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 bestseller, 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.
Concluding the Civil War trilogy that began with his father Michael's Pulitzer-winning The Killer Angels, Shaara (Gods and Generals) chronicles Lee's retreat from Gettysburg and his valiant efforts to defend northern Virginia from Grant's superior, better-supplied forces. Seen alternately through the eyes of Lee, Grant and Maine abolitionist Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the narrative begins with the successful Union ambush at Bristoe Station in October 1863. It then details Lee's 18-month cat-and-mouse game as he outmaneuvers Grant, despite overwhelming odds and terrible deprivation, concludes with Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Impressively researched, this deeply affecting work can't be faulted for inaccuracy or lack of detail. But the occasionally coarse grain of Shaara's characterizations is a problem. Haunted by Stonewall Jackson's ghost, 56-year-old Lee frequently appears to be a semisenile neurotic. Grant, more concerned about his supply of cigars than battle losses, comes across as a dolt. This tendency toward caricature notwithstanding, Shaara has produced a stirring epigraph to his father's remarkable novel. Major ad/promo; first serial to Civil War Times Illustrated; BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour.