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At a trotter’s pace of 500 words a day, Shelby Foote took two decades and three volumes to complete his narrative masterpiece on the Civil War. Jeff Shaara needed only a few years to finish his fictional trilogy on the Great Conflict, but he wasn’t writing for the ages, and besides, he had a head start: The first book, The Killer Angels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of Gettysburg, was penned by his late father Michael. In 1996’s best-selling Gods and Generals, Shaara presented the prequel to that epic battle and proved he could weave a tale almost as well as his old man. In the final installment, The Last Full Measure, he follows those same protaganists—Lee, Chamberlain, Longstreet, et al.—to the end of the war and after. Shaara’s work may not reach the level of literature, but these popular page-turners show that readers will always embrace a well-told tale of the Civil War. Shaara reads from and signs copies of The Last Full Measure at 7 p.m. at Borders, 1201 S. Hayes St., Arlington. Free. (703) 418-0166. (Eddie Dean)