What Are Some Good Historical Fiction Novels?


Quick Answer

Some good historical novels are "The Confessions of Nat Turner" by William Styron and "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara. These novels are set in the antebellum and Civil War periods of U.S. history, respectively.

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"The Confessions of Nat Turner" is told by the title character, a preacher and slave who directed the only successful slave revolt in the history of Virginia. At the beginning of the novel, Turner is in a jail cell awaiting his execution after being captured. Turner, based on a historical character of the same name, narrates the story of his life in a shifting chronology expressive of his mindset. As young boy, he witnessed the rape of his mother, just one of the many horrors that he describes being inflicted on the slaves. These and other circumstances inspire his revolt. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

"The Killer Angels" depicts the three days in the summer of 1863 that marked a turning point in the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg. The narrative shifts perspectives from Confederate and Union generals to different regiment leaders. One of the most important sections of the novel is told from the perspective of a Maine colonel whose regiment was instrumental to the Union victory by holding the Union positions at Little Round Top on the second day of the battle.

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