Magazine article Army

Cain at Gettysburg

Magazine article Army

Cain at Gettysburg

Article excerpt

Cain at Gettysburg. Ralph Peters. Tor Forge. 432 pages; $25.99. Publisher website: http://us.macmillan.com.

During the American Civil War, Union and Confederate soldiers would talk about seeing "the elephant." The elephant was their term for being under enemy fire, a euphemism for the overwhelming experience and emotion of combat.

In his new novel, Cain at Gettysburg, award-winning author Ralph Peters offers a vivid story of Civil War combat. From the individual viewpoint of the lowest-ranking soldiers to the perspective of the opposing generals, war is seen for what it is: dirty, exhausting, chaotic, brutal and a race against time. Peters' emotionally powerful descriptions capture the feel of the battle and throw the reader into the center of this no-holds-barred war.

The spirit of the Battle of Gettysburg is here, awaiting the reader's discovery of what it was like to be a soldier in this unforgiving fight. Why did these men fight, kill and die? How do men act in such hellish and stressful situations when minie balls and cannonballs are tearing through the ranks of friends and brothers? Spend some time with the fictional character SGT Tom (Quaker) Blake, as well as historical figures such as Confederate GEN James Longstreet, Union artillery general Henry Hunt and Union commanding general George Meade.

Peters sets the scene in the mud, rain and blood for the moment when Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee makes the decision to go all in and end the war in one final, decisive attack. …

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