David Madden






Random House


The last American epic

Reflections on the Shaara trilogy

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Michl Shaara's The Killer Angels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel which was the basis for Ron Maxwell's film Gettysburg (1993). In conjunction with Random House's release of its commemorative edition of the book, David Madden examines how Michl and Jeff Shaara's trilogy can appropriately be called an American epic. Young Jeff first saw Gettysburg when his father took the family on a visit to the battlefield in 1966. Four years later, Jeff, then eighteen, helped his somewhat frail father as he walked Gettysburg battlefield in the early 1970s, researching a Civil War novel. Out of such little moments, our great literary and cinematic epic depiction of the American Civil War began. We may imagine Homer's father taking him over the battlefield at Troy, actually or orally. A major difference is that both father and son are authors of the epic Civil War literary trilogy...