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Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee

Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee

3.8 16
by Michael Korda

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New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's fresh, contemporary single volume historical biography of General Robert E. Lee—perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes.

Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant and the bestsellers Ike and Hero, paints a


New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's fresh, contemporary single volume historical biography of General Robert E. Lee—perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes.

Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant and the bestsellers Ike and Hero, paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee as a brilliant general, a devoted family man, and principled gentleman who disliked slavery and disagreed with secession, yet who refused command of the Union Army in 1861 because he could not "draw his sword" against his beloved Virginia.

Well-rounded and realistic, Clouds of Glory analyzes Lee's command during the Civil War and explores his responsibility for the fatal stalemate at Antietam, his defeat at Gettysburg (as well the many troubling controversies still surrounding it) and ultimately, his failed strategy for winning the war. As Korda shows, Lee's dignity, courage, leadership, and modesty made him a hero on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and a revered American icon who is recognized today as the nation's preeminent military leader.

Clouds of Glory features dozens of stunning illustrations, some never before seen, including twelve pages of color, twenty-four pages of black-and-white, and nearly fifty in-text battle maps.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/28/2014
In this exhaustive study, former Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief Korda (Ulysses S. Grant) examines the life of Robert E. Lee from start to finish, illuminating not just the man, but his extended family and the society which produced him. While Korda's treatment verges on hero worship, he explores Lee's qualities and contradictions thoroughly, approaching him first and foremost as a state patriot, loyal to Virginia before any other cause. He further presents Lee as a military genius, a brilliant engineer (Lee re-channeled the Mississippi River near St. Louis), a spiritual descendant of George Washington, an embodiment of Napoleonic tactics, and a living legend in his own time. History has supported most of these claims; Korda backs up the rest with an accessible and authoritative account of Lee's career. Naturally, while Lee's schooling and early service are covered, the bulk of this book is reserved for the events of the Civil War. The size of this tome is intimidating but fitting, given its subject: Lee, the famed American general whose legend still looms long after the end of the Civil War. If not the gold standard for Lee biographies, this is a superbly engaging offering. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A masterful biography of the beloved Civil War general. Former Simon & Schuster editor in chief and acclaimed biographer Korda (Hero: Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, 2010) is well-acquainted with heroes of the ages and has learned to present his subjects as true human beings with foibles, faults and failures. Robert E. Lee's (1807-1870) days at West Point showed him to be a master engineer and master of maneuvers, talents borne out in the Mexican-American War and in the making of St. Louis as an important port on the Mississippi River. Those abilities came into play throughout the Civil War, as he built the defenses for Northern Virginia that protected it when all seemed lost. George Washington was Lee's idol, and during his schooling, he discovered the writings of Napoleon, which he applied throughout his life—especially the use of speed, audacity and élan to defeat an army twice the size of his forces. Lee was a member of one of Virginia's oldest families, and his devotion was to his state, family and country, in that order. He felt that secession was unmerited and that slavery should not be extended but be allowed to dwindle away. Korda's clear descriptions of Lee's battles illuminate his closest subordinates, especially Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet, his curious methods of leading and his incredible patience. The author also points out that, as a gentleman, Lee would never raise his voice in anger, and he avoided confrontation and gave his orders as "if practicable"—unfortunately, that became a way out for those who disagreed with his strategies and "knew better." It was Lee who kept the South going as his barefoot army starved and froze but followed him with unqualified devotion. Lee is a man for the ages, and Korda delivers the goods with this heart-wrenching story of the man and his state. Readers with the stamina for long biographies should follow this book with S. G. Gwynne's biography of Stonewall Jackson, Rebel Yell, to publish in September.< BR>★
Boston Globe
“Lively, approachable, and captivating…Llike Lee himself, everything about Clouds of Glory is on a grand scale.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Korda clearly has command of his subject...[Clouds of Glory] is well-considered and amply documented. Military buffs will find much to feast on.”
Library Journal
Best-selling author Korda offers an excellent companion to his Ulysses S. Grant. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Korda is the former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster and the author of many bestselling books. He served in the Royal Air Force and lives in Dutchess County, New York. His biography of Robert E. Lee is forthcoming in the summer of 2014.

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Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled reading Clouds of Glory. I knew a little about Robert E. Lee from high school, but this book really delivered! I was impressed with the level of detail. I really felt like I came away from this book knowing the ins and outs of Lee&rsquo;s successes, struggles, failures, and priorities. What an amazing man and what an amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still reading the book. The information that is actually about Robert E. Lee, his life, his family, and career is very informative. But the author's incessant editorial about slavery and what he thought Robert E. Lee should have thought is very distracting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is great.....editorial staff failed. It seems on almost every page I found a grammatical error, which distracts from the book. I hope they correct these with the paperback version. I started to keep track of the errors, but they became too numerous. It's obvious they used spell check, not &quot;human&quot; check that could have caught errors like &quot;there&quot; versus &quot;their.&quot; Also, look at the photos of Lee's daughters....one is mislabeled as one of his sons. Numerous times phrases were repeated in a sentence...pg &quot;It would be difficult to find a more a more.....&quot; What ever happened to professional editing? I also agree with the review below....what historian/writer worth his or her salt uses Wikipedia as reference multiple times?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent account of one of the most respected officers in American history. Commonly, when you read about Lee's feats and campaigns, it's a dry account of the facts. Here, you get to understand the man, his character, his devotion to family and career. If you like to read good history, I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any historian who cited Wikipedia and popular fiction as sources (as this author does) would have flunked out of any class I ever taught or took. Popular and revisionist, and would have benefited from tight editing and proofreading. A lot of dates are wrong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would have given this book four stars but the above subject words were used too much, once within several pages. However the book was very interesting, just needed a good editor. S
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Other vendors screen reviews before posting.  I get tired of having to scroll through garbage to read a legitimate review! But I want to read this book, so I will give it 4 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 1 star rating is Not for the book. There is no point checking this page for reviews when idiots continue to post nonsense remarks like most of the ones here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am related to Robert E. Lee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parents: Kronos and Gaea &bull;&bull; Weapons/Powers: Can control fire, time, and earth. Has a watch that turns into a pitch black sword called DarkFlame. It's made out of Dark Fire, my own invention. Is a Titan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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