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Film Overview - Gods and Generals

            Gods and Generals is a movie based on Jeffrey Shaara's book "Gods and Generals," and is the prequel to the movie "Gettysburg." This film chronicles three major battles that took place during the Civil War, but more importantly, it portrayed Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's life and his endeavors throughout the Confederates' battles during the Civil War. The movie begins with a brief glimpse into Jackson's life, pre-Civil War, which portrays a simple, outright Christian, military husband who teaches at the Virginia Military Institute, and ends with a legendary figure dying of a rather simplistic case of pneumonia. The movie also gives honorable mention to other vital military leaders at the time, including Robert E. Lee, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and Winfield Scott Hancock. All of these men, including Chamberlain, who was a Lieutenant Colonel for the North, played important roles in early Confederate victories such as, the Battles of Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. According to Daniel McCarthy, a 2003 graduate student in the classics at Washington University in Saint Louis and now the editor of The American Conservative, "This is as much his [General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson] story as it is the story of the war itself. It is also a story told mostly from the South's point of view" (Gods and Generals). McCarthy seems to hit the nail on the head with this statement. The movie has three underlying themes taking place simultaneously; the first two were mentioned in the previous quote, and the last is blatantly obvious – the slaves and people of color were not portrayed in a fashion as to which most people would have thought they should be in a period piece such as this.
             The film enlightens Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson to such a point where it actually gives the viewer the feeling that he is more legend than merely human, that "Stonewall" is a more than appropriate nickname for him, and his Christian beliefs aided him throughout the entirety of the war.

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