The Last Full Measure: A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy)
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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.
From the Hardcover edition.
wounds did not heal, it could be the last meeting. What had plagued Hancock since Gettysburg, the daily grief of a painful wound, the inability of the doctors to repair once and for all the damaged groin, now became the enemy Hancock could not defeat. The wound had opened up again, so badly that he could not ride, could not be there to direct his troops. Command of the Second was given to Andrew Humphreys, Meade’s chief of staff. Humphreys was an older man, an engineering genius, had led troops
face pale, drawn, weak. Hancock looked at him, straightened, saluted, and Grant saw the clean white shirt, the sharp blue of the dress uniform, smiled, nodded, returned the salute. To one side, Hancock’s aide tried to assist him, and Hancock barked, “I’m fine. I can walk, dammit!” The aide backed away, and Hancock limped forward, moved toward Grant. Grant met him with a hand. “General Hancock, it is always a pleasure.” Hancock took the hand, tried to smile, but the pain filled his face, even
looked now into the dark field, felt his heart exploding in his chest, the excitement of the moment now crushed by a sudden fear, discovery. For a long moment there was no motion, no sound at all, even the breathing of the men had stopped. Suddenly there was a man’s voice, out in front. “What’re you doing over there, Johnny? What’s that noise? Answer quick, or I’ll shoot.” Gordon felt a stab of ice in his gut, looked at the soldier beside him, and the man took a deep breath, said aloud, “Never
that can be provided.” He turned the horse, moved through the depot, rode close to the tracks, looked into each car, all of them, could not ride away from the trains without seeing it all for himself. He did not pause, moved slowly by each one, saw that every one was filled with the tools and the fuel of war. He passed the last car, turned the horse toward the camps of the men. I do not understand this, he thought, there could have been no confusion. He thought of Taylor’s word, treachery, but
forward, drawn to Lincoln’s stare. “General, there was no one else. I heard all the names, people politicking for the favorite general … but when it came down to it, when Congress approved the position, I considered no one else for the job. No one, not one of the men who staked their claim … was as deserving as you. The army gains nothing by blessing its commanders with meaningless titles. The rank of Lieutenant General has meaning. It belongs to only one man, and that man must understand the