History was always my favorite subject, back in grade school. All of the other subjects in school were tolerable to me of course, except mathematics. My brain and numbers just never really got along with each other. But history, well…lets just say I really loved to read about all of the things that happened so long ago. It may be my early experiences in history class, that gave me the insatiable appetite for fiction that plagues me to this very day. I remember being in class in the third grade, I would always finish my assignment quickly. Then forge on ahead, reading chapter after chapter of the fascinating stories in the school history book. Because of this, I was always way ahead of the curve on the history tests.
In my later years, I would gravitate towards the more fantastic fare of comic books and eventually genre fiction, but I have always remembered where I come from. I always suspected that I still had that love of history buried somewhere deep in my mind, but until recently it had remained buried. That is until I found myself at a family gathering, discussing American civil war history with my uncle Allen. Because I have been to Gettysburg on a guided tour, and have stood upon little round top (those of you who have been there or know your civil war history, will know what that is) I brought up the subject of the battle of Gettysburg. My uncle I was to find, knew far more that I did, and referred me to a historical novel called “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara.
Now for me, there are three different kinds of books. There are those that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t go back and finish them. They just don’t click with my mind or something, perhaps they just bore me into disinterest. Then there are those books that while entertaining, are still easy to put down and pick back up again to read at my leisure. And then, there are those wonderful books that just take me away from where I am, and transport me to other places, times, and worlds. It is these books that I live to read, they are almost impossible to put down. I often would find myself staying up way to late, when caught up in one of these wonderful pieces of writing. I Fall behind in my chores, make excuses, sneak off to the bathroom on the pretext of a tummy ache and an impending nasty movement, just to be alone with my beloved. Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels is one of those books that I live to read. This novel is so well written, that I often forget that I’m reading a book. One minute I’m sitting on the couch at ten minutes after midnight, and the next I find myself right in the middle of four of the bloodiest days in American history. The descriptions of battle took my breath away, and how Shaara puts dialogue into the meticulously researched historical facts really brought the history of the American civil war alive. His story telling ability is first class all the way. I learned more about the civil war and the battle at Gettysburg from this story, than I did from all the history books I have ever read in school. Using the actual historical personal writings of the very men who fought and died for what they believed in during the war, Shaara recreates the battle at Gettysburg so well, you would think he was there watching this tragic moment in American history unfold in person. This very well may be the best civil war novel ever written, it is the best I have ever read. Give it a look and you wont be disappointed.