Lee: A Life of Virtue

Lee: A Life of Virtue

by John Perry

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595554314
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/06/2010
Series: The Generals
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,154,993
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

John Perry graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University, with additional studies at University College, Oxford, England. Before beginning his career as an author in 1997, he was an award-winning advertising copywriter and radio producer. John has published 21 books as an author, collaborator, or ghostwriter. He is the biographer of Sgt. Alvin York, Mary Custis Lee (wife of Robert E. Lee and great granddaughter of Martha Washington), and George Washington Carver. Among other books, he has also written about the 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial (Monkey Business, with Marvin Olasky, B&H Publishing, 2005) and contemporary prison reform (God Behind Bars, Thomas Nelson, 2006). He is a two-time Gold Medallion finalist and Lincoln Prize nominee. He lives in Nashville.

Read an Excerpt


A Life of Virtue
By John Perry

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 John Perry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59555-431-4

Chapter One

An American Citizen

Jeb Stuart's arrival was a pleasant surprise for Colonel Robert E. Lee, U.S. Army. Lee was a man of action, more comfortable riding a frontier reconnaissance patrol than shuffling papers, and the chore of filling out a fire insurance application was one he surely enjoyed having interrupted. Lee had known Lieutenant Stuart since his plebe days at West Point seven years earlier when the colonel was commandant there. Usually neither of them would be in the plantation office of the Lee family home on this damp, chilly October morning. Lee's regular cavalry command was in Texas, and Stuart served in Kansas. The lieutenant was visiting Washington to discuss the patented belt attachment for a cavalry sword that he'd sold to the government. Across the Potomac from the capital, Colonel Lee labored at his desk out of a sense of family duty.

Lee had never owned a house in his life, but he'd had a crash course in household financial management since the death of his father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis. It was not just any house in his care. This was Arlington, one of the most famous plantations in Virginia, built and owned by the foster son of George Washington, and it was filled with elegant furniture and historic artifacts from Mount Vernon. The estate included 1,100 acres of land, fish hatcheries, vast stands of timber, a sawmill, and nearly two hundred slaves. When Mr. Custis died a widower, he left everything to his only surviving child, Mary, who was Colonel Lee's wife. Grand as the place was, it rested on shaky financial underpinnings. Mr. Custis had a taste for the finest in everything but no head for business. The estate accounts hadn't been balanced in nine years. When he died, no one knew how much money he had or how much he owed. Robert had taken leave from his military command for nearly two years to unscramble the books at Arlington in order to preserve its legacy for his wife and their seven children.

As an experienced senior officer with no day-to-day military responsibilities for the moment, Colonel Lee was tapped occasionally for courts-martial and other temporary duty in and around Washington. Lieutenant Stuart might have come to call that dank Monday morning with another routine assignment, but this matter was far more consequential. Reading the note Jeb handed him, the gracious and hospitable colonel didn't even take time to offer his young friend refreshment and a few minutes' conversation. He said a hasty good-bye to his wife and, still in civilian clothes, rode immediately with Stuart back to Washington. He'd been ordered by Secretary of War John Floyd to report to the War Department at once.

The night before, October 16, 1859, the army arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, had been raided and overrun by fanatic followers of a fire-breathing abolitionist named John Brown. Invaders poured into the unguarded facility and quickly disarmed the few soldiers on duty. By the next day, townspeople and the local militia had surrounded Brown and his men, but the abolitionists were barricaded in the firehouse and heavily armed. They'd also taken hostages, including Lewis Washington, the elderly great-grandnephew of the first president. A company of soldiers from nearby Fort Monroe and marines from Washington were ordered to help the local defenders take back the arsenal, rescue the hostages, and capture the raiders. By Secretary Floyd's reckoning, Colonel Lee was the best available officer to lead this combined force.

John Brown, who also called himself Ossawattamie Brown, got his financial support from abolitionists in Kansas and the New England states. Three years earlier in a raid on Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas, his followers hacked five proslavery citizens to death with swords. He claimed the killings were God's will. After further organizing in Canada, Brown arrived in Harpers Ferry to steal its military weapons and ammunition. His grand plan was to lead a slave revolt and set up an independent homeland for liberated blacks in the Appalachian Mountains. The first step was to round up and arm volunteer guerrillas. Harpers Ferry was a logical place to go for weapons because besides housing the federal arsenal, it was home to a long list of gun and ammunition manufacturers.

Lee and Stuart arrived by train at Sandy Hook, a mile from Harpers Ferry, at ten o'clock that night to meet his command and plan a counterassault. To reduce the risk of shooting a hostage, they waited until daylight to send Stuart to the firehouse door with a white flag. The lieutenant carried a note demanding Brown and his men surrender and promising them safe treatment. Lee was afraid that once Brown read the note, he and his mob might try to fight their way out, kill the hostages, or both. Lee told Stuart not to negotiate. As soon as Brown turned down the offer, Stuart was to give a signal and Lee's troops would storm the firehouse with a dozen marines leading the way. Lewis Washington was more concerned about stopping Brown than he was about saving his own skin. "Never mind us," he yelled from inside. "Fire!"

Standing at the open firehouse door, Brown considered the ultimatum and then insisted on making a counterproposal. With that, Stuart waved his hat, Lee's units moved forward, and in less than five minutes the scuffle was over. John Brown was wounded by a sword and captured. Five of Brown's men died, but all thirteen hostages escaped unhurt. Lee sent the survivors under guard to Charleston, the county seat, for trial and filed his report, calling the incident a minor matter. He described Brown and his followers as "rioters" and Brown himself as "a fanatic madman."

Brown was convicted of high treason and murder and sentenced to hang. Northern abolitionists immediately anointed him "Saint John" and "Saint Just," claiming that "John Brown has twice as much right to hang Governor Wise [of Virginia] as Governor Wise has to hang him." The governor feared there might be riots in Harpers Ferry on December 2, the day that Brown was to be executed in Charleston, and he petitioned the federal government for protection. Lee returned to Harpers Ferry commanding more than three thousand marines and state militiamen, determined to keep the peace by a show of force. The rumors turned out to be false, and the armed rabble-rousers never showed. After Brown was hanged at 11:30 that morning, there was really nothing for the soldiers to do. Lee drilled the men in target practice to keep them occupied until they left town on December 12.

Lee finally got the paperwork at Arlington under control and, on February 10, 1860, headed for San Antonio to lead the Department of Texas. It was frankly a boring assignment, even if it was a departmental command. He missed his family, missed his beloved Virginia, and may well have wondered what the future held in store. Robert Edward Lee had been a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army for thirty-one years by then, twenty-three of them as a captain of engineers. At long last he'd been promoted to lieutenant colonel, but the chance for further advancement seemed slim. Three lieutenant colonels and nineteen colonels were ahead of him in line for a general's star. How long could he wait? Perhaps it was time to resign his commission and turn to managing Arlington, taking care of his disabled, arthritic wife, and spending time with the children who grew up while he was away on military assignment for years on end.

The election of Abraham Lincoln later that year put an end to whatever hope Lee had of living the life of a country squire. South Carolina, loudly unhappy for decades with the federal government's position on states' rights, had threatened to secede from the Union if Lincoln was elected. Two Democrats—Vice President John C. Breckinridge and Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois—ran in the national election, along with the Constitutional Union Party candidate, John Bell. In this four-way contest, Lincoln carried the new Republican Party to its first nationwide victory. Four days later South Carolina called for a convention to consider secession, and on December 20 the state declared itself separated from the United States. Texas started rumbling about seceding as well.

On January 23, 1861, Colonel Lee wrote a long letter to his son Custis, musing on the widening rift between North and South:

As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation.... Secession is nothing but revolution.... Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me.... If the Union is dissolved and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense, will draw my sword on no one.

The night before, he had shared the same thought with his dear Markie—Martha Custis Williams, a cousin by marriage and a favorite correspondent: "There is no sacrifice I am not ready to make for the preservation of the Union save that of honour.... I wish for no other flag than the 'Star spangled banner' and no other air than 'Hail Columbia.' I still hope that the wisdom and patriotism of the nation will yet save it."

On February 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union and four days later joined the Confederate States of America, a growing list of disaffected states that claimed a constitutional right to form a new sovereign nation. Texas was the seventh member of the group, which since South Carolina seceded the previous December had already added Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana. The day Texas joined, Virginia, to Lee's relief, voted to stay with the Union. But suddenly, Colonel Lee and the Department of Texas were U.S. soldiers on alien land. On February 19, Lee's superior, General David Emanuel Twiggs, surrendered his command to Confederate representatives in San Antonio and left the state. Twigg's headquarters forwarded an order to Lee to report in person to General in Chief Winfield Scott in Washington. Lee arrived home on March 1, four days before Lincoln was inaugurated, and within days the new president signed Lee's commission as a full colonel.

By then he had already been offered a commission as a general in the Confederate army. Though there is no record of Lee's reply to the Confederates, historian Douglas Southall Freeman suggests, "It is probable that he ignored the offer. He owed allegiance to only two governments, that of Virginia and that of the United States." And allegiance to one would soon mean fighting against the other.

The Lees had been in Virginia since 1641, four generations before the American Revolution. Not only had Colonel Lee's father-in-law grown up in George Washington's household, but Lee's father had fought beside Washington as a hero during the War of Independence. The Lees had been wed head, hand, and heart to Virginia for two centuries and to the United States as long as it had existed. Robert reflected a historic legacy: a career army officer, loyal and brave; a soldier and citizen who placed his duty above everything else. He was descended from generals, governors, crusaders, and royal counselors, born in the same room as two cousins who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Yet now, to uphold the honor of his convictions, Colonel Robert E. Lee would have to surrender his allegiance to the same nation that the Declaration announced and justified to the world. The nation Lee had served and defended all his life.

Chapter Two

Light Horse Legacy

The Lees were originally a Norman family. One of the first notable soldiers in the line was Launcelot de Léga, who invaded England with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His descendant Lionel de Lee rode with Richard the Lionheart on the Third Crusade in 1191. Beginning ten years later, a line of nine Lees served as sheriffs of Shropshire into the seventeenth century. The family likely had an estate in Essex called Strafford Langton or Stratford Langton.

The first Lee in the New World was Richard Lee. Before crossing the Atlantic, he already knew the colonies as well as any Englishman. He served as secretary of the colony of Virginia and a member of the king's Privy Council, which managed the colony's affairs. Within a year after his arrival in 1641 he and his wife, Anne, received a thousand-acre plantation in York County that Lee named Paradise. He brought indentured servants with him, eventually releasing them from their obligations and giving them land. He then returned to England for another group of adventurers. An acquaintance described Richard Lee as "a man of good Stature, comely visage and generous nature." In time his holdings included stores, warehouses, ocean-going trade ships, and agricultural land.

A faithful royalist, Lee kept a low profile after King Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell took the reins of power four years later in 1653. Lee befriended the king's son in exile, offering support in exchange for a new royal commission should Charles II ever ascend the throne. When Cromwell died and the monarchy was restored, Lee became a great favorite at court. He returned to London from the New World almost every year, and brought back indentured servants who became free settlers. By 1659, his tobacco crop alone was worth £2,000 annually, roughly equivalent to $400,000 today. At his death in 1664 he owned 20,000 acres of land, half a dozen homes, and a fortune in ships, crops, and livestock.

He also owned chattel slaves. Tobacco, introduced to England by Virginia traders, had become hugely popular and profitable. It was a very labor-intensive crop, requiring work for which the average indentured servant had neither the stamina nor the inclination. Seeing how West Indian planters had thrived using African slaves, Americans soon followed suit. In 1625 there were twenty-five African slaves in Virginia; by 1671 there were two thousand.

In keeping with the English tradition of primogeniture, Richard Lee left most of his riches to his oldest son, John. When John died a bachelor, the family fortune passed to the second son, Richard, who served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the first deliberative body in America.

Young Richard found his life in danger during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy planter, led a revolt against the colonial governor. Governor William Berkeley refused to escalate a long-simmering conflict with the Indians that had grown into a series of bloody skirmishes with deaths on both sides. Furious at Berkeley's inaction, Bacon gathered a posse and demanded a commission to attack the Indians from the burgesses—including Lee—at gunpoint. The rebellion ended after Bacon died from dysentery a few months later, though by then he had burned the capital at Jamestown, including the governor's house, and held Lee captive for seven weeks.

When Richard died at his Mount Pleasant Plantation in 1714, he left a daughter and five sons, the fifth of which, Henry, was born in 1691. Henry's third and youngest son, also Henry, was born in 1729 and followed his grandfather into the Virginia House of Burgesses. Young Henry's next oldest brother, Thomas, became the first native-born governor of Virginia, and in the 1730s he built an imposing, austere-looking mansion in Westmoreland County that he named Stratford after the ancestral family home in Essex. Of Thomas's children, the eldest, Philip Ludwell Lee, would one day inherit Stratford, and the next two, Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot, would become the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence.

Henry meanwhile settled his family at Leesylvania Plantation where his first son, the third Henry, was born in 1756, one of 173,000 white residents in Virginia that year alongside 120,000 blacks, almost all of them slaves. The growth of the institution of slavery and of the black population concerned the House of Burgesses, which described it in a petition to the king as "a trade of great inhumanity" that should be stopped. But even as they asked George III to permit colonial laws forbidding the slave trade, they admitted that "some of your Majesty's subjects may reap emoluments from this sort of traffic." With ever-increasing acreage devoted to tobacco, indigo, and cotton—all high-labor cash crops—slaves were a huge business. Outside of England, the biggest volume was controlled by Northern traders through their operations in Boston, Massachusetts, and Bristol, Rhode Island. These men had no interest in seeing their healthy profits disappear.


Excerpted from LEE by John Perry Copyright © 2010 by John Perry. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


A Note from the Editor....................ix
Chapter One: An American Citizen....................1
Chapter Two: Light Horse Legacy....................9
Chapter Three: Making of a Gentleman....................21
Chapter Four: Dear Mary....................31
Chapter Five: A Duty Imposed....................43
Chapter Six: Mississippi Mud....................57
Chapter Seven: Building in Brooklyn....................69
Chapter Eight: The Very Best....................77
Chapter Nine: Commandant....................89
Chapter Ten: Doctrines and Miracles....................99
Chapter Eleven: The Destiny of His State....................113
Chapter Twelve: I Must Continue....................129
Chapter Thirteen: A Hard-Pressed Debtor....................141
Chapter Fourteen: Ancient Freedom....................155
Chapter Fifteen: The Smell of Victory....................171
Chapter Sixteen: Our Duty to Live....................191
Chapter Seventeen: An Affectionate Farewell....................205
About the Author....................233

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Lee: A Life of Virtue 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
tantrUm More than 1 year ago
Robert E. Lee was destined for his later role of consistent leadership from a very young age when his respected father, "Light Horse Harry", absolved himself of all responsibility and left his family of six children and and aging wife and headed to the West Indies. Caring for his mother and younger siblings, Robert would later become a prominent military engineer, offered to command President Lincoln's enormous army in attempts to forestall a civil war. He would refuse this request, however, knowing he would not allow himself to fight against a fellow Virginian, where his true devotion lay, Virginia. He was promised a prestigious, comfortable career in the U.S. Army and wholeheartedly gave himself to his cause. He was fully aware the odds weren't in his cause's favour and at the cost of his personal luxuries (safety and family), he eventually assumed the position as the commanding general of the Confederate Army. I'm ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Robert E. Lee before I discovered this book. I guess it's better late than never since this book introduced a gem of American History to me. I finished reading "Lee: A Life of Virtue (The Generals)" in a day and a half because I found his life truly inspiring and virtuous which is rare in today's times. I really enjoyed getting lost in the times of "the Civil War" or "the War between the States" and learning of Mr. Lee's personal relationships with other prominent figures in history. Mr. Lee's strong convictions and unwavering commitment to his family when consistently separated for long periods of time was very inspiring to say the least. I would recommend this book to anyone with a hunger for American History or any interest in biographies. I thought it was a great, light read!
texicanwife on LibraryThing 20 days ago
I have been held captive by tales of the American revolution and the Civil War since I was a child! Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, near the heart of the birthplace of our country, visiting Jamestown, Williamsburg, Richmond, Lexington, Charlottesville, Gettysburg, Antietam, Washington, D.C., and so many other sites, as a child... surely influenced me!Today I am a genealogist by profession, and as such, I am drawn to the histories of great families for my reading pleasure.What a great read this was, following my last biography on Robert E. Lee!Perry covers the "General" as few others did. While skipping over the details of an illustrious military career, yet still bringing mention, and to give the reader a verifiable timeline to establish a time frame, Perry gives one a glimpse into the life, emotions, loves, and faith of this great American icon.One is given insight to the thoughts and worries that plagued this great man who was torn between love of country, love of state, and love of family.I cannot recommend this read enough, and give it my thumbs up award.***Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.
HarmoniousGlow More than 1 year ago
Summary: Biographer John Perry writes about the virtue of General Robert E. Lee, who fought during the Civil War for the Confederates. While Lee gets a bad rap as a traitor to the Union, Perry lays out Lee's life in a way that makes Lee look like the most godly man (aside from Christ) who ever lived. Starting with Lee's childhood and building up to Lee's peaceful death, Perry explores what made the general so legendary. Review: I'm not a huge fan of biographies, and this biography is your typical biography. While it has a nice flow to it, it reads like your typical autobiography. It's well written, but the battles and names within the book are sometimes hard to follow. I enjoyed the book because I am related to Lee, and I am intrigued by the principles Lee lived by. If you, too, are intrigued by Lee's life, or if you just plain like reading biographies, then Perry's book is worth the read.
MorePreciousThanGold More than 1 year ago
John Perry gives a good overview of General Robert E. Lee's life in this well written book. He starts with a young Robert and gives quite a lot of background and history that leads up to the man we have heard so much about from the Civil War. As he follows his life through his professional career and time in the military, he also documents Lee's family and his personal spiritual growth. It was these portions of the book that really spoke of who Lee was as a man, and caused me to appreciate and respect him for his character. He was a loving and devoted husband and father, though sadly absent for much of the time due to his military career. In some chapters of the book I expected to be bogged down in the descriptions concerning battles and war related events, but I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy those chapters and found them well written and interesting. I enjoyed reading about Robert E. Lee, his faith, family, and political thoughts and beliefs. I learned some new and interesting facts about this great general, and completely enjoyed the journey through this book. The author has produced an excellent easy to read, easy to love biography. Disclosure: I received this book free as part of the BookSneeze review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Shady_Ager More than 1 year ago
I found this book interesting; I feel the author showed us both sides of Robert E. Lee's life, his sense of honour and duty he felt for his fellow men. And on the other side of the coin, the love he had for his wife and children. The book also showed Lee's faults and short comings so the book is fairly even. It does make one wonder how different things may have been if some of Lee's Generals had carried out Lee's orders as they should have. Orders were often ignored and Lee's missed out on tactical advantages. The details of how Lee got the best from his is astounding, at times he could have left his men and stayed with many families and eaten a proper meal and kept warm, but Lee decided to tough it out with his men and stayed with them even through winter. He praised his men and made sure that they were as comfortable as they could be at the time. As a husband and father Lee always kept in touch with his family via mail, Lee also lost out a lot when it came to family life, even missing the birth of some of his children. Lee's men often went into battle under armed has weapons were scarce, and yet his men followed him without hesitation even when they were without shoes. I enjoyed the book, and thought that it was well written. If you want to know about the history of Lee then read this book as it really is well written and laid out well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ann21AN More than 1 year ago
The Generals - Lee - A Life of Virtue. I just finished a book About General Lee, written by John Perry. It was well written & i found it to be very informational. I have a hard time getting through History books, so it took me quite a bit longer to get this one read. Although, John did a wonderful job. This book goes into good detail about General Lee's life. From the time he was born and history about his family. Down to when he got married and how many children he had. It was interesting to find that even though General Lee fought for the southern states in the Civil war, he did not support slavery. His family also owned slaves, but when they came into his ownership, he let them free. It was also interesting to find that when General Lee's father left, he took care of his mother. & later on in life took care of his ill wife. The book also shows Lee's side of being a true Countryman. He fought only for his country because of his dedication. & he fought for what he considered important Constitutional Freedoms. It would be a good book for a history Buff. As a person who isn't into reading alot of history, i still thought it was a well written book. It would be a great gift for any history buff in the family.
MikeG More than 1 year ago
As book two in the series The Generals, author John Perry follows the lead set forth in book one by evaluating history from a slightly revisionist, though undoubtedly accurate, perspective. In Lee: A Life of Virtue, Perry has written a clear, concise biography of General Robert E. Lee. Adored or despised by nearly everyone, Perry does a commendable job of attempting to lay to rest many of the negative perceptions of Lee, or of at least putting them in new context. As to his purpose, he writes, "The aim here is not to shape Lee's historical image, but to clear away the misleading encrustations of the past, the assumptions and misinformation, to reveal the man behind that image." I'll leave it to the reader to judge whether Perry accomplishes his purpose which seems to be an unstated purpose of the series as well. However, a question that kept surfacing in my mind as I read both this volume and volume one was, "Why haven't other historians discussed the virtue and character of these generals as opposed to focus on their flaws?" Apparently, Perry's primary sources were biographies written and published contemporaneously with Lee. As such, they include many first-person eyewitness accounts. This might explain how Perry and the other authors in the series are arriving at such different conclusions about these generals than many mainstream historians. If one has an interest in General Lee Civil War era history, I would recommend Lee: A Life of Virtue.
FredKnapp More than 1 year ago
We have reached a point in history where we can avoid the two extremes that have plagued our view of our leaders. We no longer have to imagine that our generals (or other leaders) were demigods. That being said, we also have evolved past the point where we have to dissect every aspect of their lives to make them into devils. We live in a time where we can honestly evaluate such men for what they were. Such is the case for Robert E. Lee. For so long, the generals of the Civil War have been characterized by either idol worship or slander. No man has suffered the fate of General Lee. Some have looked at Lee as an enemy of his own country. Others viewed him as a Savior. This book by John Perry sets the record straight. As a Northerner currently living in the South, my feelings were always mixed on this man. This book however, gives a very even handed evaluation of who General Lee actually was. What is most interesting is the kind of life General Lee led after the war. I won't give away the details of the book to you, but General Lee was a servant of his country before, during, and after the war. Regardless of your feelings about the war between the states, we could all learn some lessons from "Lee:A Life of Virtue" by John Perry. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
beththebookreader More than 1 year ago
I have been receiving review copies of books from Thomas Nelson left and right lately. I love reading things that I wouldn't necessarily pick of the shelf, because I am usually pleasantly surprised. Robert E. Lee is one of the most well-known characters in American History. His name is synonymous with the "War Between the States" and any scholar of American History has learned of this man. After several visits to Arlington and the Lee home over the past few years, I have become more interested in Robert E. Lee, the legendary Civil War hero. Author John Perry does a great job of not only detailing Lee's military history but his personal story, his family life, and the faith that took him through so many rough patches. Before reading this book, I had only textbook knowledge of who Robert E. Lee was as a man. Perry paints a very different picture of a general who valued loyalty above all else and the constitutional freedoms afforded to all Americans. After reading this book, I am looking forward to learning more about this God-fearing man whose devotion to country, family and freedom rivals very few. Lee, A Life of Virtue takes an intimate look at one of the most famous Generals in U.S. history.
RamblingMother More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this open look at Robert E. Lee. It is def. not what history has made him out to be. I enjoyed reading the letters or snippets of letters back to his wife and family that mention his deep faith. I enjoyed reading the snippets of his life that showed his love for children. I was pulled into his sorrow over the breaking up of the Union. I gained a greater understanding of his association with Virginia rather than his association as an American, which is why he felt compelled to resign his commission from the US Army. I would recommend this book for its entertainment and historical accounts.
NCgramof2 More than 1 year ago
Seeing as how I am from the North, I would be more partial to Grant. But since, I am now living in the South, I decided to give the South a try and review this book. I was surprised at what all I learned from this book! Perry did this biography in a way that doesn't bore you to tears, nor does it drag on and on, like many biographies do. General Lee really was brought to life through Perry's research and writing. I was highly intrigued by all the things he wrote about and brought into perspective. This is a book that I will gladly share with my husband, whom loves General Lee, as well as anyone else who may want an in depth look at the life of a famous General. ~A Copy of this book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers. ~I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary review books to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review.~
ministerdoc More than 1 year ago
The Generals Lee-A Life of Virtues By John Perry A Great Civil War Hero, Leader, One Of The Greatest Generals Of All Time. I Have Always Loved History,But I Must Confess I Truly Didn't Have A Clear Picture of Robert E. Lee Until I Read This Wonderful In Depth Look At One Of The Most Historical Figures In American History.John Perry Gives A Very Insightful Look Into A Man That History Books Through The Years Have Painted From Everything To Pro-Slavery To Being A Devoted Christian. This Is A Must Read And A Great Add To Your Library . Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
gafarmwoman More than 1 year ago
Growing up and living in the South, I was interested in reading this book about General Robert E. Lee. I hate to admit I just didn't know much about the man Robert E. Lee. Just memories of history lessons long ago of the General Lee. A line from the book's introduction page reads "Who he was and what he stood for are still controversial because the scars of the Civil War remain tender six generations after the last shot was fired." As a Georgian I can say that is so true! After reading the book I learned Robert E. Lee was often misunderstood throughout history. The author does a good job of clearing some of the facts up. Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Virginia and died on October 12, 1870 in Virgina. His family's roots were deeply planted in Virginia long before a United States was even a thought. He was a Virginian first and an American second. He spend his youth caring for his sick mother and getting an education. He was a top graduate of West Point. It was important to Robert E. Lee to protect Virginia's right to make its own laws and set its own policies as guartanteed by the Constitution. This was a deciding factor for him choosing to join the Confederacy. General Robert E. Lee will always be remembered as one of the shrewdest and distinguished Generals of all time. Lee: A Life Of Virtue by John Perry was an interesting book to read and learn more about the man Robert E. Lee and the great General he became. I think middle school age to adult will find it useful for history and interesting to read. Disclosure : I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
rmattos More than 1 year ago
For some, a traitor. For others, a hero. For me, an american dedicated above all to his state Virginia. A son, a husband and a father worried with his family. Through seventeen chapters John Perry describes the character of Robert Lee with details, showing his earlier years, the building of his responsible character after he saw his own father leaving the family. That is what triggered the making of a gentleman. He meets Mary, that would be his wife. After graduating second on his class from West Point, he worked in many different projects as an engineer officer and starting moving up in the military's rank. He volunteered in his first battle task at the Mexican War, when he was considered to be the best soldier in the front by General Scott. When time came that North and South were disputing over many questions, including slavery, he was under great conflict, but his loyalty for his state prevailed. We was invited to command the Confederate's Army during american Civil War and was one of the most successful ones. His example of conduct is the best legacy that we have from him. Author's style makes the reading very pleasant. If you like a serious biography written based on serious research, this book is for you. This book was written by John Perry in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.
MistyNordyke More than 1 year ago
*I recieved this book from Book Sneeze for free for being a book blogger* I found this book to be very interesting. I did not know alot about Robert E. Lee, but from what I read there was alot of hype about him. This book reveals the true Lee, he thought slavery was a moral outrage he may have inherited 4 slaves from his mother's estate, but evidently he gave them freedom within a month. Lee's wife inherited about 200 slaves, but they were all freed within five years as directed by her father's will. By the time Lincoln enacted the Emanicipation Proclamation there was no slaves on the Lee property to be freed by it. Lee condemned slavery, he never endorsed it or fought for it. He did fight for the right of individual states to make their own laws except in matters where the Constitution specifically gave power to the federal government. Lee was a passionate patriot, caring son, devoted husband, loving father, a don't - tread - on - me Virginian but he was also one who didn't like to treat people poorly and was too willing to yeld to others he was also too trusting. Lee was a great leader in large part because he never waverd from what he thought was right and never abandoned his personal standards. He also never confronted people for saying the things they did about him because he knew who he was and he respected their feelings. I feel after reading this book that this man had alot of resposibilities we can never imagine and there was more to Robert E. Lee than all the negativity and that he was a true leader and a deserved the title ** GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE ** God rest his soul.
Steven_Ruff More than 1 year ago
I enjoy all things Civil War. So, for me to have the opportunity to read about on the period's greatest generals was for me a no-brainer. John Perry has written a compact biography entitled, "Lee: A Life of Virtue". He has given the reader a comprehensive portrait of General Robert E. Lee. Perry walks the reader through Lee's childhood, his days as a cadet at West Point, his early assignments including the Mexican War, and finally to his position as one of the most famous and loved generals of the Confederacy. The title "A Life of Virtue" is correctly given. Using the definition of virtue as "possessing moral excellence or goodness", this describes the life of R.E. Lee. Perry does an excellent job in his book of showing the human and moral side of Lee. Woven throughout the pages of this book are the relationships with family, friends, and fellow leaders that show virtue in action. Lee often gave care to his mother as a young boy. The moral, health, and welfare of his troops were always at the forefront of his mind. Lee's wife was sick for a great part of her adult life and he cared for her considering it one of his greatest opportunities. He took extended periods of leave in order to take care of her. Loyalty marked his life. Lee's virtue can be seen in one clear example given by Perry. After Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, the two generals began to work out the terms of the surrender. They agreed the Confederate officers could keep their firearms and horses. In a gesture that was consistent with putting others before himself, Lee stated that enlisted soldiers had provided their own horses and would now need them for spring planting. Grant agreed. I found this book to be an interesting and encouraging read. I learned some things about General Lee that I did not know before and some things I knew were confirmed. Buried within this book is a challenge. It is a challenge to live a life of virtue, integrity, and goodness. It is a challenge to place others before self and to always do right by others. I recommend this book without reservation. Even if you do read books about the Civil War, you will find this book a good investment of your time. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
rickc More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to get to read about Robert E. Lee. I am an avid history fan and wondered what this book might tell me about The Great General that I didn't already know. It takes us back to the beginning when the first of the Lee family came to the new world. It also discloses to us that Lee was actually not fighting to preserve slavery for the south but instead that he was fighting to defend our Constitutional Freedoms. It gives us an up close and personal look at the Generals life in a way that is easy to read and understand. If you have never read anything about Robert E. Lee then you would probably enjoy this book. I was provided a copy of this book by Thomas Nelson's booksneeze program in return for an honest review!