• by Clifford Dowdey
  • Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner
  • 33 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

General Robert E. Lee is well known as a major figure in the Civil War. However, by removing Lee from the delimiting frame of the Civil War and placing him in the context of the Republic's total history, Dowdey shows the "eternal relevance" of this tragic figure to the American heritage. With access to hundreds of personal letters, Dowdey brings fresh insights into Lee's background and personal relationships and examines the factors which made Lee that rare specimen, a "complete person." In tracing Lee's reluctant involvement in the sectional conflict, Dowdey shows that he was essentially a peacemaker, very advanced in his disbelief in war as a resolution.
Lee had never led troops in combat until suddenly given command of a demoralized, hodgepodge force under siege from McClellan in front of Richmond. In a detailed study of Lee's growth in the mastery of the techniques of war, he shows his early mistakes, the nature of his seemingly intuitive powers, the limitations imposed by his personal character and physical decline, and the effect of this character on the men with whom he created a legendary army. It was after the fighting was over that Dowdey believes Lee made his most significant and neglected achievement. As a symbol of the defeated people, he rose above all hostilities and, in the wreckage of his own fortunes, advocated rebuilding a New South, for which he set the example with his progressive program in education. The essence of Lee's tragedy was the futility of his efforts toward the harmonious restoration of the Republic with the dissensions of the past forgotten.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not Much Of An Intimate Portrait

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Thought a huge CW fan (I've bought dozens of volumes on the Civil War here and elsewhere, but this volume, while it may have been an attempt an intimate portrayal of Lee, it just didn't succeed. I didn't feel like the author had a handle on Lee.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I've be listening to more Civil War histories.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Malcolm Hillgartner?

That may be part of the presentation's problem but the material seemed weak.

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- The Modest Scribbler

the best history of Gen. Lee and the South

This book is an absolute must for anyone that wants to know how the civil war developed and General Lee's performance in and after the war. Its daring and controversial but the first civil war book that I have read that presents exactly why the civil war was fought. The author then goes on to tell how and why Lee and the war itself became idealized in the hearts and minds of the Southern people after its defeat.
Well written and best of all well researched. No biases, just cold hard facts. History presented as it was isnt politically correct but its refreshing for history buffs.
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- Brent

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-07-2017
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio