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The Maine lesson of Gettysburg: real history is never so romantic as reel | Martin Pengelly

2 July 2013 9:55 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

It's tempting to set up Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain as a liberal idol – sadly, the Hollywood version of his battle isn't true

The story goes like this: 150 years ago today, Little Round Top was the key to the Union position at the battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederates had taken the hill, they would have won the battle. If the Confederates had won the battle, they would have won the war.

But the Confederates didn't take the hill, because a professor of languages and rhetoric from Bowdoin College commanded a bunch of Mainers in a heroic defence and, when their ammunition ran out, an even more heroic bayonet charge. Hollywood's version, in Gettysburg – a Ted Turner-funded epic based on The Killer Angels, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Shaara – goes like this:

Would that it were true. Would that the American Civil War was won by a "fighting professor" who looked like Jeff Daniels. »

- Martin Pengelly

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2013 | 2011 | 2010

1 item from 2013


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