About the book


Chapter One


About Jeff Shaara

An interview
with Jeff Shaara





by Jeff Shaara

Sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-Winning The Killer Angels
$25.95 | 576 pp. | ISBN 0-345-40491-2
$14.00 | 576 pp. | ISBN 0-42548-0
The Third Volume in the Bestselling Father-Son Trilogy

A Book-of-the-Month Club Alternate Selection
A Quality Paperback Book Club Alternate Selection
A Random House Audio Selection

The moving story of the tragic trail from the carnage of Gettysburg to the emotional drama of Lee's surrender at Appomattox, The Last Full Measure concludes the masterwork begun more than two decades ago by Michael Shaara, Jeff's father, in his classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels (1974). The basis for the movie Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, a #1 New York Times betseller, went on to sell more than two million copies in paperback and spend thirteen weeks on the Times list. In 1996, Michael Shaara's vision was enhanced by Jeff Shaara's own New York Times bestselling novel tracing the road to that fateful battle, Gods and Generals.

The story of the war concludes in The Last Full Measure. Battle by staggering battle, Jeff Shaara dramatizes the escalating confrontation between Lee and Grant--complicated, heroic, and deeply troubled men. In the final two years of the war, the stunned Army of Northern Virginia, forced into retreat after its loss at Gettysburg, once again defends its own soil as Grant leads the Union armies ever farther into the South. THE LAST FULL MEASURE resonates with the bloody Battle of the Wilderness, after which rivers ran red for days with the blood of the wounded and dead; the destruction of the Stonewall Brigade at Spotsylvania; the Union Army disaster at Cold Harbor; and the agonizing siege of Petersburg which led to the unmitigated slaughter known as the Battle of the Crater. The drama ends in April 1865 when Robert E. Lee accepts Ulysses S. Grant's terms of surrender at Appomattox, where college professor-turned-soldier General Joshua Chamberlain, receiving the stacked arms of the ragged Confederate army, gallantly orders his men to salute their returning countrymen.

Praise for the New York Times bestselling Gods and Generals:

"Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift. Thank Gods and Generals that it was passed from father to son."
--Atlanta Journal & Constitution

"Powerful....A worthy companion to The Killer Angels....Shaara brilliantly charts the war, the exploits of the combatants and their motivations. He also concisely shows how the early parts of the campaign unfolded. His accounts of the battles of Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville are exciting....Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"Shaara's beautifully sensitive novel delves deeply into the empathetic realm of psycho-history, where enemies do not exist--just mortal men forced to make crucial decisions and survive on the same battlefield....[He] succeeds with his historical novel through fully realized characters who were forced to decide their loyalties amid the horrors of their divided nation."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"The battle of Gettysburg featured a cast of characters dramatically and poignantly portrayed in Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels. This new novel by his son, Jeff Shaara, describes the interconnected paths that brought these men together at this crossroads of our history. Readers of The Killer Angels won't want to miss Gods and Generals."
--James McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

"It is the job of the historian to tell us what happened, to provide the dates and places and numbers, all the necessary ingredients of textbooks," Jeff Shaara writes. "It is the job of the storyteller to bring out the thoughts, the words, the souls of these fascinating characters, to tell us why they should be remembered and respected." Jeff Shaara, a consummate storyteller, vividly portrays in his beautifully written, compelling narrative the sweep of events from Lee's retreat after Gettysburg to the quiet tread of tired feet beginning the long road home at the end of this most tragic of wars. But The Last Full Measure is more than a tale of war and battles.

"The stories of the people who shaped our history are part of who we are today," Shaara points out. "It's easy to think of them as mere names in a history book, as though their lives are ancient history. But we are not that far removed from these events, and the characters on both sides were just people. There was honor and dignity and passion, and an honest sense of fighting for something they believed in, on both sides. The more we understand that, the easier it is, as Lincoln said, to bind the wounds."

Shaara's great gift, and his stirring accomplishment, is bringing to life these far-distant events and making us understand today why we honor those men who "gave the last full measure of their devotion," in Lincoln's words, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."