This collection of essays scratches a bit of the luster off General Robert E. Lee by examining his ability as a commander. The 21 essays were authored by current researchers on the Civil War and by 19th century military analysts, including a Union veteran. There are five new articles in the book. The unifying theme of the articles is the questioning of Lee's role in the defeat of the Confederacy. Greatly admired by his troops, he plunged the Army of Northern Virginia into some of the most brutal fighting in military history. Lee the Soldier
carefully weighs the notion that Lee's bold moves may have hastened the South's defeat.
From Library Journal
Since the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee has generally been revered as a hero. Yet not all of his contemporaries and not all historians have shared that view. Gallagher (history, Pennsylvania State Univ.) has assembled a series of writings on Lee's ability and conduct as a soldier whose sources range from Lee's fellow general, Jubal A. Early, to Douglas Southall Freeman and modern-day historians. The essayists examine Lee's actions in each battle he fought, with special emphasis on Gettysburg and Pickett's charge. They probe Lee's extraordinary ability to evaluate his officers' strengths and weaknesses, his perceptive understanding of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and his mastery of offensive operations within a defensive strategy, a practice that may have defeated him at Gettysburg. Gallagher edits very little but provides extensive bibliographic citations. As important as the essays is the 200-entry annotated bibliography, an excellent starting point for an in-depth study of Lee. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with Civil War collections.?Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
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