The Killer Angels - James Falconi History 150 4/23/13 The...

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James Falconi History 150 4/23/13 The Killer Angels As I dove into Michael Shaara’s classic The Killer Angels, I was immediately drawn to the quality and style of writing. I had grown up a huge civil war fan, even getting to visit Gettysburg myself, so the novel really touched home for me. One thing Killer Angels did that I believe all good historical fictions do to teach history is to personify historical figures. History textbooks do a good job of iterating facts, events, outcomes, but fall short of painting the full picture. The fiction in these novels connects the dots between textbook facts. For example, Shaara shed’s light on General Ewell’s hesitation to take cemetery ridge during the first day of conflict. Through General Lee’s perspective, Shaara writes, “A man loses part of himself, an arm, a leg, and though he has been a fine soldier he is never quite the same again;” (144). This shows that General
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Unformatted text preview:Ewells caution could have been attributed to the recent loss of his limb, something I am sure most textbooks leave out. Despite the advantages historical fiction has with connecting the dots, there are also problems that arise from doing this. The major problem is that while connecting fact to fact, the line between what is fiction and what is not is often blurred. For example, Colonel Chamberlain's dramatic speech to convince the mutinous 2 nd Maine may be taken by some as fact, when in reality it is fiction used to fill in the gap from fact to fact (29). In relation to Shaara's own time, I believe his novel shows that both sides were equally recognized. I think this because Shaara switches narration back and forth chapter to chapter from Union soldiers to confederate soldiers. He does this while maintaining a protagonist light to each of his main characters, and takes no bias towards either side.