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Lees Lieutenants (3 Volumes In One Abridged) : A Study in Command Hardcover – Abridged, July 6, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Douglas Southall Freeman's original three-volume version of Lee's Lieutenants appeared in the 1940s, it marked a high point in Civil War history, and the books were lauded not only for their scholarship but for their elegant writing. This monument of Civil War literature has been skillfully abridged by one of the most noted present-day Civil War historians, Stephen W. Sears. The new one-volume abridgement retains the core material of the original and makes Freeman's fine writing available in a much more accessible format.


That Douglas Southall Freeman is our most eminent biographer and ablest military historian no one will dispute. --Allan Nevins --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; abridged edition edition (July 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684833093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684833095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Darren Burton on December 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I developed a strong interest in the Civil War four years ago after reading a biography on President Lincoln that touched on how frustrated he was with trying to find competent officers to lead the Army of the Potomac. When I drove to Knoxville, Tennessee I took the audio books Gods and Generals, and The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara with me. The descriptions of the battle ground and unfolding battle were so vivid that I could see it clearly in my mind. By the time, I was finished with both audio books I was hooked.

Since I completed both audio books by the time I drove from Utah to Tennessee, I picked up a copy of Grant Moves South (which is the story of the Union's western campaign) by Bruce Catton at Chattanooga,Tennessee when I went and saw the Chickamaga battlefield. After seeing the war from the western point of view on the Union side I wanted to see the war from the Southern point of view on the eastern campaign - that led me to this book.

This book is an abridgement of the original three-volume version (the footnotes have been taken out). It is an incredibly well written book. It is a history of the army of Northern Virginia from the first shot fired to the surrender at Appomattox - but what makes this book unique is that it is a biography of around 150 Confederate officers. The book discusses in depth all the tradeoffs that were being made politically and militarily by the South. The book does an excellent job describing the battles, then at a critical decision point in the battle, the book focuses on an officer - the book stops and tells the biography of that person, and then goes back to the battle and tells what information the officer had at that point and the decision he made. At the end of the battle, the officers decisions are critiqued based on what he could have known and what he should have known given his experience, and that is compared with 20/20 hindsight.

An excellent read.
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Format: Paperback
Bah, humbug. Having read the original 3-volume works (my parents gave it to me for Christmas of 1954), and re-read it from time to time, I found this abridgement unsatisfying and almost a mockery of the original. I recommend that any person seriously interested in the Army of Northern Virginia spend the additional money for the original.

I supposed the current work would be satisfactory for a newcomer to the Civil War and might even give this work five stars. Freeman was the undisputed giant with respect to Southern History, also writing the 4-volume set "R. E. Lee, A Biography," and editing the 52-volume set of the "Southern Historical Society Papers," which is usually purchased as an adjunct to the 130-volume "War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies." All of these are still available (for up to $2,500.00), and they are indispensible for the committed Civil War Historian.

Freeman's prose is as lively and readable today as it was when he wrote in the 1930s and 40s. In fact, I would give five stars to all his works including "George Washington" and "The South to Posterity." I am not sorry I purchased the LL abridgement, as it is of course a good read, but not the reference the original was.

So buy this abridgement, but then move up to the original or buy the original in the first place.

Freeman develops all of the subordinate commanders of the Army of Northern Virginia, with a particular emphasis on Stonewall Jackson. Personnel from Major Pelham on up are treated with sympathy and respect even when their battlefield performance was not up to par. It is as if Freeman was emulating his hero, Robert E. Lee, who spoke kindly whenever possible about his people.
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By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Lee's Lieutenants is the most in-depth, comprehensive study of the officers of the Army of Northern Virginia that I have ever read. Not only are the officers we here so much about, like Jackson, Longstreet, Stuart, D.H. and A.P. Hill adequately covered, but other brave and dependable officers like Early, Rodes, Pender, Ramseur, Hampton, Fitz Lee, Hood, Pelham, Alexander, Mahone and countless others including staff members of the major officers, are all given due credit and attention. One of my favorite officers of the confederate command was the young Georgian by the name of John B. Gordon. Gordan was one of those rare men who never had formal military training, but gained such a reputation on the field that as the war progressed, he became one of Lee's most trusted and able officers. The ANV had the advantage of good officers, but as the long, bloody war progressed, so many of these fine officers from the ranks of colonel to lieutenant general were killed. Freeman covers the situation in detail in the latter part of the book. The army fought its way to the very end. At this point it was an army of starving troops, few capable officers, and shattered divisions, brigades, and regiments. A detailed book that covers the officers, the battles, the strategies, and the devotion of the fighting men of the South. A must read for any student of the Civil War. I do agree with the reader who stated that the maps were not all that good.
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Format: Hardcover
I consider Mr. Freeman's work the most accurate, interesting, and well-written book concerning our Civil War that I have read. Lee's Lieutenants is a complete and thorough study into the command structure of the Army of Northern Virginia. Volume two starts with the clash at Cedar Mountain and ends with the army's "high noon" and the death of Jackson at Chancellorsville. In between are some of the most tragic and awe-inspiring events in our country's history. Everyone is familiar with Jackson, Longstreet, and Stuart, but he is careful to point out the contributions of subortinates. Who is familiar with the tenacity of John Hood, the boldness of Robert Rodes, and the youthful daring of John Pelham? It is all brought to life in this classic study. He was very careful in using a mix of military affairs, battles, and the reorganizations that followed. I consider this my most cherished of the few number of Civil War titles I possess, and consider it a must read for all civil war buffs, history lovers, and people that simply love to read.
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