Today, April 12, marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War with the firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. April 15, Friday, marks the 146 anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Earlier this week I commended to you Jay Winik’s April 1865, an important work of non-fiction on the assassination and the tumultuous period that followed.
Hundreds of volumes have been written on the Civil War. On this anniversary I suggest to you three writings of fiction that I believe will give the reader the most vivid portrait of this monumental period in American History. If you choose to read them all, I would suggest the following order. Jeff Shaara’s Gods & Generals, Michael Shaara’s Killer Angels ( The battle at Gettysburg) and then Jeff Shaara’s The Last Full Measure. Jeff Shaara is the son of Michael Shaara.
These three historical novels describe the Civil War from the viewpoint of those who fought in and directed the great battles. You will be present at the siege of Richmond, at Pickett’s Charge and on Little Round Top with the 20th Maine at Gettysburg and at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse .
The knowledge of the Civil War that you will gain from these three works of historical fiction is priceless!