Robert E. Lee: A Biography

Robert E. Lee: A Biography

2.0 2
by Emory M. Thomas
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"The best and most balanced of the Lee biographies."—New York Review of Books

The life of Robert E. Lee is a story not of defeat but of triumph—triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering

Overview

"The best and most balanced of the Lee biographies."—New York Review of Books

The life of Robert E. Lee is a story not of defeat but of triumph—triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering figure who commanded the Confederate army in the American Civil War. But late in life Lee confessed that he "was always wanting something."

In this probing and personal biography, Emory Thomas reveals more than the man himself did. Robert E. Lee has been, and continues to be, a symbol and hero in the American story. But in life, Thomas writes, Lee was both more and less than his legend. Here is the man behind the legend.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Thomas, a distinguished historian of the Civil War (The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience), has written a major analytical biography of Robert E. Lee. Synthesizing printed and manuscript sources, he presents Lee as neither the icon of Douglas Southall Freeman nor the flawed figure presented by Thomas Connolly. Lee emerges instead as a man of paradoxes, whose frustrations and tribulations were the basis for his heroism. Lee's work was his play, according to the author, and throughout his life he made the best of his lot. Believing that evil springs from selfishness, he found release in service to his family, his country and, not least, to the men he led. One of history's great captains and most beloved generals, he refused to take himself too seriously. This comic vision of life ultimately shaped an individual who was both more and less than his legend. Highly recommended. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Library Journal
Gen. Robert Edward Lee was a leader who inspired great devotion among the men who followed him, and he continues to inspire great interest to this day. Thomas (The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865, 1979) presents a fresh look at the general. By examining Lee as a person, the biographer renders him intensely human. Lee is shown to be the son of an unstable father, a frustrated husband, and a devoted parent. He encountered many hardships but became great not "because of what he did ...but because of the way he lived." Given the prodigious number of Lee biographies available, this may be an optional purchase, but it is nonetheless a valuable addition to the studies of the general.-Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Gilbert Taylor
homas positions this life of the Marble Man as a corrective to critical appraisals such as Alan Nolan's "Lee Reconsidered" (1991). Both authors must contend with Douglas Southall Freeman's enduring "R. E. Lee" (1934), so what a revealing delight are Thomas' newly mined nuggets that humanize the image of the imperturbable, heroic, saintly, and suffering Lee. Thomas extracts them from Lee's preCivil War career, when he was mastering battlements (as an engineer) before mastering battles. Family life predominates, especially the legacy of Lee's famed father, "Light Horse" Harry Lee, Washington's cavalry chief, who landed in debtors prison. Thomas makes the case that that disgrace impelled the son on a lifelong, if subconscious, quest to repair by personal example the family name; hence Lee's legendary devotion to honor, duty, and courtesy. Perhaps his unspoken embarrassment was compounded by dependence on others for a living (his wealthy wife, the militaries, a college). The war narratives are professionally rendered (Thomas is many times an acclaimed Civil War author), but always in focus is the shy, conflict-avoiding Lee personality, excepting conflicts at the Seven Days and elsewhere, of course. Be Lee traitor or patriot, he is a compelling American figure. This fine work is an obligatory acquisition.
Booknews
Thomas (history, U. of Georgia) recounts the story of Lee's life, revealing a man who, in spite of his many apparent triumphs including clearing his blighted family name, marrying properly, and commanding an army, was "always wanting something." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Virginia Pilot and Ledger
“A gripping, flesh-and-blood portrait.”— Barrett R. Richardson
Civil War News
“Splendid. . . . The most even-tempered and sophisticated portrait that we are likely to see for another thirty years.”— T. Michael Parrish
Barrett R. Richardson - Virginia Pilot and Ledger
“A gripping, flesh-and-blood portrait.”
T. Michael Parrish - Civil War News
“Splendid. . . . The most even-tempered and sophisticated portrait that we are likely to see for another thirty years.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393347326
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
03/18/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
377,523
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Emory M. Thomas is Regent's Professor of History at the University of Georgia and author of a number of books on the Civil War. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Robert E. Lee 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WRITE MORE REVIEWS!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad