Thursday, May 31, 2012

Surprisingly Captivating: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

The Killer AngelsThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Normally, historical fiction about the Civil War is not my bag. Aside from Gone With the Wind, which I suppose technically is historical fiction though I have never thought of it as such until this very second as my fingers fly across the keyboard. (What an odd thought that is to me...)

At any rate, this is Scott Danielson's choice for our next A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast book. I complained about one of Scott's previous selections, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, until about 100 pages in when I began loving it. So I thought I would take that as a lesson and embrace this choice that I would never make when he picked this book.

I was unnerved, however, to see maps when I opened it. Maps with arrows indicating troop movements hither and thither around Gettysburg.

I do not care about maps in books. Even for Lord of the Rings I ignored the maps. I hasten to add that I actually love real maps ... on a wall, in an art book, on a blog. I just do not want to have to make my mental image when reading have to conform to the reality of a map.

Feeling brave despite my unnerving experience I soldiered on. (ha!) I would like everyone to note that my reading of Coraline (for both Good Story and also SFFaudio) was not in vain. Bravery consists in keeping going when one is afraid (or even merely unnerved).

It only took reading the descriptions of the leaders to begin re-embracing the book. I now have read the first chapter and am captivated. Who knew?

I am looking forward to this experience in Gettysburg, which could hardly be more appropriate in terms of such real life experiences as summer vacations. (Not that I'm going on vacation or would head for Gettysburg deliberately if I were ... but it is summer ... and there are such things as theme here ... so this is our summer theme.)


  1. I loved this book. I thought the device of having each chapter focus on one of four or five main characters (representative of both sides) was particularly effective. Some day I hope to convince my wife we NEED to go to Gettysburg...

  2. Gettysburg is cool! The museum and battlefield are great for history buffs, but the town is also fascinating. If you go during the fall, they have haunted tours of the battlefield.

  3. Curses! You would have to tell me about haunted battlefield tours. Now I'm interested, darn you! :-D

  4. The bookstore at Gettysburg has thousands of books. It's the only national park bookstore I've been in that has more books than than we own at home, or that I don't already own at least 50% of the books that I think look good. We could have very easily blown are entire (3 week) vacation budget in there.