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The Making of Robert E. Lee

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005

    Creative History

    One star is for a nice cover. I got this book off of the sale rack and now I know why it was there. I majored in history in college and one thing that one had to be careful about when writing papers was finding good, objective sources. This is not one of them. It is just plain slander. Fellman paints Lee as a racist. Lee was not a man without fault, however his prejudeces must be viewed in the context of his time, not ours. Even Lincoln if viewed by today's standards would be considered a racist. Lee could be extreamly kind, but he also had an awful temper. He considered himself somewhat of a failure and he may have been over confident on the third day of Gettysburg. He was a man who felt that slaves were better off in captivity in this country than in Africa but at the same time he would be the only white man who would kneel beside a black man to recieve the Eucharist. He would also go on to grant freedom to his father-in-law's slaves and say that slavery would in the end be more detrimental to the white man. Fellman is clearly not an objective author and to a first time Lee biography reader the image the author would give the poor soul is one of the general wearing a sheet and a pointed hood rather than a military uniform. I have read countless books on Lee, some that portray the man as a saint and others showing his human frailties. A more objective title to check out would be Charles Roland's Refections on Lee: A Historian's Assessment. Dr. Roland provides the reader with a fair treatment of Lee and shows his strengths and his human side. Douglas S. Freeman's 'Lee' is a very favorable look at Lee, but it is highly detailed from a military standpoint. It is clear that Dr. Freeman admired Lee, but the book does not go as far as to put the general up for sainthood. As for Fellman's book, the only reason I'm glad I procured it was that my copy will not fall into the hands of some poor uninformed reader. I have never until now given a title such a low mark, but what Fellman has done is write a book that should be sold next to the other scandal rags one would find at the grocery store check-out line.

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