The Unwritten Chronicles of Robert E. Lee

Lamar Herrin, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-312-03448-1
More psychological study than conventional historical novel, this lyrical, surcharged narrative offers a provocative look at two leading figures of the Civil War. One is Confederate general Thomas ``Stonewall'' Jackson, whose low-born origins, deficient dancing skills and gauche deportment shock Southern notions of what a military leader should be. On the other hand, patrician Robert E. Lee lacks Jackson's instinctive, backwoodsman shrewdness and heroic stature. With their combined talents, however, victory for the South seems achievable. As the book opens midwar, we find the almost invincible Jackson winning the battle of Winchester. (He is also seen as a devoted family man, his letters home betraying anxiety when his daughter contracts chicken pox.) When Jackson is mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, Lee assumes sole command of the Southern forces, and the narrative moves forward hastily to Appomattox. A melange of letters, musings and undramatized exposition, the novel is sometimes confusing, but often poetic. Herrin ( American Baroque ) may exasperate history buffs looking for unadorned facts, but he will intrigue readers drawn to novels of character. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-312-05983-5
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