Courage on Little Round Top
The struggle for Little Round Top during the second day of the climactic Battle of Gettysburg has captured readers’ attention ever since Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize winning Killer Angels introduced it to the general public in 1974. Little Round Top was an otherwise unremarkable hill that anchored the Union left flank. It was held by a Union unit that included the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment commanded by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. His brilliant defense against Confederate forces featured a desperate bayonet charge that is the centerpiece of the combat. Eishen’s recreation tells the story through the eyes of soldiers from both the 20th Maine and their principal opponent, the 15th Alabama. Numerous fictional characters narrate the drama as they stand beside historical figures. The author has certainly does his homework. The battle scenes, the historical events of Little Round Top and Gettysburg, and the 19th century vocabulary all ring true. It is a refreshing retelling of a saga that will be enjoyed by battle buffs as well as those who delight in historical fiction.