• The Last Full Measure

  • A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy)
  • By: Jeff Shaara
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 26 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (254 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time, an enduring best seller that has sold more than two million copies. In the best-selling Gods and Generals, Shaara's son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father's vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.

As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians in Washington and the generals in the field yawns ever wider. Never has the cumbersome Union Army so desperately needed a decisive, hard-nosed leader. It is at this critical moment that Lincoln places Ulysses S. Grant in command - and turns the tide of war.

For Robert E. Lee, Gettysburg was an unspeakable disaster - compounded by the shattering loss of the fiery Stonewall Jackson two months before. Lee knows better than anyone that the South cannot survive a war of attrition. But with the total devotion of his generals - Longstreet, Hill, Stuart - and his unswerving faith in God, Lee is determined to fight to the bitter end. 

Here too is Joshua Chamberlain, the college professor who emerged as the Union hero of Gettysburg - and who will rise to become one of the greatest figures of the Civil War.

Battle by staggering battle, Shaara dramatizes the escalating confrontation between Lee and Grant - complicated, heroic, deeply troubled men. From the costly Battle of the Wilderness to the agonizing siege of Petersburg to Lee's epoch-making surrender at Appomattox, Shaara portrays the riveting conclusion of the Civil War through the minds and hearts of the individuals who gave their last full measure.

Full of human passion and the spellbinding truth of history, The Last Full Measure is the fitting capstone to a magnificent literary trilogy.

©2020 Jeff Shaara (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Riveting.... Vivid.... Brilliantly depicted.... The last full measure is more than another historical novel. It is rooted in history, but its strength is the element of humanity flowing through its characters.... The book is compelling, easy to read, well researched and written, and thought-provoking.... In short, it is everything that a reader could ask for." (Chicago Tribune)

"A worthy companion to its two predecessors.... These characters come alive as complex, heroic, and flawed men.... You are with [Robert E.] Lee, a deeply religious man, as he first begins to wonder if the Confederate cause will prevail.... You ride with [Ulysses S.] Grant to see the mounds of Union dead at Cold Harbor, and you share his sickening realization that thousands are dead because of his miscalculation.... You are at [Joshua] Chamberlain's bedside as he fights to recover from nearly mortal wounds.... Each book is masterful in its own way and taken together, they are unmatched in the body of Civil War literature." (The Baltimore Sun

"An ambitious work.... [Shaara] writes with considerable sensitivity and skill, setting vivid scenes and adding drama and suspense to a familiar tale." (The Seattle Times)

What listeners say about The Last Full Measure

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Lee misses Jackson, Grant smokes cigars.

He had turned on the computer, thought about the review, wondered "Would it matter?" The computer buzzed with activity, the webpage loaded. He started typing, thought "what should I say?" Should he write a scathing review? No, it will do no good he thought. He had no use for sarcasm, didn't think most would understand. The fact that all of Jeff Shaara's novels are basically the same weighed on his mind. The same verbiage, thoughts, feelings, just different characters in different time periods. How dumb does he think the reader is? He shook his head, would not think on that. Jeff had better thank his father everyday for this format. He'll keep cashing those checks he thought. On a side note take a shot every time you hear the word "thought" in a Jeff Shaara book.

8 people found this helpful

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Ummmm

I've read on wikipedia that Shaara has been criticized for having "Lost Cause" sensibilities. After reading Killer Angels my opinion was that this criticism was unwarranted. Was Lost Cause stuff there? Sure. In the mouths of the Confederate characters it was there, but if they were truly deluded in that way, why not reveal it in the characterizations? It adds to the tragedy of the whole thing, imo. But then I listened to The Last Full Measure and I get it now. The General Lee fanboying in this novel is nauseating. Plus, it's boring. Another person titled their review, "Lee misses Jackson, Grant smokes cigars," and that pretty much sums it up. I like Bramhall, but not enough to recommend this audiobook. I'd skip this one if I were you. (Edit: I see now, but didn't realize, that this and Killer Angels were written by different people. Maybe that's why this one is offensive. Don't know. I think Killer Angels is pretty solid.)

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A fine ending to a great series.

Jeff is almost as good as his father was. Covering several battles is no easy task, but, he does it well. Narration is excellent. A great idea at dialogue, or at least, what they might've sounded like back then. 10/10.

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Better if it lost some Lost Cause

a tad of the lost cause sneaks its way in, but overall a great read!

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From Gettysburg to the end.

This book was a good book goes from after the battle of Gettysburg to the surrender at Apamatix . The battles that ensue to the death of General Grant after he leaves the White House. Very detailed & the decisions made by those in command makes you think what were they thinking?!

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Remember: This is a work of historical fiction.

I want to start by saying, I did enjoy this book. Shaara, like his father, does a great job of capturing the chaos and harrowing nature of war. It is a very entertaining and exciting book. However, if someone doesn't do their due diligence and takes some time to read a nonfiction source or even watch a documentary like Ken Burns's Civil War, one may have a romanticized view or Confederates and we'll documented white supremacists such as Robert E. Lee. Men like Lee and other Confederate "founding fathers" are too often associated with the "Lost Cause" take on the Confederacy. This book arguably promotes that flawed narrative that there were many other reasons for secessionism besides the fear that the election of Lincoln would bring the end of Southern chattel slavery. In summary, the book was fun to read but don't rely on it heavily for it's historical value. In more ways than one, it ages like milk.

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SURPERB CONCLUSION - AMERICAN CIVIL WAR SERIES!

Mr. Shaara's research and writing NEVER disappoints, and this is no exception! President Lincoln, and Generals Grant, Lee, Chamberlain, Longstreet, Et. Al., are wonderfully showcased. Great narration, too - A masterpiece I will read and listen to time and again! GRADE: A+

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almost as good as the others

i love history and have really enjoyed the last 2 books betweed him and his father but it didn't grasp my attention like the others. i enjoyed the last two enough that i rented the movies that were of course not as good because they condensed the stories. with that said i still enjoyed this book to an extent. there were moments where i could really imagine what it was like. id say give it a shot and form your own opinion

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Harlequin history for the lost cause folks

I love Mark Bramhall and sometimes pick books because of his narration. This however was a poor choice. The bones of the book are true, but the flesh and blood of it are tainted with the lost cause point of view. Listening to this book makes me wonder how on earth the North could have possibly won the war as incompetent as Shaara paints Grant and his generals, and how brilliant he depicts Lee. He states Grant is not complicated, and not brave which is a complete fabrication. God of course is on the side of the south, on the side of slavery, which is not the cause of the war, but the now oft used false front of state's rights. Shaara often gives the Northerners black eyes? Why? He insinuates they are without culture and refinement, unlike of course the South. He also insinuates Grant is a racist which couldn't be further from the truth. Shaara also attempts to belittle Grant with cross dressing anecdotes. He blames reconstruction for the hatred and division that continue to this day. How can allowing Blacks to vote and participate in government be seen as divisive? Unless of course you are racist. The murderous rampages by whites against Blacks that occurred during reconstruction are breath taking in their frequency, violence and numbers murdered with rare instances of punishment delivered to the perpetrators, usually the KKK. One of his last insults to Grant is that he couldn't write well. I believe his memoirs are hailed as the greatest literary accomplishment of any US president in both style and substance. Grant is also lauded of one of the greatest generals in history. If you want an enjoyable honest read about Grant pick up Chernow's biography, you won't be disappointed.

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great story!

I normally do not write reviews but this book was fantastic, the story of the civil War brought to life.

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Profile Image for Richard Wiltshire
  • Richard Wiltshire
  • 05-07-21

A decent final end to the trilogy

Great on the details for the battles and overall, although not perfect by any means, if you liked the previous books and have an interest in the closing two years of the civil war you'll likely appreciate this.