in the years leading up to Gettsyburg.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Aug 2, 2021 |
Gods and Generals is written as a prequel to The Killing Angels, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Michael Shaara. This novel, written by his son, seeks to further the historical retelling of the civil war up to the battle of Gettysburg. Jeff, his son, does a nice job of bringing the war to the reader by concentrating on four main Generals: Robert E. Lee, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, (from the south), and Joshua Chamberlain and Winfred Scott Hancock (from the north). Some points of interest include the relationship that all these men had with each other. They knew each other or of each other from attending West Point and some fought together in The Mexican war which was a land grab that gave us the southwest, and provided valuable battle experience for the men who would later fight the civil war.
Men didn't necessarily chose sides based on their views of slavery, but were more opposed to the right of the central government to impose laws on individual states. For many it was the state's rights they were fighting for. I was interested to learn that Lee was asked to lead the troops for Lincoln, but could not bring himself to first feel loyalty for his home state of Virginia. It was also fascinating to learn of how many
early Union losses were because of bad leadership. Meade constantly asking for more troops when he had Lee on the run. Burnside waiting for the pontoons instead of crossing in the shallow section of the Rappahannock River.Thus giving Lee a chance to man the bank on the other side and win the day in Fredericksburg .
Shaara deciding to describe the battle through the eyes of four men also gives you a good perspective of the opposing ideas and insights into their beliefs, for example how religious both Jackson and Lee were. I would be interested in continuing my education in America's bloodiest battle and will look to go on to read about Gettysburg. ( )
  novelcommentary | Dec 17, 2020 |
Mostly good. The battles are well described, the inner thoughts of the major characters make sense and you feel for everyone involved. I found the pacing a bit slow and the last third definitely lost me a bit and felt repetitive. Weaving in real tactics from the battles was very cool. As I'm reading more historical fiction, I realize I should do more research prior to reading so I have a better fundamental understanding of the goings on. Was surprised the author chose to highlight both sides and not really have a set protagonist antagonist and not mention slavery that much but I suppose the Civil War was about more than that? Not sure, a bit confused about that. I guess history isn't always as clean cut as good vs bad so this probably was a good decision by the author. Following in his father's footsteps is super cool, looking forward to the Killer Angels. ( )
  hskey | Aug 30, 2019 |
Gods and Generals is a work of historical fiction, written as a prequel to The Killer Angels, a book by the author's father. That book has the battle of Gettysburg as its centerpiece, and this book covers the war leading up to the second invasion of the north, building up to Gettysburg.

The story is told through the eyes of confederate officers Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and union officers Hancock and Chamberlain. The book follows the four men from the lead-up to secession through the end of the Battle of Chancellorsville. The reader follows them to Antietam and Fredericksburg and learns about some other battles peripherally.

Most of the story unfolds in the actions, thoughts and dialogues of the four men being followed and this method limits the amount of detail that can be covered without breaking away from the flow and format of the storytelling. Thus, someone with no background on the American Civil War might find themselves overwhelmed or confused at times.

My primary criticism of the book is that it focuses on four officers, three of whom are already well know and their stories well-told. The most interesting tale is probably the story of Joshua Chamberlain, who was not a soldier at the start of the war and must learn his way in the heat of battle. This is the only truly unique perspective in the book.

The other aspect I found frustrating was the abrupt manner in which perspectives changed, often with no overlap - even when it would have been interesting to have some.

For instance, much of General Jackson's early exploits are uncovered not from Jackson's perspective but from Lee's. There are other times when the men are on the same battlefield and instead of exploring the same events from multiple perspectives - something I personally think would have added a rich layer to this book - the author instead hands the baton off between men with one man's story picking up where the other's ends.

This book makes characters out of the four historical figures in a way that supposes to know their innermost thoughts and feelings on various topics. This sort of creative speculation is necessary in this style of book, but can occasionally feel disingenuous.

That all being said, the book covers the men in a compelling way, and after a slow start, moves at a good clip. The books avoids the traps of excessive sensory details and of extraneous broader historical context and narrows in on the visceral experience of the main characters and the men they lead. It makes a drama of the civil war in a manner that feels remarkably free of moral judgement and only gets into technical criticism in situations where it is very believable and where historians generally agree with the criticism being leveled.

I was happy with the reading experience and felt like my knowledge of the civil war was enhanced, albeit in a more personal sense than a technical one. I do plan on reading The Killer Angels next. ( )
1 abstimmen McCarthys | Aug 22, 2018 |
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The New York Times bestselling prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels   In this brilliantly written epic novel, Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the 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 who becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War; Winfield Scott Hancock, a captain of quartermasters who quickly establishes himself as one of the finest leaders of the Union army; Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career and goes on to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history; and Robert E. Lee, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass. Profound in its insights into the minds and hearts of those who fought in the war, Gods and Generals creates a vivid portrait of the soldiers, the battlefields, and the tumultuous times that forever shaped the nation.

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