Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The Killer Angels
Been slowly reading one of the books I was told to read in College. "The Killer Angels" Well done very well known historical novel. Was assigned reading for my class "The History of U.S. Warfare" or something like that. It is about the battle of Gettysburg. Easy read I am just always slow going with books. Who has interested me in this book is Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. A professor of rhetoric at Bowdoin College, sometimes professor of Natural and Revealed Religion. He was successor to the chair of Professor Stowe, husband of Harriet Beecher. Told the College, who would not release him to go to war, that he needed sabbatical to study in Europe but used it to join the union army as a colonel of the 20th Maine Infantry. If I may I just wanted to share where the name of the book came from. This is Chamberlain day dreaming about his family on his way to Gettysburg...
From the Killer Angels:
Once long ago visitors in the dead of winter: a preacher preaching hell-fire. Scared the fool out of me. And I resented it and Pa said I was right.
When he thought of the old man he could see him suddenly in a field in the spring, trying to move a gray boulder. He always knew instinctively the ones you could move, even though the greater part was buried in the earth, and he expected you to move the rock and not discuss it. A hard and silent man, an honest man, a noble man. Little humor but sometimes the door opened and you saw the warmth within a long way off, a certain sadness, a slow, remote, unfathomable quality as if the man wanted to be closer to the world but did not know how. Once Chamberlain had a speech memorized from Shakespeare and gave it proudly, the old man listening but not looking, and Chamberlain remembered it still: "What a piece of work is man... in action how like an angel!" And the old man, grinning, had scratched his head and then said stiffly, "Well, boy, if he's an angel, he's sure a murderin' angel." And Chamberlain had gone on to school to make an oration on the subject: Man, the Killer Angel. And when the old man heard about it he was very proud, and Chamberlain felt very good remembering it.