Historical Context

The American Civil War pitted the United States federal government, under President Abraham Lincoln, against a group of initially seven...

(The entire section is 950 words.)

Literary Style

Recurring Metaphor
The title of the book points to a metaphor that recurs in the book. Before the first battle, Buford...

(The entire section is 577 words.)

Literary Techniques

Shaara's mastery of the short story may have contributed to the unusual format he used in The Killer Angels. He divided the novel into...

(The entire section is 117 words.)

Social Concerns

As Shaara presents it in The Killer Angels, the ultimate social disruption of civil war encompasses a broad spectrum of moral issues,...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

Adams, Phoebe, Review of The Killer Angels, in Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 234, No. 4, October 1974,...

(The entire section is 296 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Coddington, Edwin B. The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. New York: Scribner’s, 1968. A thorough, insightful, and judicious account of the battle.

Connelly, Thomas Lawrence. The Marble Man: Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977. Psychohistory intended to counter the hagiography attached to Lee’s memory.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. R. E. Lee: A Biography. 4 vols. New York: Scribner’s, 1934-1935. The classic biography of Lee, supplemented but not replaced by works such as Connelly’s.

Luvas, Jay, and Harold W. Nelson,...

(The entire section is 186 words.)

Compare and Contrast

  • 1860s: Advances in weaponry lead to high casualty rates during the American Civil War. Muskets are deadly at ranges...

(The entire section is 380 words.)

Topics for Further Study

Watch the movie Gettysburg and make a class presentation, using video clips, in which you discuss to what extent the main characters...

(The entire section is 288 words.)

Literary Precedents

Readers often compare Shaara's fiction to Hemingway's; the similarity lies more in a curious combination of outwardly raw physical courage...

(The entire section is 233 words.)

Related Titles

Jeff M. Shaara, Michael's son, has written the prequel to The Killer Angels, entitled Gods and Generals (1996). Jeff Shaara...

(The entire section is 108 words.)


During his life, Shaara had worked intermittently at a screenplay version of The Killer Angels, but he never completed it. Although in...

(The entire section is 233 words.)

Media Adaptations

The Killer Angels was adapted by Turner Pictures and aired as the television miniseries Gettysburg, in 1993.


(The entire section is 33 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

The Last Full Measure: A Novel (1998), by Jeff Shaara, takes up the story of what happened after the Battle of Gettysburg. Shaara, who...

(The entire section is 278 words.)