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Lee, The Soldier Hardcover – January 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 648 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803221533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803221536
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Beauregard on June 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
You can't hope to understand the U.S. Civil War without coming to some kind of an understanding of Robert E. Lee. The South's preeminent commander was a larger-than-life figure in his own time, and continues to occupy a very prominent place in the American imagination. He is seen as the personification of the Southern aristocrat, the Christian gentleman, and the brilliant military commander. To some extent, all those characterizations are true; but they hardly tell the full story. The essays in this volume serve as a fine introduction to the ongoing debate about the true meaning of Robert E. Lee to us as Americans. Contributors like Douglas S. Freeman portray him as a godlike, awesome figure; revisionists like Alan T. Nolan brilliantly reexamine the traditional view, suggesting that Lee had flaws, both as a man and a commander. The most recent essays, such as Gary Gallagher's contribution, suggest that although the revisionists are to some extent correct, Lee was nevertheless a source of strength, not weakness, to the Confederacy. The debate will doubtless continue to rage, and if you want to get brought up to speed, this is the place to start.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Keating on February 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It took my a long time to make it through this book, but it is well worth the time and effort. Gary Gallagher has consolidated several essays (to include his own) that describe Lee's abililty as a military commander. This approach really provides the reader with a comprehensive view of Lee on the battlefield.

Two interesting things about the book. First, the authors vary greatly and include subordinates of Lee, noted Civil War historians, and modern Civil War scholars. Secondly, and not surprisingly, the opinions of these distinguished authors about Lee also vary greatly. Some view him as the true hero of the South, while others argue that he is the main reason the Confederacy lost. The result is that the reader can analyze the positions and decide for himself whether or not Lee was a good, bad, or mediocre General.

If you are interested in gaining insight into Lee's role in the Civil War, then I highly recommend this book. It is worth noting that it helps if you have a fundamental understanding of the War and the sequence of battles in the East before tackling this book. Otherwise, some of the articles may be hard to follow.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. D. Jones on October 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great value, well worth the price. Book arrived in perfect condition and is a great addition to my Civil War collection.
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