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In the Pulitzer prize–winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. In the bestselling Gods and Generals, Shaara’s son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father’s vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.
As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians in Washington and the generals in the field yawns ever wider. Never has the cumbersome Union Army so desperately needed a decisive, hard-nosed leader. It is at this critical moment that Lincoln places Ulysses S. Grant in command—and turns the tide of war.
For Robert E. Lee, Gettysburg was an unspeakable disaster—compounded by the shattering loss of the fiery Stonewall Jackson two months before. Lee knows better than anyone that the South cannot survive a war of attrition. But with the total devotion of his generals—Longstreet, Hill, Stuart—and his unswerving faith in God, Lee is determined to fight to the bitter end.
Here too is Joshua Chamberlain, the college professor who emerged as the Union hero of Gettysburg—and who will rise to become one of the greatest figures of the Civil War.
Battle by staggering battle, Shaara dramatizes the escalating confrontation between Lee and Grant—complicated, heroic, deeply troubled men. From the costly Battle of the Wilderness to the agonizing siege of Petersburg to Lee’s epoch-making surrender at Appomattox, Shaara portrays the riveting conclusion of the Civil War through the minds and hearts of the individuals who gave their last full measure.
Full of human passion and the spellbinding truth of history, The Last Full Measure is the fitting capstone to a magnificent literary trilogy.
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Author Jeff Shaara rounds out the Civil War trilogy started by his late father Michael Shaara, whose book The Killer Angels describes the Battle of Gettysburg. Just as Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals covers action prior to Gettysburg, The Last Full Measure picks up with Confederate General Robert E. Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania and continues through the end of the war. Shaara focuses on the characters of Lee and Union commander Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, both of whom play prominent roles in the earlier books. He also introduces a new one: Ulysses S. Grant, the Union general who would finally defeat the South--something no soldier before him could manage. The Last Full Measure is often exciting and poignant, and fans of The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals won't be disappointed. --John MillerFrom the Publisher:
THE LAST FULL MEASURE is a very different book from GODS AND GENERALS and THE KILLER ANGELS. Like GODS AND GENERALS, the book does take place over a span of years, taking up with Lee's retreat from Gettysburg in July, 1863, to the end of the war almost two years later. But unlike the first two books in the father-and-son Civil War trilogy, most of the connections between the North and South have been torn asunder. Stonewall Jackson is dead. Lewis Armistead is dead. Longstreet is wounded. Hancock is wounded. Chamberlain is wounded. And the biggest change is that the Confederacy now begins to lose the war. They may be able to fight battles to a draw, or even to win them, but they no longer advance, they no longer can invade the North to threated Washington. Every battle is a costly one--they cannot replace their soldier as the more populous North can. They are ill-equipped, ill-fed, ill-clad. But they are well led.
Then that advantage disappears, with the appointment of Ulysses Grant as Lieutenant General of the U.S. Army. Unlike Meade, he doesn't retreat after a battle--he pushed forward. He doesn't fight to win Richmond, he goes after Lee. He is called a butcher, but he is a pragmatist. The only way to win the war is to press his advantage--he can replace his men, he can feed them, and he can clothe and supply them. After chasing Lee's army across the Virginia countryside, then bottling Lee up in the Seige of Petersburg, Grant knows it is only a matter of time.
The toughest job I had as an editor was to make sure the connections--whatever remained--between the North and South were prominent. I had Jeff write in a Hancock chapter during the battle of the Wilderness. Hancock is such a large part of G&G and KA that he had to make an appearance in LFM. His farewell to Grant, when he must leave the army due to his injuries is a very good little scene. I also had Jeff add more about Grant when Longstreet discusses him with Lee. Longstreet was the best man at Grant's wedding, and they served together in the 1850s. One moment is when Longstreet muses about the Army productions of Shakespeare--performed by all men--and laughs at the thought of Grant as Desdemona or Ophelia because he was the only one small enough to fit into the dresses!
THE LAST FULL MEASURE is a much sadder book, of course. The South is broken, and Lee simply cannot make a fight by the end. However, it is the remarkable Chamberlain who begins the healing process, reconnecting the North with the South by order his men to present arms when the Army of Northern Virginia marches by to stack their muskets and furl their battle flags for the last time.
Doug Grad, Editor
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