The Killer Angels Questions and Answers
by Michael Shaara

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Why did the author write the book The Killer Angels? Why is The Killer Angels important to history?

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Stephen Holliday eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Once in a while, we know why an author writes a book because they tell us why. We know, for example, that William Faulkner wrote one of his most well known short stories, "A Rose for Emily," because he wanted to explore what might happen when a young woman's normal human desire for love and a family are thwarted by an overbearing father figure—Faulkner discussed that in an interview. In many cases, though, a writer doesn't disclose their intention. In literary criticism, the attempt to discover a writer's intention in the absence of a clear statement of intent is known as the "Intentional Fallacy," because we cannot determine with any certainty what the writer's intent is. The best we can do is to look at internal evidence and make an educated guess at intent.

We know that Michael Shaara, who wrote no historical fiction before a family trip to Gettysburg, became, according to his son Jeff Shaara, "obsessed" with the battle after he and his family visited the battlefield. We can infer,...

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