Books That Inspire 2002


 
The Killer Angels
Michael Shaara


I first read Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels when I was an ROTC cadet at OU. The novel is historical fiction based on the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought in July of 1863. The sections of the book dealing with Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, commander of the Twentieth Maine Infantry Regiment, have been an inspiration for me. I have read those sections many times and Shaara's portrait of Chamberlain is as inspiring to me today as it was the first time I read it more than twenty-five years ago. It also led me to do further research on Chamberlain, whom I consider to be an excellent example of the American citizen soldier. He has been my role model throughout my own military career. As a college professor before the war, he answered his country's call and served with distinction throughout the Civil War. For his leadership and personal courage defending Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Chamberlain's military service and his civilian career after the war can best be summarized using the U.S. Army values taught in basic training today: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
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John R Lovett
Interim Curator
Western History Collections