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As far as Civil War fiction goes Mike Shaara's The Killer Angels is an above-average historical novel. As a former para I especially enjoyed the Buford chapters, where the Union cavalry officer arrives at Gettysburg before everyone else and "gets" what great ground - because as a recon trooper ground is something he does - Seminary and Cemetery Ridges are for defending.

Unfortunately for the rest of us his kid Jeff decided to pick up where dad left off. He's a an absolutely awful writer (in purely literary terms) and he doesn't know soldiers from bus conductors. I tried his "sequel" to the original book and didn't make it through the second chapter. Stay away.

Speaking of the man himself, Murphy's autobiography To Hell and Back is pretty good, as is his contemporary Bill Mauldin's The Brass Ring is outstanding. Perhaps the best of the WW2 memoirs is George MacDonald Fraser's Quartered Safe Out Here, which was written before he was badly bitten by Old Man's Disease and ended up yelling at clouds.

Another terrific soldier memoir is Tony Herbert's Soldier, which is probably long out of print.

Charles Sperling

May I make a correction? While you're right about how long Stephen Crane lived, you're wrong about the date of his death. It was 1900, not 1899.

1899 was the year Frank Norris published *McTeague,* which I've read twice and heard four times as an L.A. Theatre Works production (a variety of actors from Ed Asner to Michael York read the whole book: Stacy Keach is McTeague and Carol Kane is Trina)...and which leaves me feeling that while Norris might have become America's Emile Zola, he wasn't up to it there, no matter what Stephen King might say or Erich von Stroheim might have said.

What's your take on Norris?

Radio's "Escape" series adapted Crane's "Open Boat". Here's a link for you: › watch

War is kind, Sperlings may be cruel.


So, like Bunker Hill, San Juan Hill is unfairly famous while Kettle languishes like Breed's does?

Debunkers unite!

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