Robert E. Lee: A Biography

Emory M. Thomas, Author
Emory M. Thomas, Author W. W. Norton & Company $30 (472p) ISBN 978-0-393-03730-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-393-31631-5
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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)
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