“The Last Full Measure” is the third book in the Shaara Civil War trilogy. This one was written by Jeff Shaara, as was the first book in the series, “Gods and Generals.” The middle book, “The Killer Angels,” was a Pulitzer Prize winning classic written by Jeff’s father, Michael Shaara. Sadly, Michael passed before he could finish the series, so Jeff picked up the ball, or the pen, or the keyboard, wrote “Gods and Generals” as the first book (chronologically) in the series and closed with “The Last Full Measure.”
Some might not consider “The Last Full Measure” a “Western,” but I do. So many of the stories we read that are classic Westerns are about men who went through the Civil War. Learning more about those experiences only enrichens our reading experience as we move west of the Mississippi. It’s worth noting that Jeff Shaara was so fascinated with the Civil War that he wrote a Western theatre series. It started out as a trilogy, as all the others he and his father wrote are, but he became so fascinated with what happened out west, he wound up writing four books: “A Blaze of Glory,” “A Chain of Thunder,” “The Smoke at Dawn” and “The Fateful Lightning.”
As for “The Last Full Measure,” it is an excellent book. Shaara writes historical fiction and is brilliant at blending historical accuracy (in settings and people) with the fictional characters he brings to life. When reading “The Last Full Measure,” or any Shaara book, you get a great story and a history lesson. This one takes place post-Gettysburg and highlights one of my favorites from the Civil War – Joshua Chamberlain, a college professor who may have been the turning point in the Union winning at Gettysburg.
Terrific story, brilliantly written.