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CHARGE!
HE LEAPED DOWN
FROM THE BOULDER, STILL
SCREAMING, HIS VOICE
BEGINNING TO CRACK
AND GIVE, AND ALL
AROUND HIM HIS MEN
WERE ROARING ANIMAL
SCREAMS, AND HE SAW
THE WHOLE REGIMENT
RISING AND POURING
OVER THE WALL AND
BEGINNING TO BOUND
DOWN THROUGH THE DARK BUSHES, OVER THE DEAD AND DYING AND WOUNDED, HATS
COMING OFF, HAIR FLYING, MOUTHS MAKING SOUNDS, ONE MAN FIRING AS HE RAN, THE LAST
BULLET, LAST ROUND.

We sometimes think of history as just a bunch of boring dates and facts, and the
people of history as faceless figures shrouded in the fog of the irretrievable past.
We can forget that history was real events enacted by real people. Flesh and
blood, flawed human beings with their own motivations, their own hopes,
dreams, and aspirations sometimes fulfilled, sometimes going horribly wrong,
sometimes wiped out in the blink of an eye. What we think of as a distant
historical time was their day-to-day reality.

Day-to-day reality. For the men in this book, their day-to-day reality was war.
Long days marching through the heat of a Pennsylvania summer, fifes and drums
and rhythmic feet, trees and fields blending into each other. Camp, food, bugle
calls to the sunset . . . and somewhere in that vast countryside another army
moving, probing, searching. And then the inevitable clash, blue and grey facing
each other across open ground, the deafening thud of cannon, the choking
powder smell, screams of rage, screams of pain.

It was real. They lived it.

This book will make it real to you. Michael Shaara was born two generations after
the events he wrote about, but he wrote like he was there. His book follows the
officers of the two armies as they faced each other at Gettysburg, but unlike some
dry textbook he brings them to life:

General James Longstreet, quiet, gruff, with a fierce love of his men
and an even greater devotion to The Old Man, Robert E. Lee. He will
become increasingly desperate as he tries to talk his brilliant
commander out of an uncharacteristic, horrible mistake.


Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, commander of the 20
th
Maine, a soft-
spoken former teacher, a bit of a dreamer, who finds himself at the
extreme left flank of the Union line at a hill called Little Round Top.
His only order: hold the flank at any cost.


General George Pickett, the flamboyant Virginian, who finds his
division last in line as the Confederate army marches towards
Gettysburg. He worries he will miss the battle. He is wrong. Through
no fault of his own, his name will become synonymous with futility
and wasted lives.


John Buford, a cavalry officer who has seen too much bureaucracy
and stupidity in the army. He is first into Gettysburg, and he knows
the value of high ground. But he wonders if his superiors see that
value, or if he is sacrificing his men to hold the ground in vain.


These were real men, and Shaara treats them as real men. This isnt a catalog of
names and events. This book will take you to Gettysburg, and inside the minds
and hearts of the men whose decisions, errors, cowardice, and heroism changed
the future of a nation.