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Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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“Masterful...Korda delivers the goods.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Superbly engaging.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Lively, approachable, and captivating…Llike Lee himself, everything about Clouds of Glory is on a grand scale.” (Boston Globe)
Top Customer Reviews
Grant'; T.E. Lawrence of Arabia and Dwight D. Eisenhower Michael Korda is not a trained Civil War historian so he adds a fresh look at Lee from the perspective of an author who has done his research to produce the best Lee biography in years.
Robert E. Lee was the son of Light Horse Harry Lee the American Revolutionary War hero, Governor of Virginia and scion of old Virginia. Light Horse Harry was also a man burdened by scandal who became bankrupt dying in disgrace. R. E. Lee cared for his invalid mother. Lee graduated from West Point in 1829 graduating second in his class. He wed a wealthy woman and was enabled to live at Arlington. Lee was in awe of George Washington his beau ideal of a soldier and leader. Lee and Mary had seven children. Three of them were boys'; all served in the Confederate Army.
Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia on June 1, 1862. In short order Lee led his outnumbered troops in battle winning victory at the Seven Days near Richmond'; Second Manassas, Antietam (a draw against the Army of the Potomac under the sluggish leadership of George B. McClellan) Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville (it was at this battle that Lee lost Stonewall Jackson who died on May 10, 1863 after he had been wounded by his own men). Lee and his troops met defeat at Gettysburg but continued to fight to the bitter end against Grant in the Overland Campaign which ended with surrender on April 9, 1865.
All of these facts are well know to historians.Read more ›
My one serious complaint is that the book shares a problem that seems to plague Civil War books: the maps are lousy. It's not clear just where they are from -- each one is accompanied by a credit to the Freeman biography, even one or two which clearly didn't come from there (!), and there is no further explanation (at least not in the Kindle edition) -- but they don't fit this book well. In particular, they frequently violate the basic rule that any place or feature which is mentioned in the text *should be on the map*, so the reader is often left guessing about the details of the action. Not as bad as some I've seen, but not great. The limitations of the Kindle format don't help, either: some of the maps and images are too small, and enlarging them doesn't help because they were digitized at too low a resolution.
(And speaking of limitations of the Kindle, endnotes that aren't properly linked to the text are a tremendous pain to use, given that the page numbers are meaningless and it's difficult to quickly flip back and forth between text and notes. Including an apology for this isn't a substitute for fixing it.)
The reader that is unfamiliar with Lee and/or the Civil War will have a pleasant read, but will come away confused by the high degree of admiration constantly expressed by Korda -- he claims Lee to be a great battlefield genius, but then points out mistake after mistake that he made.
It was refreshing that Korda spends 20+% of the book pre-Civil War to examine Lee's character and characteristics so to allow deeper examination of his acts during the Civil War, but this is definitely the highlight of the book. Descriptions of the action and troop movements during both the Mexican and Civil Wars seemed repetitive (especially as the maps, most copies of 1930's era maps and nearly unreadable on a Kindle) all followed by the same arguments that Longstreet always argued with Lee, and that Lee didn't have to spell out what he was thinking to Stonewall Jackson because Jackson always knew what Lee wanted.
I read a lot of histories and biographies. Good biography uses original sources to come up with new points of view on well-known subjects. Korda rehashes what other authors have said on key topics -- he even uses Wikepdia as a source several times! Save your money and read about the Civil War on-line!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book could be a third it's size if Korda did restate his fact three or four times. He also goes into to much detail in his side notes. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Merlynn Larson
Lee never won a battle. When he tried to take the battle to the Union, he led his army away in bloody @nd ignominious DEFEAT. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent read for Civil War enthusiasts. Well written, fast moving. Sometimes makes too much of REL's qualities and plays down faults.Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Growing up as a Southern boy, I was very familiar with the gracious and gentlemanly conduct of society that still remained in the 1950's. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Ralph W Kendall Jr
Gave me an idea about the character of the man. I had no idea about the work he did on the Mississippi River.Published 9 days ago by Dan
Korda really brings the people and events to life.. Robert E. Lee is seen as a real human being and not just the mythPublished 9 days ago by Ramon Melendez