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General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse Paperback – March 24, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Joseph T. Glatthaar brings a fresh and revealing perspective to the much-studied history of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Prodigious research, a meticulous use of statistical information, and analytical acuity mark this book, which abounds with surprising information about the makeup of the army, its casualties, and the quality of its leadership. This is now the indispensable first place to go for anyone interested in Lee, his army, and their storied campaigns." -- Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War
"This is a splendid piece of work, buttressed by wondrously thorough research in a vast array of primary material, and destined to be a great classic." -- Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain
"A unique, often controversial description of Lee's soldiers, their background and the conditions under which they fought." -- Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Dr Joseph T. Glatthaar's General Lee's Army is NOT a book about battles, although it does an adequate job of summarizing the basics of General Lee's major engagements. Rather, it is an in-depth socio-economic study of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia: What it was, who the personnel were, what they did, and how the army basically functioned. There was more, so much more, to Lee's grand army than just fighting. What was the real morale like? How and what did the soldiers eat and do when not fighting or on "the march"? What happened in camp during those long periods of inactivity? In essence, how did the army function when it was not engaged in combat, and when it was fighting how did the front line soldiers react? Much has been written about civil war combat, strategies, and tactics, but little has been written about the mundane non-combat life of a civil war army. Dr Glatthaar does a superb job of analyzing, investigating, and documenting (over 108 pages of Notes and Bibliography) the everyday workings of Lee grand Army of Northern Virginia.
Not a book if you are looking for the taste and feel of battle. But an excellent source for the "rest of the story" of Civil War army life. Dr. Glatthaar's writing style is easy and flows with an interesting chronological time line. He subtly points out how General Lee's army changed as the war progressed and more of the veteran leaders and soldiers were killed or become incapacitated. He highlights through personal quotes how many of the problems associated with any army also plagued Lee's Army. Not everything was chivalrous and honor. Thievery, desertion, skulking, straggling, lying, quibbling, cowardice, drunkenness, etc., all plagued General Lee's heroic army.Read more ›
Among the topics covered include:
1. Various military campaigns - Seven Days, 2nd Manassas, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, etc.
2. The reason soldiers enlisted.
3. Religious background of officers and soldiers.
4. Discipline in the army.
5. Relationships between the general officers.
6. Camp and recreation life between campaigns.
7. The issue of blacks and slavery.
8. Medical care.
While I was a bit hesitant at first reading the book (not all, but many college professors tend to be very liberal in their beliefs - I may get some heat for that comment!), I thought Glatthaar was pretty fair in his assessment and description of Lee's army.
The narrative was smooth and did not get bogged down into dry details. The author included several anecdotes of officers and enlisted men that kept my interest high.
Read, enjoy, and learn more about one of America's most famous armies.
Sometimes when doing a review it seems I have read a different book than many other reviewers doing reviews on that book. Sadly, I get that same feeling here. In the author's own words he has been crafting this book since the late 1980s, and much of the book is based on the participant's own words from their own letters. How anyone can quibble with what these men wrote is beyond my understanding. And in reading these letters, many of the writers did not live beyond the war, so one just must accept what they wrote, felt, saw, and how they prioritized their last months. Many saw state's rights as #1, others saw northern invasion as #1, while others mention slavery as #1. Doesn't really matter, does it, all of these items forged them into what became the Army of Northern Virginia. And early on, one fact the author mentions, is the affect of the home on the battlefront and conversely how the battlefront affected the home. As a newly formed nation, they knew their future depended on supporting one another if there was to be any chance of a successful outcome.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a follower of The War Between the States the book was very well detailed.Published 2 months ago by Daryl Hulvey
Joseph Glatthaar writes very good Civil War history. This book is very interesting and Mr. Glatthaar's writing style is enjoyable. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jem
Very well written and extremely informative, but often repetitive.Published 14 months ago by Jennifer Stanley
This book will go down as one of the foundational knowledge books about the civil war. This book is as good as the famous Douglas Feeman's "Lee's Lts. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Thomas M. Magee
One of the best books on the Civil War I have every read. The way this author writes is amazing. After reading this book all the other books I have read have become so much more... Read morePublished 20 months ago by michael Moyer
I thought this was a good book that brought to life the "social" history of the Army of Northern Virginia. Read morePublished 21 months ago by James