Lee (Stonewall Jackson)

A Simon & Schuster eBook –This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

A Simon & Schuster eBook –This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Lee

Stonewall Jackson

A distinguished Civil War historian unravels the complex character of the Confederacy’s greatest general. Drawing on previously untapped manuscript sources, the author refutes such long-standing myths as Stonewall Jackson’s obsessive eating of lemons and gives a three-dimensional account of the profound religious faith frequently caricatured as grim Calvinism. Though the author capably covers the battles that made Jackson a legend–Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, etc.–he emphasizes "the life story of an extraordinary man." The result is a biography that will fascinate even those allergic to military history.

Stonewall Jackson

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45 Responses to “Lee (Stonewall Jackson)”

  1. Joshua D B Says:

    I have other biographies of Lee but none like this one. As it is a rather large book, I felt it would take me a little time to finish but I finished it in just a few days simply because I couldn’t put it down. Freeman captures the “real Lee”. You see him in his victories as well as in his defeats. You see him as proud but humble, a great warrior but a very gentle man,. You will be with him at his battles, watch him deal with his subordinates and his superiors. You see a man that didn’t want war but became one of its’ central figures. Above all, you will see that he was a great man of character and dedication. A must read for anyone interested in the Civil War or in the life of a truly great man: a man of great character and dignity.

  2. Stephen C Carter Says:

    One of the few accurate reads about this great American hero. “Old Jack,” an orphan, grew up in Jackson Mills, the home and business of his uncle. What many would have used as an excuse for failure (orphaned, poor, very little standardized education, no gov’t breast to succour, etc.), motivated “Old Jack” to make something of himself. Jackson worked hard to get an appointment to West Point, one of the greatest Engineering schools of its time. While at West Point, Jackson had to work twice as hard as his classmates often staying up into the early morning hours memorizing his previous day’s lesson. Though he often struggled, his hard work and determination paid off. Jackson had great discipline. Recognized in the Mexican War for always following orders and never losing his cool. Although, he is often criticized for his ability to teach at VMI, a few things have to be mentioned. I have never known anyone personally nor heard of anyone who ever said they had it easy learning Physics. I am sure most student generated complaints concerning Jackson’s teaching methods, etc. were mostly because: one, it was a hard class, and two, it required one’s undivided attention. Secondly, if the faculty had concerns, they (their concerns) never amounted to much. The Civil War is often said where Jackson blossomed. I disagree. Jackson’s greatness originated from inside. Nearly always, men are great because they are great men no matter what the outside circumstances and I believe this is the case with “Old Jack.” The Civil War simply provided the theatre for Jackson to display his greatness. Jackson is one of the World’s greatest military strategists. He is still studied across the world today. His movements were done with speed and stealth often moving nearly half of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Thomas J. Jackson is great example for all. Although, it has many pages it flows very well.

  3. Christopher Harris Says:

    From the time I was a toddler close to 60 years ago, I was taught that Robert E. Lee was, except for Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived. A lifetime of study has confirmed my parents’ opinion…I am NOT unbiased about General Lee. If Robert E. Lee was the greatest man, Douglas Souhthall Freeman was the greatest Civil War author, and he’s not unbiased, either.

    Anyone reading this probably already knows Lee’s story…born of a great mother and a useless father whose earlier greatness was long forgotten… raised in aristocratic poverty….West Point with no demerits…30+ years in the Army as an engineer, with brief combat in Mexico…offered command of the Union Army…a man who cried as he followed Virginia out of the Union…took over the Army of Northern Virginia a year into the war and made it, man for man, the greatest fighting force the world has ever known…held off a vastly larger, and better supplied, Army for three years…surrendered, then set the example for his men in becoming citizens of one nation…accepted the Presidency of a small college, and, in the five and a half years he had left, started it on the road to becoming the world-class school it is today…served God to the end, suffering his final heart attack while running a Vestry meeting at the Church pastored by one of his old generals.

    In 1915, a young newspaperman named Douglas Southall Freeman accepted a contract to write a 75,000 word biography of General Lee. Born in Lynchburg, the son of one of Lee’s troops, he had learned about the General at a young age. Twenty years after starting, Dr. Freeman finally finished his 1,000,000 word biography, and saw it published in four volumes; those four volumes ARE definitive, and the greatest biography in the English language.

    Richard Harwell, who knew Dr. Freeman, made this one volume abridgment in the 1960′s [and also a very fine one volume version of Freeman's "George Washington"]….it is very probably the best one volume study of Lee available, for which Harwell would give ALL the credit to Dr. Freeman. OK, what is lost in the abridging? Fair question if you’re spending your money for this…I’m going to round numbers. Freeman takes 400 pages for the first 54 years [100 for Mexico], 1,600 for the war, and 400 for the last five and a half years. Harwell has roughly 100 [27 for Mexico], 400 and 100. Lost are the footnotes, the appendecies, the bibliography, much of the dialog, and most of the redundencies….

    Should you buy, and read this? Definitely. There are a LOT of one volume biographies of General Lee, ranging from kid’s versions, to good, bad, and indifferent. Two or three are by men who actually met him. Harwell has done a superb job. Now the real question….do you need to read the whole four volumes? If you are a poor soul like me, you already have. Your best bet would be a used set, but if affordable, they may not be in good shape, and if in good shape, they may be expensive. [I was lucky to find a decent set for $35]. ["Lee's Lieutenants" is easy to find at a good price, and "George Washington" is impossible]. There were badly overpriced paperbacks available, but I’m not sure they still are; there is a beautiful leather bound edition in print, but you can imagine the price. The four volumes are definitive, and very readable….while you’re deciding, read this first…

  4. Washington Stoker Says:

    I really enjoyed this book, even though I found it a bit tedious and dry in the details in some sections. Most of it held my riveted attention, though. I would have preferred more information about the private life and human side of Lee, whereas this biography focused more on justifying his leadership skills and strategic decisions in each battle. Now that I’ve read it, I have been told that the longer, 3-volume set contains more about Lee himself. I wish now I had elected to tackle the whole shebang.

    I won’t expound on the obvious fact that the author presents a completely one-sided view of Lee and the War. Maybe I’ve missed something out there, but I haven’t seen ANY book about the Civil War or Robert E. Lee that did not clearly reflect the subjective views of the writer. So…I do not find that the author’s regard for the man is a detriment in any way.

    I recommend this book highly for anyone interested in Lee or the battles of the War. Just don’t make this the only book you read about it!

  5. LenardHunter Says:

    I have not even yet finished reading “Lee,” but I have enjoyed it so much that I would like to give my opinion of it. This is a very well-researched, thoughtfully written biography, by an author who was not only a good historian but also a good writer. Robert E. Lee’s whole life is laid before us in very good order, and it is interesting to read about Lee’s life during the years other than 1861-1865.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because Freeman does not glorify Lee, although it is evident that he has a high opinion of Lee. However, Freeman does not disappoint his readers by dwelling on Lee’s weak points. He actually does point out his faults, but he does it objectively, and fairly, instead of pouncing on Lee and tearing him apart.

    This is the perfect biography of Robert E. Lee to buy if you want to know just why Lee is such a great figure in American history. It is fair, thorough, and very well-written.

  6. Debbie Ray Says:


    Let us not put too fine a point on it…Douglas Southall Freeman simply LOVES Robert E. Lee. If you have also read Freeman’s equally exhaustive biography of Washington, you can debate which man Freeman loves more. At times the prose, though beautifully written, can get positively gushy. There is no way the reader can consider this an objective biography.

    However, until some other historian writes it, Freeman has produced the most comprehensive biography available. His research is thorough, and the writing is definitely beautiful and enjoyable to read.

    It is not unbiased. Lee is practically shown as infallible, the Yankees are portrayed as malignant, vile creatures that cheerfully trample the Constitution underfoot, and Lee’s mistakes are written off to the bumbling incompetence of his subordinates. While the biography abounds with detail (which makes it an indispensable part of any good bibliography), there is definitely an agenda at work here. This is work which needs to read in concert with more recent scholarship.

    This abridged version eliminates some of the mind-numbing detail of Lee’s life (I do think that Freeman got a little carried away with this…if he had pared it down a little it might not have taken 20 years to write), but you will still get plenty of the worshipful, gushy prose. What would Freeman be without the gush?

  7. J Jones Says:

    This is a wonderful biography of “Mighty Stonewall”. General Jackson was an admirable man for his discipline and hard work and a person can certainly learn a good deal from his example, but I would not want to spend much time with him. He could be very harsh. He was kind and caring with his family and a true 110% soldier. A person wonders just what his life would have been like had he survived the war.

  8. Karen Lincoln Says:

    Perhaps the most compelling and dynamic civil war biography written. Not only does Robertson describe the audacity and boldness of Jackson the warrior that made him the most respected and feared Confederate leader among the Union Army’s leadership, but he also describes the foundation of Jackson’s personality that perpetuated and initiated Jackson’s complete confidence that led to Confederate victories in battles against overwhelming Union forces. Look to Jackson’s faith in God and his total obedience to the will of God, and you find the foundation for his determination, his bravery and tenacity in his command of Confederate forces. Indeed many of Jackson’s commanders and acquaintences saw him as eccentric, stubborn and without compassion, but all who knew Jackson well recognized the gentleness and humility of this man. Robertson explains fully the events of Jackson’s childhood, his education at a military institute, his skills and heroism in the Mexican War, his professorship at VMI and his role as a loving husband and father all of which forged Jackson into the brilliant Confederate leader and legend. Robertson’s research is thorough and accurate as illustrated in the detailed bibliography and notes that are placed at the end of the book. After completing this book, one will feel that they know intimately Jackson the man, the husband and father, the disciple of the Lord and the soldier.

  9. Paul Summers Says:

    I have read and re-read the 4 volume set of R. E. Lee and the 3 volume set of Lee’s Lieutennts. There is no other source so detailed and historically accurate. These volumes were written just before World War II and have stood the test of time. To be sure, the books primarily discusses the Southern viewpoint as was its purpose. Freeman does not espouse to the “Lost Cause” theory as many of his contemporaries often did.

    If one is a student of the Civil War then it is imperative that both Lee’s Lieutenants and Robert E. Lee are read in their volume sets.

    It is maybe time for a new book regarding Lee. Some new information has surfaced that might be included. For example, as a physician, it appears to me that Lee had some form of heart problem. Could Lee have been partially incapacitated at Gettysburg. At Antietam, Lee was in significant pain from being thrown from his horse and injuring his arms. Another item that might be studied is the affect Lee’s religion had on his decisions. He was not a Calvinist as was Jackson, but he did believe that certain events were preordained. Another interesting discussion would be why Lee didn’t have one or more Staff Generals such as Napoleon did. If Trimble would have been Lee’s staff general at Gettysburg he could have ordered Ewell to attack on day 1 of Gettysburg. There are many such items that have not necessarily been addressed in a Biography.

  10. Nishan Wilde Says:

    Here is another writer who has succeeded in digging up every minute detail of his subject’s life known to man or woman and has chosen not to omit a single scrap of it. This must be a gratifying kind of book to write, but is it the kind of book you want to read?

  11. Reuben Hopkins Says:

    I am not usually all that interested in the American Civil War, but found this book compelling, insightful, and endlessly interesting. The author shows us the man behind the many myths. Jackson was at heart a devout Christian and a good man who wanted to do the right thing, although like any other mortal he made mistakes along the way. Jackson’s life is treated with the utmost dignity, respect, and praise that it so deserves.

  12. Sally Janssen Says:

    This book was a fantastic education on Robert E. Lee. General Lee was not just a Confederate hero, but an all-American hero. He had a character that all men would do well to emulate. It is too bad that his birthday is not a national holiday. Thank you for reading this review.

  13. Liam McCauley Says:

    This adridgement of Freeman’s four-volume biography is certainly a popular necessity – it opens the work up to a much broader audience that would find the original too intimidating an investment of time or money. Freeman’s elegant, descriptive prose is preserved and has aged remarkably well.

    The chief failing of this abridgement is it’s imbalance in focus. It has been reduced to a study of Lee’s generalship rather than a true biography. Fully three-fourths of the book is a thorough, tactical description of his four years of battle in the Civil War, with the other 59 years of his life serving as mere bookends. While these military details are fascinating and are certainly required reading for students of the conflict, the end result leaves one feeling rather at a loss for who Lee was as a husband, father, and citizen.

  14. Hideyoshi Taro Says:

    Good, but read R.E. Lee, Freeman’s unedited four-volume set on General Lee for a better insight into Lee family history (which was surely a motivation for the general), Virginia life and of course the full, in-depth story of this American hero’s life before and after the war.

  15. Amit Bhalla Says:

    Author Robertson is not only a great historian, he is also an incredibly good wordsmith. Seldom in an historical biography have I seen such excellent writing combined with such in-depth and (relatively) unbiased research. This book is jammed with detailed information about Jackson: socially awkward, agonzingly shy and diffident, odedient to orders to the point of insanity, absurdly religious.Yet, this is my “take” on the book. The author never literally comes out and states this. He presents information. It is up to the reader to form his/her own opinions……After 40 plus years of studying Civil War history, I am long past hero worship. I never saw Jackson or Lee or any other general as a god – and I do not now. I don’t believe that was the author’s purpose. I believe his pupose was to present all the facts he could about Jackson in an organized and entertaining fashion. That the author is also a great writer makes this work all the more enjoyable. …….This is probably the BEST biography I have ever read, both in terms of scholarship and the quality of the writing. My only regret was that I did not get to read the many items that were left out of this already lengthy book by the authors and editors. I was not quite ready for Jackson to go.

  16. George Lennard Says:

    The length of the Bibliography of this book certifies to the research engaged to develop such a complete history of this great man and soldier. While well documented, it is nevertheless written in excellent, personal style that brings us closer to an understanding of the man Stonewall.

  17. Jerry Halsey Says:

    James Robertson has written an extensively researched life of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, acknowledged as one of the finest military tacticians of the Civil War on either side. He covers Jackson’s ancestry, childhood, West Point career, early military service during the Mexican War and afterwards, his tenure at the Virginia Military Institute, his family life, and his Civil War service in the Shenandoah Valley, the Seven Day’s Campaign, and in Northern Virginia/Antietam. He includes a short epilogue which discusses the conclusion of the War after Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville, his legacy, and the subsequent lives of his family and fellow Confederates after the surrender at Appomattox.

    Throughout the book, Robertson devotes much attention to Jackson’s strong Christian faith both in his beliefs and in his actions. Some other reviewers have found fault with this emphasis but given the predominance of his faith in his daily life, Jackson’s religious beliefs could no more be ignored than could an author ignore anti-semitism in a life of Hitler. Jackson’s faith was not an ASPECT of his life, in many ways it WAS his life and everything else he did was incidental to his faith.

    Contrary to some others, I don’t think Robertson has glorified Jackson at all. Although a pious man and a military genius, all of Jackson’s many shortcomings as a man and as a commander are brought out in the book. Jackson was a hypochondriac, a contentious subordinate, an incredibly boring and ineffective teacher and a man who saw everything in stark black and white. As a commander, he was hard on his men, compulsively secretive about his plans and movements even with those subordinates who needed to know and a harsh and unsympathetic taskmaster who constantly quarreled with and berated his staff. On at least one occasion, he had EVERY ONE of his major subordinates under arrest for one or another offense in his command. Although harsh with his underlings, he was popular among his men and in the Confederacy because of his victories, his acceptance of hardship along with his men and his single minded determination to drive the Yankee invaders out of the South.

    “Old Jack holds himself as the god of war, giving short, sharp commands distinctly, rapidly and decisively, without consultation or explanation, and disregarding suggestions and remonstrances. Being himself absolutely fearless…he goes ahead on his own hook, asking no advice and resenting interference. He places no value on human life, caring for nothing so much as fighting, unless it be praying. Illness, wounds and all disabilities he defines as inefficiency and indications of a lack of patriotism. Suffering from insomnia, he often uses his men as a sedative, and when he can’t sleep calls them up, marches them for a few miles; then marches them back. He never praises his men for gallantry, because it is their duty to be gallant and they do not deserve credit for doing their duty.” Genl Alexander Lawton (c20,n120)

    “He is the idol of the people and is the object of greater enthusiasm than any other military chieftain of our day… notwithstanding the fact that he marches his troops faster and longer, fights them harder, and takes less care of them than any other officer in the service…This indifference to the comfort of his men is only apparent, however–not real. No man possesses a kinder heart or larger humanity; but when he has something to do, he is so earnest, so ardent and energetic that he loses sight of everything but the work before him.” quote in Southern paper. (c22,n64)

  18. Ngo Vinet Says:

    I am so thankful for McPherson’s abridgement of Freeman’s four-volume set on Lee. Without it, I doubt I would have ever endeavored to tackle Freeman’s entire work. However, I did feel I could absorb this abridgement and I was correct.

    Those that religiously study Lee and/or the American Civil War may find the four-volume set more to their taste for the more thorough information. But for those of us who simply enjoy the subject, this abridgment will serve us well.

    After reading this book I came away with a sense of understanding the man and the challenges and struggles he faced personally and militarily. I left it’s pages with a respect for Lee and an opinion that more of us today would be well served to follow his personal example of dignity and sense of purpose.

  19. Suzann Kale Says:

    Robertson’s intense, personal devotion to his subject is evident in this otherwise excellent bio of General Jackson, although the general’s flaws are somewhat glossed over, particularly his unjust treatment of General Richard Brooke Garnett at Kernstown and the often-buried fact that Jackson had an illegitimate daughter. Still, an excellent account of the life and times of a Southern hero whose career ended tragically and much too soon.

  20. Bryan Leonard Says:

    This was purchased for a book report. The book was a great source of information.

  21. Joshua D B Says:

    “Lee” is an excellent one-volume abridgment of Douglas Southall Freeman’s epic four-volume life of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Freeman’s original work, published in 1934, was based on over two decades of research into Lee’s correspondence and military dispatches, and clearly benefited from contacts with friends, family members, and veterans of the Civil War who had known Lee in life. Richard Harwell’s abridgment, at nearly 600 pages, is still an heroic length, but far more managable for the general reader.

    The Lee that emerges from this biography is a man who very consciously drew his sense of duty and responsibility from his Revolutionary War forebears. His father, “Light House” Harry Lee, was one of George Washington’s cavalry commanders. His wife was a step-granddaughter of Washington himself. Lee knew genteel poverty as a youth, and the burden of caring for younger siblings and an invalid mother. Lee finished second in his class at West point, the result of the disciplined application of an excellent mind and the conscious molding of a self-controlled personality into an officer and a gentlemen in the very best sense of those terms.

    Lee’s exploits in the Civil War have overshadowed his long apprenticeship in arms, following his graduation from West Point in 1829. As an engineer officer, Lee spent the pre-war years working on a variety of military and civil engineering projects around the young United States, learning the challenges of planning and logistics. His superb performance in the Mexican War on the staff of Commanding General Winfield S. Scott made his reputation in the Army, and gave him opportunities for line assignments in the cavalry he would otherwise have not seen. However, the glacial pace of peacetime promotion prevailed, and by 1861, Lee was only a Colonel. His talents were such that he was immediately considered for general officer command as the Civil War loomed.

    Lee’s decision to go with his native state of Virginia at the breakup of the Union is one that may be opaque to present-day readers; Freeman does his best to explain Lee’s reasons. Freeman’s narrative likewise does justice to Lee’s increasingly central role in the conduct of the Confederate military effort. The bulk of this volume covers the Civil War, and Freeman does not spare Lee his faults in what was by all accounts a remarkable effort against the odds. Lee was an exceptional strategist and logistician, but his preference for delegating battlefield management to subordinates cost him in a number of battles, especially later in the war as less experienced men took command. Likewise, Lee paid a price for his reluctance to enforce his will on stubborn subordinates. Freeman highlights Lee’s conduct of civil-military relations with the Confederate Government in Richmond.

    Freeman’s account of Lee’s brief life after the Civil War may be especially illuminating of the man. Lee accepted the military outcome of the war and got on with his life, in the face of grief over losses, personal poverty, and sometimes studied insults from victorious Unionists. He lent his still considerable talents as an administrator, and his reputation, to small Washington College, saving it from extinction and turning it into a first-rate college for the young men of the South.

    Freeman’s scholarship, especially in his analysis of the Civil War, is now somewhat dated. However this book is still very highly recommended for its insights into the personality and character of Robert E. Lee, man and gentleman.

  22. Stephen C Carter Says:

    Robertson is a professor of history, and reading his book makes me wish I had taken one of his classes as a college student. This well-researched book debunks many of the myths surrounding Stonewall, and makes the famous general appear much more human, and much more worthy of genuine admiration.

    Jackson’s modest behavior and deep religious conviction stood in stark contrast to his absolute tenacity on the battlefield. Over the last century Stonewall has grown into either a leader of an unholy cause or saint, depending on your point of view. The truth is a lot more complicated. Jackson was a kind man who could be explosive in explosive situations. And he wasn’t nearly as eccentric as some legends claim. The real Stonewall Jackson — revealed in Robertson’s book — is much more interesting, and believable, than the legend.

  23. Margaret H. Amanda Says:

    I enjoyed reading this book but it was sometimes hard to figure out what happenned in each of the battles since there was typically only one map for each battle. In fact the map for gettysburg did not even show where any of the troops were at any time during the battle.

    If you want to read this book I would recommend having maps of the battlefields that you could refer to. This would help you figure out what is going on better.

  24. Washington Stoker Says:

    Freeman has written a great biography of Robert E. Lee. He quickly goes over Lee’s early life and spends most of his time analyzing Lee’s campaigns which is easily the best part of the book. Overall the greatest biography on Robert E. Lee.

  25. LenardHunter Says:

    This bio is the best yet published on General Jackson. Very pro-Jackson and well researched, yet relatively free of the Lost Cause mythos that is so common in books on the Great Rebellion. Jackson was a very competent general, a good man, and probably the most ardent Christian military leader the nation has yet produced. All in all, a warrior worthy of a better cause.

  26. Xander Palmer Says:

    LEE, by Douglas Southall Freeman, and James M. McPherson, who wrote the forward.

    The one thing that stood out was that Robert E. Lee was an honorable gentleman throughout his life. He lived in the time when that was the thing to do. He not only was a fine military Officer, but a good man. Robert E. Lee was a man with a code of conduct that he imposed on himself and never wavered from it. He fought for the Confederation as the General of the Army when he knew that the south was loosing the war and did not really believe in what the south stood for, but he believed in honor and defending his home, Virginia as he always had.

    This book was the result of combining seven volumes and making one book. Editing it must have been a job and it was a job well done. The book is seamless in spite of the fact that is a combination of seven volumes. The war was very well covered. It will make a lot of battle fans happy with its detailed description of every battle.

    Lee’s destiny was set when his father, `Light-Horse Harry” Lee who was a brilliant dreamer about riches which, he never seen, had quite a bit of influence on Robert’s life. Harry spent some time in debtor’s prison. His father’s life had a great deal to do with Robert’s attitude toward any kind of debt. He believed in living on the money you had.

    Robert managed to get into the Academy with the help of his friend’s and mother’s family. He graduated at the top of his class in West Point. He studied engineering; it was the only thing that emphasized physics and math at that time (1820). What Mr. Lee had during this time, was brains that was driven by his code of life, which allowed him to be a historical figure in the 19th Centenary. I’m afraid that this code of living, honest, truth, ethics, and honor has been downgraded by a lot of people to where it does not have impact in the 21 Centenary. It used to be what American stood for.

    Robert E. Lee graduated from the West Point Academy with honors in 1828-29. Lt. Lee received his first orders as a Brevet Second Lieut. for duty with Major Samuel Babcock of the Corps. Of Engineers for duty at Cockspur, Island, in the Savanna River, Georgia.

    His brother, Henry Lee disgraced him by losing the family place Stratford for a debt and getting in trouble with the younger sister of his wife. What would not have been worth bringing up now days, the honor of the family meant a lot more then–Henry Lee was never mentioned again by Robert E. Lee.

    Finally, in 1846 Lt. Robert E. Lee received his order to report to Brigadier General John E. Wool for service in Mexico. He was chosen to fight in a war, his first. He left the Mexican war when it was over as a brevet of Colonel without the colonel’s pay. During the Mexican war he had earned the high opinion of his supervisors and the other American Officers for his superior ability to think and carry out an action. He was now `Colonel Lee’, a title of respect.

    A great part of the book explained in detail about the battles when he was the General of the Confederation of Army. This part of the his life is very covered in detail. Later he accepted a position at Washington and Lee University and left that position and the world in 1870.
    Roger Lee

  27. J Jones Says:

    Robertson and Krick are the greatest biographers of Stonewall Jackson. Robertson who wrote the wonderful “Stonewall Brigade” and chaired the Civil war Centennial Commission under JFK writes the most detailed biography ever written on Stonewall Jackson. Robertson starts with the site of Jackson’s birth in what is now West Virginia and documents his humble origins including the loss of his parents and separation from his sister. It’s an amazing account of how Jackson even makes it to West Point only because the first choice had a very abrupt change of mind. Robertson’s tells an inspiring story of how the little educated Jackson persevered academically at West Point in spite of his limited education. Robertson follows his career to the Mexican War where Jackson performed admirably and eventually ends up at VMI with Daniel Harvey Hill who eventually becomes a brother-in-law. Robertson also documents the fact that Jackson was not an inspiring professor dependent on rote memory for lectures.

    Of course the great story is Jackson’s CW career that includes bios of his staff that were as interesting as Jackson, particular the preacher (Dabney) who was his Chief of staff with a ridiculous beaver hat and umbrella that Jackson may have tried to lose by impulsively galloping with his staff into heavy woods. High points include Jackson’s great valley campaign and his use of his mapmaker, the great battle of Cross Keys and Port Republic where Jackson is almost captured and there is very interesting detail on Jackson’s laconic and ever puzzling performance during the 7 days campaign that has puzzled historians for a century. The high point of the Seven Days is the great battle of Glendale that almost cuts the Union army in two but the Confederates fight without Jackson’s participation with 26,000 men when he is stymied and then dozes into a fatigue slumber. Robertson has an excellent description of Jackson’s great wide flank march during his Manassas raid (a feast for his troops) and his impulsive attack on Pope’s army leading to the 2nd Battle of Bull Run where his line holds a great defensive position at the railroad cut (you van still see it today) and he bears the brunt of attack until Longstreet’s corps swings into action. Nice review of Antietam where Jackson absorbs most of the Union attacks and his great Chancerlorsville campaign, you can drive the 8 mile flank march today to appreciate how Jackson was isolated in a bold risk that he and Lee took literally subdividing the ANV into three parts.

    Robertson also covers the personal side of Jackson, his loss of his first wife, his relationship with God and Church and the community he lived in as well as his charitable side such as leading a prayer group for slaves. But most interesting is Robertson’s analysis of Jackson’s behavior such as situations where he seemed to throw his hand or hands upright at the peak of battle as if asking for God’s blessing and Robertson addresses Jackson’s compulsiveness for secrecy that leaves General Ewell literally in the dark.

    A large book, but for a Jackson aficionado, it’s the best book on Jackson.

  28. Karen Lincoln Says:

    Douglas Freeman presents the life of Robert E. Lee well from his early days up through his last days at Lexington. Interestingly enought, some of the most intriguing stories are from Lee’s days fighting in the Mexican/American War. After finishing this book, my first thought was to pick-up a book on that conflict. But that’s not to say the rest of the book lacks the same insight, and indeed, its interesting that Lee’s biggest flaw appears to be his “gentleman’s way”. It would appear that if Lee were more like Patton, the outcome of the Civil War might have very well been different. Unfortunately, by the end of the book it becomes very evident that the author can’t seem to come up with enough glowing characterizations of the General and the overly God-like descriptions become old and make one wonder how accurate the character judgements were. But regardless, the book is very well written and enjoyable/informative to read. Any person who has a budding interest in the Civil War must read this novel. Its well worth the investment in time & money.

  29. Paul Summers Says:

    Magnificent
    5+ Stars.
    I originally read Douglas Southall Freeman’s 4 Volume biography of Robert E. Lee 35 years ago. I was so impressed with both the author and the General that I have been a Civil War buff ever since. Recently, after rereading James Robertson’s biography on General A.P. Hill, my interest in Lee was again piqued and I picked up the abridged version of Douglas Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize winning classic to refresh my history of Marse Robert. Although I was walking old literary ground, I was amazed at how wonderful it was to again read about the amazing life of one of America’s true icons. Absolutely magnificent in all respects. Richard Harwell’s abridgement of the 4-volume biography was masterful in every since. Harwell captured both the beauty and depth of Freeman’s style without diminishing any of the wonder or essence of General Robert E. Lee the man and General. Extremely well crafted in all respects that none of the Freeman magic was lost or diluted.
    Freeman’s style was to view the Civil War events through Lee’s eyes, ears, and available information rather than examine events through post war after-the-fact analysis: What did General Lee know at the time with the information he had and could “feel”. Without going into an in-depth biographical review of General Lee, suffice it to say Mr. Freeman captured the essence of both Robert E. Lee the man and general. He artfully examines how Lee reacted to various situation and how his prior experiences and nature influenced both his decisions and personal relationships. All in all the absolute best biography ever written on General Robert E. Lee and a requirement in any Civil War expert or buff’s library.
    Note: The final 4 chapters are an incredible summation of what made Lee, Lee. Freeman gets to the nub of it all in beautifully written concise statements. The most amazing thing of all is that the characteristics of what made General Robert E. Lee great are as timely today as they were back then. In the pantheon of great Americans he stands tall, very tall.
    Must read for anyone interested in the Civil War. Harwell’s abridged version of Freeman’s masterpiece is wonderful and although 600+ pages is really a rather quick read due to the excellent writing. I found it very hard to put down and read the entire book in only 3 days. Do yourself a favor and read a magnificent biography on a true American icon.

  30. Nishan Wilde Says:

    This is perhaps the finest work I have ever read on a single individual. The book itself is remarkable both for the amount of detail and for the care with which it is documented. Robertson debunks many previous Jackson myths, and seems to be able to explore the mind of the man with comfortable ease. You get the sense that he actually was aquainted with the great man. The story of Jackson is quite thorough, presenting not only Jackson the Confederate general, but also Jackson the schoolboy, the teacher, and the devout Presbyterian. Even without the Civil War sections, this book would still be fascinating reading, especially the years in which he taught at VMI. The Civil War years are chronicled well, but be warned, this is a book about Jackson, and covers only those engagements in which he had direct influence. This is not as distracting as it sounds, and in fact is somewhat practical, as it presents the battle from Jackson’s front. The book is rather lengthy, but not monotonous, and it reads very well. The end is especially heartbreaking and emotional, and summarizes well the life of a remarkable man and his tragic death

  31. Reuben Hopkins Says:

    Such was the talent and ability of Douglas Freeman that a work which is now more than sixty-five years old still remains the best work written on Robert E. Lee. Time has made some of Freeman’s work dated. In reading this condensed version of Freeman’s four volume masterpiece, one will discover little about the social lives of soliders in the Army of Northern Virginia, Confederate politics, or the role slaves played in the Confederacy. Yet what remains still has real value. Freeman’s purpose was to write an engaging biography of Lee which would reveal every known fact and convey it in such a way that would be interesting. Yet the larger work is in many ways inaccessible to a general audience. The four volumes which have been compressed into this one volume lose little of Freeman’s original thought. Pruned from Freeman’s orgiinal are footnotes, bibliographies, and everything that is superflous. Yet the reader will find the single volume still a remarkable achievement, and that it conveys the heart of the argument. Freeman’s main accomplishment is to be able to get inside the head of Robert E. Lee. It is very much a book which seeks to convey Lee’s life, to show how he made critical decisions, and what were important qualities which contributed to his character. Freeman has little doubt as to Lee’s greatness, who he considers to be a shining example of a model Christian gentleman. While Freeman is not an apologist of the Confederacy, always a committed nationalist, he recognized that Southern defeat was in many ways a blessing. Nevertheless, Freeman as a Virginian sought to honor those who suffered, bled, and died for the Confederate cause by examining the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. Freeman was a gifted writer, and his writings on Lee have the feel of great literature, just as much as that of a important historical work. Freeman’s main contention is that Lee’s brilliant tactical and strategical insights were able to preserve and keep intact the Army of Northern Virginia. Without Lee’s real skill the war would have in all likelihood ended much sooner. Even when Lee’s efforts failed him, they came from a desire to move audaciously to allow the South to acheive it’s independence. All of these qualities made Lee, in Freeman’s view, a gifted military commander. Since _Lee_ was first published, numerous biographies have been written of the general, but none has done so well at capturing the man. Moreover, nearly all of the attempts are in one way or another heirs of Freeman’s approach. For the student of the civil war or of Confederate history _Lee_ remains an indespensible book.

  32. Sally Janssen Says:

    That it certainly is, all 762 pages of text buttressed by 188 additional pages of notes and indices. Yet with all this heft and obvious scholarship, “Stonewall Jackson” is a bit much. It’s too long! To be concise, there is FAR too much detail here. Whole sections of pages could have been truncated by that proverbial stern editor with a sharp blue pencil. (Most of those guys were laid off long ago). One gets the distinct impression self-indulgence emanating from author Robertson. Even some great battle action is drowned out in details-details-details. The formatting of pages and paragraphs is also difficult here, though perhaps the publisher had few alternatives. This admitted mapophile was satisfied with the mapping in “Stonewall”. A nice touch is the placement of a map index, allowing readers to bookmark. An interesting turn here is Professor Robertson’s apparent attitude toward Jackson. The General was a difficult, stiff-necked guy. He was secretive and single-minded, a harsh disciplinarian and critical of colleagues. If there was a Stonewall Fan Club, would the good professor join up? This reviewer was reminded of another author of lengthy tomes: Robert Caro. RC has produced 3 bios of President Lyndon Johnson, none of them highly complimentary. The final call here is that “Stonewall Jackson” is not recommended for anyone but the most avid Stonewall or Civil War aficionados. Others may wish to choose another Stonewall offering-or wait for the paperback. Why the 4 stars above? This is a case of “A” for effort. Imagine the effort Professor Robertson put forth here. For that alone, the man should take a bow.

  33. Liam McCauley Says:

    While Freeman definitely admired Lee and could be accused of putting Lee on a pedestal, I cannot dispute his writing style that kept my interest throughout the book.

    Freeman’s book is comprehensive and covers the most important events in Lee’s illustrious life:

    1. Early childhood and humiliation of his father’s bankruptcy.
    2. Brilliant academic standing at West Point.
    3. Brilliant service during the Mexican War that won the admiration of Winfield Scott and others.
    4. Stressful family life (experienced many separations from his children and invalid wife).
    5. Fateful decision to side with Virginia during the Civil War.
    6. Early Civil War service (somewhat indistinguished compared to his later service).
    7. Brilliant generalship at 2nd Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and other battles.
    8. Going up against US Grant the last two years of the war.
    9. Last years at Washington and Lee College.

    All in all, a highly recommended read of an excellent general!

  34. Hideyoshi Taro Says:

    I really enjoyed this book, even though I found it a bit tedious and dry in the details in some sections. Most of it held my riveted attention, though. I would have preferred more information about the private life and human side of Lee, whereas this biography focused more on justifying his leadership skills and strategic decisions in each battle. Now that I’ve read it, I have been told that the longer, 3-volume set contains more about Lee himself. I wish now I had elected to tackle the whole shebang.

    I won’t expound on the obvious fact that the author presents a completely one-sided view of Lee and the War. Maybe I’ve missed something out there, but I haven’t seen ANY book about the Civil War or Robert E. Lee that did not clearly reflect the subjective views of the writer. So…I do not find that the author’s regard for the man is a detriment in any way.

    I recommend this book highly for anyone interested in Lee or the battles of the War. Just don’t make this the only book you read about it!

  35. Amit Bhalla Says:

    this detailed biography of stonewall jackson gives new depth and meaning to the word “hagiography.” to say it is totally devoid of objectivity would be an understatement. robertson is deeply in love with the persona of ‘the christian warrior”, and he ranks jackson and lee in that category. although the book is rich in detail, much of the information is trivial or irrelevant to an understanding of jackson, who can best be described as a highly eccentric religious zealot who was fortunate in the quality of the enemy generals that fate threw his way.

    however, i cannot deny that he was a ‘good’ christian” (which lincoln, grant and sherman were not) since jackson, like lee, understood that the “holy bible” clearly justifies human bondage and mass slaughter. jackson went to war with the knowledge that jehovah was on his side, and, to be frank, if such a being actually existed, based on the atrocities he perpetrated in the bible, he would most likely have blessed jackson and his efforts to break up the united states of america (the finest nation ever to grace this planet) and to perpetuate the institution of slavery.

    jackson was a man who actually believed that the majority of the human race, including his union foes, were destined for eternal torture at the hands of the monster god that he worshipped. i fail to find that an admirable trait.

    robertson, himself a christian minister masquerading at present as an objective historian, has set up stonewall jackson as an icon for contemporary fundamentalist christians to worship. as for me, i recognize jackson for what he actually was…a mean-spirited, humorless, blue-light presbyterian who bent every effort over a two year period in a war against his country in defense of the abomination of slavery. his death at the hands of his own men at chancellorsville must be seen as a “blessing” and not as a tragedy.

    having said all this, there is still much to recommend in this book, which has been copiously researched. most of the book deals with jackson’s career as a civil war general, and this is fortunate since prior to thewar, the man had to be one of the most uninteresting personalities in human history.

    when all is said and done, i would rather have known a man like dan sickles than thomas jackson. for all his faults, sickles did not own slaves, had a sense of humor, and fought for the good old usa.

    this book should be seen in its proper context…as a blow struck on behalf of fundamentalist christians in their holy war against secularism and liberalism. lee and jackson are two saints in the pantheon of the bob jones university crowd. robertson, like douglas freeman before him, has taken a flawed human being and created a god.

  36. Brent Delaurentis Says:

    Many argue that Thomas Jonathan Jackson ranks as one the best soldiers in America. Certainly Jackson was one of the most dynamic, intelligent, and interesting officers of the Civil War. Known for discipline, poise, and religious faith, Jackson showcased remarkable traits that few officers possessed. With Jackson, men followed. He remains as one of the most well-known military figures this country has ever produced.

    What makes Robertson’s study of Jackson unique and credible to other biographies is its attention to detail and Jackson’s life before the Civil War. Too often, Civil War biographies focus too much on the subject’s military career rather than the social and personal apsects which shaped the subject’s character. In the case of Jackson, Robertson illustrates that his past shaped the man we now know on the battlefield. Robertson’s insight teaches us that his upbringing in West Virginia and his education at West Point forced Jackson to discipline himself in order to be the best.

    Finally, Robertson’s biography will not be the last on Jackson. But it certainly may be the best tribute to one of America’s best soldiers.

  37. Jerry Halsey Says:

    Engrossing, exhaustive bio on one of the most fascinating men in U.S. history. Lee is hard to know, many authors have tried to speculate what made him tick, but he is a bit of an enigma. The author does a fine job of giving the reader a real education on Lee. Honestly, you don’t need to be a Civil War scholar, to enjoy this well researched book. Lee was a man who believed in God and country, exceled at West Point, and was a man of letters, but at the same time he turned his back on the country of his birth, which he had sworn a oath to..to say Lee had honor is a paradox.

  38. Steve Nakamoto Says:

    First, let me say I enjoyed Robertson’s book immensely. If you’re a yankee, and have read “Northern” histories of this or that battle (Stephen Sears is a favorite of mine) or campaign, this book will make a tremendous addition to your overall understanding, with its unabashed and sometimes politically incorrect Southern viewpoint. (For example escaped slaves captured at Harpers Ferry are referred to as “recovered”, and Robertson immediately passes on the rumor that Stonewall’s Union-sister was [literally!] “in bed” with Union officers) One buys this book to learn about Tom Jackson, and in this you will not be diappointed. I loved the pictures included, although a picture of his surviving daughter might have been a nice addition.

    A host of other characters pop up and many are treated if not dismissively, then as somewhat cartoonish figures, but this isn’t a knock. The book would run double length if Robertson got sidetracked by other towering personalities like Lee or Longstreet. I was put off that Robertson accepted the notion that Pope wrote the bragging communique about being used to seeing the enemies backs in the west. I’ve read in numerous other books that Stanton did that one over Pope’s name.

    But Robertson evenhandedly gives Howard’s XI Corps a break, pointing out that brave man in a bad spot did their best against Jackson’s great flanking assault at Chancellorsville.

    And, the last chapter will break your heart. Just like the movie Titanic, you know how the book ends, but it is finely written, and understated.

    I’ll buy whatever else Professor Robertson cares to write!

  39. Suzann Kale Says:

    While no one can doubt Bud Robertson’s writing ability, his interpretation of Jackson’s life is somewhat to the right of Douglas Southall Freeman. His book, while quite long, is well organized, and written, but is in essence, nothing more than the same Lost Cause party line. His insistence on sticking with the traditional story of Jackson earning his sobriquet at 1st Manassas, and his near brush with Historical Fiction concerning Jackson’s last moments, is convincing enough evidence that Robertson was not looking for new insight into the man, the soldier, or the legend that was Stonewall Jackson. I’ll stick with Frank Vandiver and Lenoir Chambers’ biographies.

  40. Bryan Leonard Says:

    This biography focuses too much on Lee’s Civil War military actions, and not enough about his private life. Also, it needs a lot more maps to fully follow the descriptions of the battles.

    One thing I found unsettling is the erroneous descriptions of Lee’s relationship with Montgomery Meigs, the army engineer who worked for Lee on the Mississippi River projects when they were both young officers. Meigs ultimately grew to become a force in the founding of Arlington National Cemetery, on the property where Lee’s mansion was located. It is well known that although Lee and Meigs worked well together on the early project, and parted friends at the time, they developed a very hostile relationship later when Lee decided to cast his lot with the South. Meigs even advocated that Lee should be sentenced to death if caught. Having been made Quartermaster General of the Federal army, Meigs led the way to appropriation of the Lee estate, its conversion to a cemetery for Union dead, and ultimately the establishment of the Arlington National Cemetery on the site. After the war, Meigs advocated the deportation of Lee, and fought the Lee family’s effort to regain title to the Arlington property. The Lees regained the property nevertheless, and sold it back to the government which could not at that stage abandon the well established burial place.

    In contrast to these facts, Freeman states that after leaving the Mississippi projects, “Lee parted from Meigs when they reached Washington and was not again fortunate enough to have him as an assistant, but he was always affectionately remembered by the younger man, even when war divided them”. This conclusion doesn’t result from lack of information, because the facts were known in 1934 when Freeman wrote the book, and it leads you to wonder what else is incorrect in the book.

  41. Joshua D B Says:

    Douglas Southall Freeman’s multivolume “R.E. Lee” may have been published nearly three-quarters of a century ago, but this abridged version remains the best single biography ever written about the legendary Confederate general. Although there have been numerous books written about Lee, none have come as close to capturing Lee’s military genius, or why so many Southerners enthusiastically fought and died under his banner, as does Freeman’s work. When it was first published “Lee” was a sensation, and in the 1930′s only Margaret Mitchell’s wildly fictionalized “Gone With the Wind” surpassed it in sales and publicity. Senator Harry Truman read every volume, as did other famous political and military leaders. Freeman’s work did much to spread the “Lee Legend” outside the South and made Lee into a national, and not merely regional, icon. Of course, Freeman has since been criticized, and in some ways justly so, for his overwhelming pro-Lee bias. In Freeman’s elegant prose Robert Edward Lee is nearly perfect in every respect – he is a modest, deeply religious man who dislikes slavery and secession but reluctantly agrees to side with his native state of Virginia when the Civil War begins. If the rest of Freeman’s story sounds familiar it is because this book made it so. Lee, despite facing constant shortages of men and supplies, meets the overwhelming forces of the Northern States and defeats them in battle after battle. Yet after each defeat the Northerners simply recruit new soldiers, resupply their vast armies, and come after Lee’s valiant but shrinking forces again and again. In the end not even Lee’s tactical genius can save the outnumbered and outgunned Confederates from eventual (and in Freeman’s opinion, inevitable) defeat. Naturally, other historians have not always agreed with this view of the Old South’s greatest icon, and later books on the “Gray Fox” have disputed Freeman’s assertions that Lee was opposed to slavery and secession, or that his military decisions were always correct. For example, Freeman argues that the South lost the crucial Battle of Gettysburg largely because of the stubborness and jealously of Lee’s second-in-command, General James Longstreet. Longstreet had opposed Lee’s plan in June 1863 to try and crush the Northern Army of the Potomac by invading Pennsylvania and forcing the Yankees into a final, apocalyptic battle on their own turf. On the second day at Gettysburg Lee ordered Longstreet to have his men attack a small rocky hill, called Little Round Top, which offered a commanding view of the battlefield. Longstreet didn’t want to attack such a well-defended position, and instead he tried to convince Lee to simply move around the Northern Army’s flank and attack it from behind. According to Freeman, when Lee disagreed with Longstreet’s suggestion and ordered him to attack the hill, a sullen Longstreet moved so slowly against Little Round Top that it gave the Yankees time to “dig in” and repulse his assault. However, more recent historians (as exemplified in Michael Shaara’s famed novel, “The Killer Angels”) have claimed that Longstreet was correct in his reluctance to attack Little Round Top, and that Lee should have taken Longstreet’s advice. Yet no matter how disputed Lee’s strategy or beliefs are in these “politically-correct” times, this book’s elegant prose, flawless research, and passion for its subject shine through on every page. There may have been other books written about Robert E Lee, but none have done so well at potraying his life or in explaining why, even today, his tactics are studied at military academies and his legend continues to thrive in many parts of the South. A genuine “must-read” for any Civil War buff or student of military history.

  42. Stephen C Carter Says:

    This is a review of the full four volume set that I purchased from a craigslist seller.

    This biography of General Robert E. Lee would have you believe that he was the ultimate Southern gentleman: dutiful, handsome, brave, pious, generous, and nearly faultless practically from the day he was born. It may be so. There’s no doubt that he exhibited all of these qualities, but many of the observations no longer ring true. For instance, the author’s assertion that because Lee spent very little time in Virginia after going off to West Point, he saw only the “good” side of slavery is a hollow argument in my opinion. Likewise, Lee’s own statement that slavery was not only good for the negro (his term) race, but also God’s will (and one dare not defy the will of God) is spurious at best. God’s will must have mellowed late in the war because Lee himself forwarded a plan to Jefferson Davis to offer emancipation to slaves who would fight for the Confederacy. The apparent contradiction in these views goes unquestioned. His care for the common soldier (even captured Federals) is oft quoted; the state of Union prisoners in the South goes unmentioned (I am being a bit unfair here, as Lee had nothing to do with the administration of POW camps, but you get the point).

    Likewise the common soldier of the Army of Northern Virginia is second only to Lee in valor and duty. In fact, 40% of all Southern armies had gone AWOL by 1863. There is hardly any mention of them ever being taken prisoner. Lee had strict standing orders against looting by his soldiers while in the North. Strictly true, but they still took what they wanted and “paid” for it with worthless Confederate currency.

    Lee’s lieutenants get more even treatment, but even here their rougher edges are polished off. For instance Dick Ewell is said to use “quaint” language; a better description would be “blisteringly profane.”

    The real treasure of these books is to the planning, maps, movements, and thought processes behind the conduct of the War by the Army of Northern Virginia. I know of no better source for information of the engagements of Lee’s Army. Great care is taken to present only the information that Lee had available at the time of each, which makes his victories all the more remarkable. His ability to balance chance and reward in the face of long odds is equally remarkable. The book is also relentlessly footnoted and provides insight into the author’s conclusions on topics that are not universally accepted.

    In short, a great reference for the Civil War buff, but too skewed for the casual reader.

  43. Margaret H. Amanda Says:

    James Robertson has produced the definitive look at Jackson, and unearthed some new material in the process. I was especially pleased that he focused on Jackson’s private life, and he writes with particular finesse about Jackson’s first marriage and the effect her early death had upon Stonewall’s psyche. Equally interesting are the unintentionally hilarious stories of Jackson as a teacher at VMI and what a truly horrific instructor he was: boring, pedantic and one who droned on insufferably during lectures.

    Robertson’s thorough grasp of Jackson’s military role in the civil war is exhaustively examined. The only criticism is that the book verges on hagiography, and little questionable or negative material appears in the book. Jackson’s generalship should have been more critically examined, instead of making excuses for his mistakes in judgment and execution. Jackson’s sometime troubled relationships with subordinates is also glossed over, or the advantage invariably given to Stonewall. Still, this biography is so readable and well-written that its faults are easily overlooked.

  44. Washington Stoker Says:

    If you want a single-volume biography on Robert E. Lee, Richard Harwell’s abridgment of William Southall Freeman’s four-volume Pulitzer-prize-winning biography is a pretty good place to start. It is an extremely readable, solid (did I mention the Pulitzer?) history that covers the significant events in Lee’s life, and more importantly delves into some of the thinking of the reserved General as he made critical decisions as a commander.
    Oddly, in many ways, I came away as intrigued by the author Freeman as I was by the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. Freeman, a leading proponent of the “Lost Cause” school of Civil War history, at times leaves history behind and slips into hagiography. However, as Freeman was the son of a confederate veteran, would one really have it any other way? As an abridgement, this volume lacks the details and footnotes that might add context for the serious historian, and it would be nice to have more maps. But then, if you really want that detail, go read the unabridged biography. Admittedly Feeman does write in a dated style, but that only adds to the fun. While Lee is portrayed as a great soldier and a gentleman in the finest traditions of the South, I came away thinking how nice it would be if one could have one last bourbon with Douglas Southall Freeman.

  45. LenardHunter Says:

    I do not think another biography of Stonewall has captured the passion and humanity of the man since Dr. Dabney’s initial biography a century ago. Mr. Robertson has gotten inside the story and given human form to a character in history many have failed to animate. He is not the starched lifeless robot or God’s puppet as some have portrayed him but a real loving, working, and dying human being. When I ended the book I felt as though I had lost a dear brother – melancholy as one would expect from a well-done biography.

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