I grew up just an hour from the beautiful countryside that is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. As a child and young adult I had visited the battlefield there on numerous school trips and family outings. But it wasn't until I read Killer Angels that those familiar landmarks (Little and Big Round Top, Devils Den, etc), came to represent the human cost of one of the bloodiest battles in American History.
Killer Angels gives us the key players, the Confederate and Union Officers, that made the crucial decisions and/or had to carry them out. The story provides the reader with a sense of the professional and personal motivations behind their decisions and the interpersonal relationships that existed not just between officers in the same army, but relationships that had existed between officers on the opposing side.
Michael Shaara manages to provide a vivid account of the Battle of Gettysburg that never takes sides. He simply unfolds the three days and leaves his readers to witness the carnage that results. This is an extremely well written book which makes it a pleasure to read. The difficulty comes in managing the fact that this "story" is based on real events resulting in unimaginable human loss and devastation.
An excellent book...