The first and best historical fiction book I have ever read, and an excellent look into the challenges of leadership, The Killer Angels reads like a novel. But author Michael Shaara combines historical accuracy with a captivating story-telling ability to make this a hard-to-put-down read about the battle of Gettysburg, and for me, a great read about leadership.
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The book follows 13 famous and lesser-known leaders of the Civil War from both sides of the battle. Shaara explores their thoughts, motivations, and decision-making processes as they struggle to make life and death choices in the chaos of the battlefield. He combines their inward reflections with plenty of action in a way that makes the book at once both a thoughtful study on leadership and a great story.
Of all the figures portrayed, the most compelling for me is that of Joshua Chamberlain, who took a sabbatical from his professorship of rhetoric at Bowdoin College in Maine to lead a regiment in the Army. At Gettysburg he faces several seemingly impossible challenges, yet somehow finds solutions that accomplish his mission while preserving his men. He is one of my personal heroes, and after reading this, I think you will see why.
The Killer Angels is a must-read for anyone seeking to learn more about decision-making under pressure. A great book for new leaders. Check it out!
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