THE KILLER ANGELS
by Michael Shaara, 1974
The Killer Angels details the events around four days in late June and early July, 1863, the story follows four men as they march into the field for what will become the bloodiest three days in American history. Robert E. Lee leads the Confederate troops on an invasion of Pennsylvania, believing it is the only way the South can still force Washington to accept peace, and a Southern victory. By his side, James “Pete” Longstreet does not share Lee’s optimism, and understands that this great fight could be the South’s Waterloo.
On the Northern side, Cavalry General John Buford is the man on the spot, and heroically holds Lee’s army back while the rest of the Union troops move into position on the valuable and crucial high ground of Cemetery Ridge. Leading a regiment to the far end of the line, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is told he must hold the flank, that his small command is the key to the entire Union position. Ordering his men to dig in, waiting for the inevitable assault from Longstreet’s troops, the former college professor realizes that this is his destiny, commanding soldiers on a hill known as Little Round Top.
Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels is the basis for the motion picture “Gettysburg.”