What is the author's purpose in writing this book?.
The author wanted to write a book about the actual men in the civil war instead of the war itself. He wanted to write a story that had no bad side, because there wasn't one, there were only men who had dreams, and the will to fight for what they believed in. Shaara wanted to instill some understanding about the men in the civil war in readers, by writing their points of view.
2. Describe the author's background (how do you know this?).
Michael Shaara was the son of Italian immigrants, born in Jersey city, New Jersey in 1928. His last name was originally spelled "Sciarra". Shaara didn't always want to be a writer. He actually realized his dream of being a writer while he was at Rutgers University. He wrote many science-fiction short stories for popular magazines in that day. He later started writing regular fiction stories, and had many published in Playboy, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and The Saturday Evening Post. In the late 50's, a couple of his stories were produced as television shows. I found this information by going online to jeffshaara.com/michaelbio.html.
3. Does the author indicate sources of data? Give examples.
Shaara does not have a bibliography, but he does have quotes at the beginning of the book from letters and interviews. For example, when John Brown was captured by the south, he was interviewed by Mr. Mason. Mr. Mason first asked, "How do you justify your acts?" and John Brown responds, "I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity - I say it without wishing to be offensive- and it would be perfectly right for anyone to interfere with you so far as to free those you willingly and wickedly held in bondage. I do not say this insultingly." Shaara also wrote Robert E. Lee's speech in the after word. Lee requests that he be relieved of command when he says, "No blame can be attached to the army for its failure to accomplish what was projected by me.