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R E Lee: A Biography: Volume I

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This four-volume work won the 1935 Pulitzer Prize in Biography.


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This four-volume work won the 1935 Pulitzer Prize in Biography.

30 review for R E Lee: A Biography: Volume I

  1. 5 out of 5

    Austin Gisriel

    Volume 1 of the four volume set reads with ease as it covers Lee's life from birth through very early 1862. Despite its 600+ pages, it is a quick read. Freeman is obviously a great admirer of Lee, and it seems that he set out to justify the admiration in which Lee was held, especially in 1934 when the book was published. Were such a treatment to be published today, it would be attacked on various grounds, but Freeman's documentation is so thorough that this reader is inclined to believe that, in Volume 1 of the four volume set reads with ease as it covers Lee's life from birth through very early 1862. Despite its 600+ pages, it is a quick read. Freeman is obviously a great admirer of Lee, and it seems that he set out to justify the admiration in which Lee was held, especially in 1934 when the book was published. Were such a treatment to be published today, it would be attacked on various grounds, but Freeman's documentation is so thorough that this reader is inclined to believe that, in fact, Lee was a most admirable man. Freeman also avoids a critical mistake that many modern writers of history and biography make: He judges the man in the context of the times in which he lived, and does not hold Lee to the standard of "he should have known." I am looking forward to reading the other three volumes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Micah Douthit

    Douglas Southall Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Robert E. Lee is thorough, complete, and well researched. This volume (1 of 4) goes from his early life through the first few battles of the Civil War. The word "thorough" does not begin to describe how detailed of an account of Lee's life is portrayed by Freeman. He reports Lee's grades and standing at West Point not one time, but at multiple points during his years at the academy. He also records every book that Lee ever checked ou Douglas Southall Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Robert E. Lee is thorough, complete, and well researched. This volume (1 of 4) goes from his early life through the first few battles of the Civil War. The word "thorough" does not begin to describe how detailed of an account of Lee's life is portrayed by Freeman. He reports Lee's grades and standing at West Point not one time, but at multiple points during his years at the academy. He also records every book that Lee ever checked out of the library at West Point. Although this seems to drag out the story at first, the level of detail is used be Freeman to show the interests of Lee and the war heroes that he emulated during his campaigns in the Mexican War and the Civil War. Freeman uses the "fog of war history" so well that it makes you feel as if you are in the shoes of Lee during the early years of his life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Raborg

    This is often praised as one of the best biographies of R. E. Lee. It certainly feels very complete. I have not learned so many details about Lee’s early life as in this first volume, and I cannot wait to start volume two.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Outstanding in all respects compared to most traditional biographies. Well researched, maybe too much detail at times. Insights provided by the author in Vol. I go a long way rounding out a rich and full perspective on Lee’s life up to the beginning of the Civil War. Love that Freeman goes so far as explaining his thoughts on strengths and weaknesses derived from Lee’s life and how those contributed to his Civil war experience. Critics say it doesn’t go far enough in addressing slavery, but I di Outstanding in all respects compared to most traditional biographies. Well researched, maybe too much detail at times. Insights provided by the author in Vol. I go a long way rounding out a rich and full perspective on Lee’s life up to the beginning of the Civil War. Love that Freeman goes so far as explaining his thoughts on strengths and weaknesses derived from Lee’s life and how those contributed to his Civil war experience. Critics say it doesn’t go far enough in addressing slavery, but I didn’t see that as the texts primary objective.

  5. 5 out of 5

    LeBron Matthews

    Excellent book

  6. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Written in the 1930's. I found it very detailed. Vol #1 of 4 vol set. Written in the 1930's. I found it very detailed. Vol #1 of 4 vol set.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jwt Jan50

    Pulitzer bio/auto bio 1935. Overlaps with Freeman's bio of Washington and his Lee's Lieutenants. Currently doing a lot of research on World War 2 - it's amazing how many men of all ranks, backgrounds and regions were reading these 4 volumes. Unfortunately, in many cases, left unfinished. Pulitzer bio/auto bio 1935. Overlaps with Freeman's bio of Washington and his Lee's Lieutenants. Currently doing a lot of research on World War 2 - it's amazing how many men of all ranks, backgrounds and regions were reading these 4 volumes. Unfortunately, in many cases, left unfinished.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Nelson

    Although probably this is the most authoritative biography of Lee, it was written by a "Lost Cause" perspective. So, Lee defended Virginia in the "war of Northern aggression". Oh yeah, slavery might have been involved, but the North started it. One shouldn't read this to understand the causes of the Civil War, but more to learn military logistics and strategy. After all, the style Freeman takes enables one to understand the problems as Lee faced them, with the "fog of war" and all. This book ends Although probably this is the most authoritative biography of Lee, it was written by a "Lost Cause" perspective. So, Lee defended Virginia in the "war of Northern aggression". Oh yeah, slavery might have been involved, but the North started it. One shouldn't read this to understand the causes of the Civil War, but more to learn military logistics and strategy. After all, the style Freeman takes enables one to understand the problems as Lee faced them, with the "fog of war" and all. This book ends in 1861, and focuses more detail and attention on Lee's career in the Civil War...but it begins several generations prior, quickly skimming Lee's genealogy. All in all, an entertaining read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Superb, understand the Pulitzer Prize of this series (or just this vol?). Enjoyed, rather than bothered, by the series of lists that Freeman presents within the text, such as books Lee checked out while at West Point, ancestry, etc. Definitely parts of this book were "throwback" and showed this work in the time of its' writing (the 20's or 30's), but this made me enjoy the work even more, because you feel like Freeman isn't just trying to be thorough or long in tooth, but wants to share some of Superb, understand the Pulitzer Prize of this series (or just this vol?). Enjoyed, rather than bothered, by the series of lists that Freeman presents within the text, such as books Lee checked out while at West Point, ancestry, etc. Definitely parts of this book were "throwback" and showed this work in the time of its' writing (the 20's or 30's), but this made me enjoy the work even more, because you feel like Freeman isn't just trying to be thorough or long in tooth, but wants to share some of the interesting points that seeing a collective list, especially one over timeframes, can only convey.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    The first volume of Douglas Southall Freeman's classic on the life of Robert E. Lee. Volume I starts from his childhood in Virginia and was the son of the legendary Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee. Robert E. Lee grew up in Alexandria Virginia and later went to the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. He studied engineering and later became superintendent of the United States Military Academy. He also served in the Mexican War as well. Later on when his home stat The first volume of Douglas Southall Freeman's classic on the life of Robert E. Lee. Volume I starts from his childhood in Virginia and was the son of the legendary Revolutionary War hero Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee. Robert E. Lee grew up in Alexandria Virginia and later went to the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. He studied engineering and later became superintendent of the United States Military Academy. He also served in the Mexican War as well. Later on when his home state Virgina seceded from the Union as well as other southern states, He resigned his commission from the U.S. Army and became general of the Confederate Army.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Avis Black

    Unfortunately I cannot recommend this work. Freeman respects Lee too much to analyze him; he simply states facts. The prose seems to have been dumbed down for the general reading public and is somewhere close to junior-high school level. Well, it must have worked, for it won Freeman a Pulitzer Prize. But Freeman can write more intelligently than this. (See the three volumes of Lee's Lieutenants for his masterpiece). Unfortunately I cannot recommend this work. Freeman respects Lee too much to analyze him; he simply states facts. The prose seems to have been dumbed down for the general reading public and is somewhere close to junior-high school level. Well, it must have worked, for it won Freeman a Pulitzer Prize. But Freeman can write more intelligently than this. (See the three volumes of Lee's Lieutenants for his masterpiece).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wolfington

    I read the full 4 volumes and they are the definitive biography of Robert E. Lee. From his ancestors until his death, this book covers it all. Most of the work focuses on his participation in the Civil War, and Freeman has been to all the battlefields and has conferred with American and European military officers to help accurately describe just what happened. I can't recommend this highly enough for Civil War or military buffs. I read the full 4 volumes and they are the definitive biography of Robert E. Lee. From his ancestors until his death, this book covers it all. Most of the work focuses on his participation in the Civil War, and Freeman has been to all the battlefields and has conferred with American and European military officers to help accurately describe just what happened. I can't recommend this highly enough for Civil War or military buffs.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Brown

    So far, this is a very thoroughly researched biography, well written and interesting. While the author obviously has a favorable view of Lee, I don't believe he is guilty of hero worship and his analysis of Lee's early failure in Western Virginia is balanced and objective. Will be moving on to the next volume immediately. So far, this is a very thoroughly researched biography, well written and interesting. While the author obviously has a favorable view of Lee, I don't believe he is guilty of hero worship and his analysis of Lee's early failure in Western Virginia is balanced and objective. Will be moving on to the next volume immediately.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Good heavens. This brings back memories of my youth. This and Lee's Lieutenants were the first books that I purchased. Well done but Freeman's excuses for Lee did not let me see how conventional was his approach to slavery and the mistakes he made at Gettysburg. So I put this at 3 stars simply because of my personal experience. Good heavens. This brings back memories of my youth. This and Lee's Lieutenants were the first books that I purchased. Well done but Freeman's excuses for Lee did not let me see how conventional was his approach to slavery and the mistakes he made at Gettysburg. So I put this at 3 stars simply because of my personal experience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard Stephenson

    Excelent book, I an not say enough good about it. Well researched and written!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  18. 5 out of 5

    Austin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan Lutts

  21. 5 out of 5

    William Shelton

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  25. 5 out of 5

    JackieQiu

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob Bingham

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Caswell

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Scheer

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

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