Study Guide

The Killer Angels Warfare

By Michael Shaara

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War: what is it good for? Nothing? Ending slavery? Defeating Hitler?

We don't have the answers—those are up to you. But hey, that is what The Killer Angels is all about.

The Battle of Gettysburg is one of the most important events in American history, and a lot of people have thought a lot about it. Shaara prefers to let his characters explain why they're fighting—he doesn't want to beat us over the head with his own opinions too much, though he does seem to imply that the Union side ultimately fought for the right cause. Additionally, the book gives some insight into the way wars actually work, for example by giving detailed descriptions of tactics and strategy.

Questions About Warfare

  1. Do you think that Longstreet's plan at Gettysburg would have ultimately worked better than Lee's?
  2. When is war necessary? Is it ever? Is the Civil War an example of a necessary war?
  3. Why, in your opinion, was the Civil War fought—based on the reasons given by The Killer Angels and any other reading you may have done?
  4. How did the Battle of Gettysburg change American history? What were its effects?

Chew on This

"The best offense is a good defense." – Proverbial

"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on." – Ulysses S. Grant

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