Wednesday, February 3, 2010
To start with a short preface to the seemingly extensive unappreciative things I have to say about this work, I would like to start by saying that there were sections that were exemplary, moving, stark, and well-crafted. Shaara's pacing was incredible, and his diction was at times flat and repetitive (very repetitive) at other times when you thought it would be the same old thing, 'He was an honest man, a noble man.' or 'He was an honest man, a simple man.' These phrases were stacked against each other for what seemed at least a hundred times throughout the work to describe several different generals. I just wasn't sure what he was trying to say. There were interspersed throughout the work just out and out and leaps that this author would have been hard pressed to find evidence for, meaningless dialogue, and useless events. I don't know, writing about such a complicated event like the Battle of Gettysburg is a bear of a task that I would not undertake, but then at times I thought this was about the Southern perspective on the battle, because only one Union voice is heard throughout the work. Shaara captures the voices of these men and keeps characters very separate and distinct which is amazing to me. For that I give this author credit, and the introduction to this work written by his son is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I may just copy and paste it here for all to read. But as the work finished I thought that I do not know any more about this event in history if I would have read the wiki-page on it. Unfortunately, I connected with these men in this armed conflict, but I am not sure if they are real, and the ending notes of each person betray his painting of them slightly. I do not regret having read this, but I may have been able to watch a documentary on this battle or read a text book entry and derive the same meaning. I don't want to be harsh to this work, it is worth reading, but it did not strike me as something I might have otherwise persevered through if this project wasn't upon me, and taking that forward am not sure I am better off because of it, which is really quite unfortunate.