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General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend [NOOK Book]

Overview

The man who gave his name to the greatest failed frontal attack in American military history, George E. Pickett is among the most famous Confederate generals of the Civil War. But even today he remains imperfectly understood, a figure shrouded in Lost Cause mythology. In this carefully researched biography, Lesley Gordon moves beyond earlier studies of Pickett. By investigating the central role played by his wife LaSalle in controlling his historical image, Gordon illuminates ...
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General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend

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Overview

The man who gave his name to the greatest failed frontal attack in American military history, George E. Pickett is among the most famous Confederate generals of the Civil War. But even today he remains imperfectly understood, a figure shrouded in Lost Cause mythology. In this carefully researched biography, Lesley Gordon moves beyond earlier studies of Pickett. By investigating the central role played by his wife LaSalle in controlling his historical image, Gordon illuminates Pickett's legend as well as his life.
After exploring Pickett's prewar life as a professional army officer trained at West Point, battle-tested in Mexico, and seasoned on the western frontier, Gordon traces his return to the South in 1861 to fight for the Confederacy. She examines his experiences during the Civil War, including the famed, but failed, charge at the battle of Gettysburg, and charts the decline in his career that followed.
Gordon also looks at Pickett's marriage in 1863 to LaSalle Corbell, like him a child of the Virginia planter elite. Though their life together lasted only twelve years, LaSalle spent her five decades of widowhood writing and speaking about her husband and his military career. Appointing herself Pickett's official biographer, she became a self-proclaimed authority on the war and the Old South. In fact, says Gordon, LaSalle carefully and deliberately created a favorable image of her husband that was at odds with the man she had married.


"Lesley Gordon's study of George E. Pickett explores the reality of the general's life as well as its romanticized version that survived through the generations. . . . Excellent military history informed by recent scholarship in social history, General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend provides a sophisticated analysis of one of the Civil War's most memorable figures."--Journal of Southern History

"Insightful and judicious, sometimes unconventional, and combining a clear narrative thread with a persuasive analysis of available evidence, [this] biography is a convincing assessment of George Pickett's place in Confederate history, an intriguing examination of his--and LaSalle's--character and personality, and a valuable look at the Pickett of legend."--Civil War History

"The novelty of this elegantly written book resides in the degree to which Gordon, rather than relying heavily on LaSalle, complaining about her, or both, as previous researchers have done, carefully sifts through her various accounts and separates fact from fiction--and suggests the truths that reside in fiction."--Journal of American History

The man who gave his name to the greatest failed frontal attack in American military history, George E. Pickett is among the most famous Confederate generals of the Civil War. But even today he remains imperfectly understood, a figure shrouded in Lost Cause mythology. In this carefully researched biography, Lesley Gordon moves beyond earlier studies of Pickett. By investigating how Pickett's wife LaSalle, who outlived her husband by five decades, helped control his historical image, Gordon illuminates Pickett's legend as well as his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History
The novelty of this elegantly written book resides in the degree to which Gordon, rather than relying heavily on LaSalle, complaining about her, or both, as previous researchers have done, carefully sifts through her various accounts and separates fact from fiction—and suggests the truths that reside in fiction.
Journal of Southern History
This fine book demonstrates that military and social history can work together to provide a more complete and finely drawn portrait of the Civil War experience. Lesley Gordon's study of George E. Pickett explores the reality of the general's life as well as its romanticized version that survived through the generations. It is the fascinating story of a mediocre military leader who became, through his wife's efforts, one of the heroes of the Lost Cause.
Civil War History
Insightful and judicious, sometimes unconventional, and combining a clear narrative thread with a persuasive analysis of available evidence, her biography is a convincing assessment of George Pickett's place in Confederate history, an intriguing examination of his—and LaSalle's—character and personality, and a valuable look at the Pickett of legend.
Choice
Gordon ably demonstrates Pickett's accomplishments and failures, and she corrects the numerous misconceptions about his life, many of them created by LaSalle.
Journal of American History
The novelty of this elegantly written book resides in the degree to which Gordon, rather than relying heavily on LaSalle, complaining about her, or both, as previous researchers have done, carefully sifts through her various accounts and separates fact from fiction—and suggests the truths that reside in fiction.
Journal of Southern History
This fine book demonstrates that military and social history can work together to provide a more complete and finely drawn portrait of the Civil War experience. Lesley Gordon's study of George E. Pickett explores the reality of the general's life as well as its romanticized version that survived through the generations. It is the fascinating story of a mediocre military leader who became, through his wife's efforts, one of the heroes of the Lost Cause.
Civil War History
Insightful and judicious, sometimes unconventional, and combining a clear narrative thread with a persuasive analysis of available evidence, her biography is a convincing assessment of George Pickett's place in Confederate history, an intriguing examination of his—and LaSalle's—character and personality, and a valuable look at the Pickett of legend.
Choice
Gordon ably demonstrates Pickett's accomplishments and failures, and she corrects the numerous misconceptions about his life, many of them created by LaSalle.
From the Publisher
A convincing assessment of George Pickett's place in Confederate history, an intriguing examination of his—and LaSalle's—character and personality, and a valuable look at the Pickett of legend. (Civil War History)

The novelty of this elegantly written book resides in the degree to which Gordon, rather than relying heavily on LaSalle, complaining about her, or both, as previous researchers have done, carefully sifts through her various accounts and separates fact from fiction—and suggests the truths that reside in fiction. (Journal of American History)

Gordon ably demonstrates Pickett's accomplishments and failures, and she corrects the numerous misconceptions about his life, many of them created by LaSalle. (Choice)

Demonstrates that military and social history can work together to provide a more complete and finely drawn portrait of the Civil War experience. (Journal of Southern History)

A unique look at one of the most famous Confederate generals, and at how his wife built and controlled his memory after his death. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807866733
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 12/7/1998
  • Series: Civil War America
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Lesley J. Gordon is associate professor of history at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio.
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Table of Contents

Introduction. A Widow, Her Soldier, and Their Story

1. Virginia, Illinois, and West Point, 1825-1846: Perilous Years

2. Mexico, 1846-1848: Streams of Heroes

3. Texas, 1848-1855: The Buoyancy of Youth Is Past

4. Washington Territory, 1855-1858: Farther Than the End of the World

5. San Juan and Southern Secession, 1859-1861: The Most Trying Circumstances

6. Virginia, 1861-1862: War Meant Something More

7. Virginia, 1862: Shaking with the Thunders of the Battle

8. Virginia, 1863: Carpet-Knight Doings on the Field

9. Pennsylvania, 1863: With All This Much to Lose

10. North Carolina, 1863-1864: You Will Hardly Ever Go Back There Again

11. Virginia, 1864-1865: Is That Man Still with This Army?

12. Canada, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., 1865-1889: We Have Suffered Enough

13. Washington, D.C., 1887-1931: I Have Had All and Lost All

Notes

Bibliography

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