An Excellent Civil War Novel
July 28, 2012
I just finished reading Cain at Gettysburg by Ralph Peters, and I really enjoyed it. Peters has taken the most famous Civil War novel, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, followed the same general storyline based on fact, and developed different participants not focused on in Shaara's book or Gettysburg (the movie based on it).
The first-person style is used throughout and describes the raw and brutal effects of combat on the junior enlisted personnel, all the way up to the General Officers. Certain actual engagements that Shaara focused on (for example, Joshua Chamberlin and the 20th Maine at Little Round Top), Peters just mentions in passing. With others, such as Pickett's Charge, Peters does an excellent job describing the vital role the Union Artillery played. He also describes the personal dilemmas each of the Commanding Generals, Lee and Meade, went through. This is an excellent book that compliments The Killer Angels very well in helping the reader truly get a feel of what it was like to be at the biggest battle of the Civil War.