Readers of the bestselling novel, “The Killer Angels,” or viewers of Ted Turner’s movie “Gettysburg” and PBS’s “The Civil War” have become familiar with Chamberlain and Alexander, two men who made their mark on history. This dual biography of the two officers-one Union and one Confederate-describes a number of Civil War battles, from Bull Run to Appomattox. The climax of each man’s career, just as in the war itself, however, came at Gettysburg, where Chamberlain held Little Round Top and Alexander, commanding Lee’s artillery, desperately tried to pave the way for Pickett’s charge.Fast-paced, full of the feel and texture of battle, this book is also very much a personal story of the two men. Maine’s Chamberlain was a 19th-century archetype: a romantic fighting the first of the world’s modern wars while straining to interpret the carnage through the idiom of the knightly joust. Alexander, of the Georgia planter class, viewed war with a clear, cold eye, casting a long glance forward to our own more technical century. Their lives subsequent to the war are emblematic of the American society that emerged from the cathartic conflict between North and South.The original hardcover was published without illustrations or maps. These have been added for the new paperback edition.
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