A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Winner of the 1996 American Library Association William Young Boyd Award
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS
"Shaara relies on the history behind the men and their campaigns to tell the tale...The salvaging of [these] episodes from history is ultimately a patriotic task, deserving of gratitude."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
"Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift. Thank Gods and Generals that it was passed from father to son."
"Lively, fast-paced...A worthy companion to The Killer Angels. Shaara brilliantly charts the war, the exploits of the combatants and their motivations. He also concisely shows how the early parts of the campaign unfolded. His accounts of the battles of Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville are exciting... Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like."
"Shaara's beautifully sensitive novel delves deeply into the empathetic realm of psycho-history, where enemies do not exist — just mortal men forced to make crucial decisions and survive on the same battlefield... [He] succeeds with his historical novel through fully realized characters who were forced to decide their loyalties amid the horrors of their divided nation."
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Jeff Shaara has succeeded brilliantly. Gods and Generals is every ounce as fine a work as his father's was."
DETROIT FREE PRESS
"Compelling...A work of vivid drama and skill...The strength of this work is its personalization of the struggle. The action both draws in the reader and illustrates the gravity of each situation... There is also a certain poetry to Mr. Shaara's introspections and narrative."
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
"Verges on the miraculous...Against all odds Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals succeeds in leading you back to The Killer Angels."
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
GODS AND GENERALS
by Jeff Shaara, 1996
The story follows four main characters from 1858 to the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg. Robert E Lee is a frustrated cavalry officer in Texas, watching his 30-year career in the U.S. Army stagnate into an unfulfilling conclusion to a life that has kept him far from his home, and the growth of his family. Thomas J. Jackson is an ill-equipped professor at the Virginia Military Institute who suffers enormous personal tragedy, and yearns for the exciting life he had known briefly as a soldier in the Mexican War. Winfield Scott Hancock is a one-man quartermaster in the small village of Los Angeles, California, also yearning for life closer to the "action," and like Lee, finds himself frustrated by a career that seems to be too far removed from the attention of his superiors. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is a rising young star in the academic world of Bowdoin College in Maine, who realizes that his career is pleasing everyone but him.
As the extraordinary events of 1861 unfold, and the country collapses into the horror of a Civil War, each man must face his family, his personal duty and his own sense of responsibility to his country. The path these four men take, Lee and Jackson choosing to fight for the South, Hancock and Chamberlain fighting for the Union, reflect the paths taken by an entire generation of Americans.
Through the first two years of the war, each man learns not only about war, but about his own place in history. At Fredericksburg in December, 1862, the four men take to the same horrible field, discovering first hand what the Civil War has become, and what their own role will be. At Chancellorsville, in May, 1863, the story comes to a brutal climax as Jackson, now called "Stonewall," is killed, and with his death both sides understand that the tide of the war is turned.