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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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The Lee vs. Longstreet theme links nearly all the other Themes together and is best illustrated by this table:

Lee Longstreet

World View

Idealist, Realist


Bold Offensives, Defensive Trench Warfare

What wins battles?

Passion, Numbers, and Strategy

Physical Health

Ailing Heart, Exhausted Large man


Gentleman; Pragmatist

Views of God

Obey His will, There’s no response


Reprimand; Court-Marshal

Similar Characters

Legendary Health

Physical Size

Very short in the legs

Stuart, Armistead Buford,



Feel God’s will is not reliable

Why fight?

Defend family State’s Rights

The Communication theme

Inability to communicate leads to conflict on national, military, and personal levels.

National level:

"It came to him [Longstreet] in the night sometimes with a sudden appalling shock that the boys he was fighting were boys he had grown up with. The war had come as a nightmare in which you chose your nightmare side. Once chosen, you put your head down and went on to win."

Military level:

Buford continues to bash the military status quo in the Civil War (which also applies to Vietnam) concerning the suffocating chain of command. He is frustrated because even though he sees Meade’s plans will fail, he cannot help but instead is ironically forced to help carry out the immanent failure he foresees. (p.40) Compare this to Longstreet’s frustrations with Lee’s plan for Pickett’s charge on page 300.

Personal level:

"Longstreet felt a surge of emotion. He wanted to reach out and touch the old man [Lee], but that was impossible. You could not show affection here, no place for it here." (p.288)

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara


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