• Gods and Generals

  • A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy)
  • By: Jeff Shaara
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 22 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (578 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling prequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels.   

In this brilliantly written epic novel, Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great military leaders from the first gathering clouds of the Civil War. Here is Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a hopelessly by-the-book military instructor and devout Christian who becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War; Winfield Scott Hancock, a captain of quartermasters who quickly establishes himself as one of the finest leaders of the Union army; Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career and goes on to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history; and Robert E. Lee, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass. Profound in its insights into the minds and hearts of those who fought in the war, Gods and Generals creates a vivid portrait of the soldiers, the battlefields, and the tumultuous times that forever shaped the nation. 

©2000 Jeff Shaara (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Powerful.... Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"Compelling...a work of vivid drama and skill." (The Dallas Morning News)

"[Jeff] Shaara’s beautifully sensitive novel delves deeply in the empathetic realm of psycho-history, where enemies do not exist - just mortal men forced to make crucial decisions and survive on the same battlefield." (San Francisco Chronicle)

What listeners say about Gods and Generals

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Like father like son

Jeff is just as good as his father was. A great prequel to Gettysburg. Narrator is also excellent. A must-have for fans of Civil War novels.

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OOOOOHHHH, YEEEAAAAHHHH!

What a fantastic book. I'd put it right up there with good old Shelby.
The narrator was excellent. He "voiced" everyone true to character, was emotive, and a pleasure to listen, too.
Well researched. I learned so much from this book, especially about the early years of the Civil War which happen to be my weakest areas.
I will definitely be continuing on with this series. Check out his 2 books on the Revolutionary war......Amazing.

8 people found this helpful

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Another great audiobook by Jeff Shaara.

excellent book. it is very well written and well narrated. worth listening to again and again.

4 people found this helpful

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Absolutely wonderful!

Absolutely wonderful! I learned so much about the Civil War that I had forgotten or never knew, how it came about and why. It’s like a time machine, taking you back to those days. And the narrator is superb, bringing to life the dialogue of the characters with endless types of voices and accents.

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Fun to listen to but a bit problematic

This book can be entertaining but pushes the "lost cause" narrative. It ages like milk in that it downplays slavery. If one did not have a solid foundation of Civil War knowledge, it would be easy think that slavery played a relatively minor role in the war after reading this book. It has a dangerously nostalgic view on the Confederate leaders such as Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. This book would be extremely controversial if written today. If you understand that this is in fact a work of fiction, it is entertaining. The suspense and description of the battles kept me interested. However, do not hold it up as a reliable historical source.

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it makes you think

Even those of us who have studied the war in some depth tend to view it as a sterile thing. States seceded, men joined up, armies moved. There may be a few human interest stories in the mix but its cold. One part of this book that really moved me was a unit in California with men from various states as they came to terms with where their loyalties lay and longtime friends became enemies in an instant. Another important thought was how men reacted to rumors, outdated information and outright lies; things that we have not yet overcome in our information age. The actions of the armies make more sense when you realize an actual frail human is making the decisions in real time based on incomplete information.

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More than just the history..

Jeff reveals insights and opinions into what the great General may have been thinking and reflection upon during crucial moments in their lives - both militarily and personally. I found very entertaining with a lot of back-story (and sometimes a bit confusing) regarding military missions, personal politics and attack positions.

Would definitely recommend!

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Magnificent

This book blends history and masterful story telling. The book is magnificent, in analog or audio format.
Mark Bramhall is an excellent narrator.

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Very good book

I enjoy the humanity given to historical figures. I’ve listened to Shelby Foote’s Civill War anthology and like the detail of strategy. But this gives a different, enjoyable perspective. You get a sense of the men who fought on both sides.

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Preachy

It’s understandable that a lot of these guys were religious but Jesus Christ they shove it down your throat. Other than that a fantastic story to bridge the events of the book prior.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kenneth smith
  • 02-03-22

brave people

Great account of American civil war up to gettysburg,gripping story and true weldone by the narrator .

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Profile Image for Rui Ribeiro
  • Rui Ribeiro
  • 12-28-21

Riveting

This is an excellent book, a riveting account of the events immediately preceding the start of the US civil war, envolving the chosen union and confederacy generals. Although a work of fiction, it is based in the events that actually occurred and the mix of fiction and fact is done in a masterfull way, resulting in a vivid, compelling, spellbinding listen.
The narration is top notch, too.

HIghly recommended.