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POINT OF VIEW
Shaara used a third-person omniscient point of view in the present tense for the forward. He wrote the rest of the book in past tense, but used present tense for this section because it gives a sense of imminent action.
"Omniscient" means that the narrator knows all, so even though a chapter might be told from Longstreet or Chamberlainís point of view, the reader is still told about events that Longstreet or Chamberlain do not know about.
The narrator clearly has knowledge of the future: "Lee had been down that Spring with the first assault of the heart disease which will eventually kill him." (p.xvi)
The rest of the book is different than the foreword in that it is written in the past tense and is clearly from a participantís subjective perspective (the Chamberlain chapter is from Chamberlainís perspective, etc).
Shaara manipulates the point of view and the reader should be aware of the difference between what is being told vs. whatís really true. Subjective accounts (such as chapters from a single characterís perspective) are not objective reports of reality. For example, Lee occasionally observes that which does not exist because he is ill. Another example is found when the characters die: their delusions are reported as real but the reader must discern them from what is in fact reality.