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A Life of General Robert E. Lee (Annotated): Biography, Childhood, Family, Civil War, Battles, Life after Civil War

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The decisive moment had now arrived which was to test him. He was placed in command of the largest and most important army in the Confederacy, and to him was intrusted the defence of the capital not only of Virginia, but of the South. If Richmond were to fall, the Confederate Congress, executive, and heads of departments, would all be fugitives. The evacuation of Virginia The decisive moment had now arrived which was to test him. He was placed in command of the largest and most important army in the Confederacy, and to him was intrusted the defence of the capital not only of Virginia, but of the South. If Richmond were to fall, the Confederate Congress, executive, and heads of departments, would all be fugitives. The evacuation of Virginia might or might not follow, but, in the very commencement of the conflict, the enemy would achieve an immense advantage. Recognition by the European powers would be hopeless in such an event, and the wandering and fugitive government of the Confederacy would excite only contempt.


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The decisive moment had now arrived which was to test him. He was placed in command of the largest and most important army in the Confederacy, and to him was intrusted the defence of the capital not only of Virginia, but of the South. If Richmond were to fall, the Confederate Congress, executive, and heads of departments, would all be fugitives. The evacuation of Virginia The decisive moment had now arrived which was to test him. He was placed in command of the largest and most important army in the Confederacy, and to him was intrusted the defence of the capital not only of Virginia, but of the South. If Richmond were to fall, the Confederate Congress, executive, and heads of departments, would all be fugitives. The evacuation of Virginia might or might not follow, but, in the very commencement of the conflict, the enemy would achieve an immense advantage. Recognition by the European powers would be hopeless in such an event, and the wandering and fugitive government of the Confederacy would excite only contempt.

56 review for A Life of General Robert E. Lee (Annotated): Biography, Childhood, Family, Civil War, Battles, Life after Civil War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Storm Poetry

    The Life of General Robert E. Lee, a fascinating study in American history. Byline: The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca) Title of Book: The Life of Robert E. Lee Author: John Esten Cooke Narrator: Joseph B. Kearns Publisher: Legacy Audio Books (www.legacyaudiobooks.com) Date of Publication: 2015 Time: 15 hours 6 minutes “The Grand Old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men, He marched them up to the top of the hill, And he marched them down again.” - Children’s Nursery Rhyme The Life of General Ro The Life of General Robert E. Lee, a fascinating study in American history. Byline: The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.ca) Title of Book: The Life of Robert E. Lee Author: John Esten Cooke Narrator: Joseph B. Kearns Publisher: Legacy Audio Books (www.legacyaudiobooks.com) Date of Publication: 2015 Time: 15 hours 6 minutes “The Grand Old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men, He marched them up to the top of the hill, And he marched them down again.” - Children’s Nursery Rhyme The Life of General Robert E. Lee is not only a biography, a study in the character of Lee, it is a blow by blow account of the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) and a fascinating record of American history. Written by John Esten Cooke who was a lawyer, poet, author and veteran of this war, writing the biography at the time Lee was still alive, the author uses direct quotes of dialogue by the principals (including Lee), official military communiqués and personal letters, all of which makes this book bring American history alive. The Audio Book is narrated by Joseph B. Kearns, with clear diction and characterization, the written word is cast into magic. It is interesting to note that the language of the time (1860) has morphed since the time of John Quincy Adams (late 1700's), and much of the formality has been lost, becoming more spare and closer to the speech of the modern America. The beginning chapters introduce the history of the Lee family, originally Normans that fought with William the Conqueror, razing England and settling there in 1066, becoming the Essex family line. Having supported Charles I, who was overthrown, they emigrated to Virginia and the New World. His father was General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee and Lee followed in his footsteps attending West Point with a military career; he specialized in military engineering, astronomy and was a staff officer. Mr. Cooke presents General Robert E. Lee in glowing terms, describing his physical beauty, noble bearing, and popularity, going so far as to say the Lee family was loved all over the world and Lee “was loved by his enemies”. Mr. Cooke also notes Lee had an unwaivering attachment to his call to duty as a soldier and as a patriot of the Confederate Army. “His fame as a soldier, great as it is, yields to the true glory of having placed duty before his eyes always as the supreme object of life. He resigned his commission from a sense of duty to his native state; made this same duty his sole aim in every portion of his subsequent career; and, when all had failed, and the cause he had fought for was overthrown, it was the consciousness of having performed conscientiously, and to the utmost, his whole duty, which took the sting from defeat, and gave him that noble calmness which the whole world saw and admired.” Perhaps too close to his subject or the ravages of the war, Mr. Cooke’s presentation is not totally objective. He lavishes praise on someone so attached to “duty” they miss the point that enslavement of the Blacks is against the Holy Spirit Way and against God. A “cult of ego” miscast, he is a good looking, intelligent, charismatic leader who does not understand that the premise of slavery is wrong. In reality, General Robert E. Lee is an impressive misanthrope, always talking about what is the right thing to do, concerned with the will of God, without a truly defined moral construct he has ended up a leader on the wrong side of a war. Having success against the American Army defending Virginia, Lee moves his army north to invade Maryland. He sends a poster to the people of Maryland, an appeal “The people of the Confederate states have along watched with the deepest sympathy the wrongs and outrages that have been inflicted upon the citizens of a Commonwealth allied to the states of the South by the strongest social, political, and commercial ties. They have seen, with profound indignation, their sister state deprived of every right, and reduced to the condition of a conquered province.” This missive raves on and is signed by General Robert E. Lee. “Either their sentiment in the favor of the Union was too strong, or they found nothing in the condition of affairs to encourage their Southern feelings.” So nothing much is wrong in Maryland according to the local people. During the last days of the war, his troops are severely depleted, the end of the war is imminent, he says, “There is nothing left but to go to General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths!” On the last day of the war, he goes on to say, “Human virtue should be equal to human calamity” (as if his compulsion to duty was everything despite the grave suffering of his soldiers). General Robert E. Lee was an impressive misanthrope and dangerous. Despite being caught up in the miasma of charisma around Lee, Mr. Cooke presents the accounts of the Civil War as a detailed and an exciting presentation of military strategy in the mid-1800’s. The campaign is fought with muskets and bayonets, and lines of men that fire into each other. Strategy involved troop movements and like a chess game, second guessing and outsmarting the opposing General to gain territory. The second battle of Manassas described: “An obstinate conflict ensued, the opposing lines fighting almost bayonet to bayonet, delivering their volleys into each other at the distance of ten paces.” The Confederate Army despite fighting with reduced numbers of soldiers compared with the Federal Army, won all the battles until the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Lee was a master of military strategy and his men loved and admired him, “He was naturally simple and kind, with great gentleness and patience . . . the private soldiers . . . were the most meritorious class of the army, and that they deserved and should receive the utmost respect and consideration.” The names of the battles follow in infamy, The Battle of Chickahominy (Lee’s Army: 75,000 men, Federal Army: 150,000 men), the 2nd Battle of Manassas (Lee’s Army: 50,000 men, Federal Army: 100,000 men), the Battle of Sharpsburg (Lee’s Army: less than 40,000 men, Federal Army: 87,000 men), the Battle of Fredericksburg (Lee’s Army: about 50,000, Federal Army: 110,000 – 120,000 men) and on. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, two officers of the Federal Army under General Burnside were overheard talking: “What do you think of it?”, “It don’t seem to have the ring’” was the reply. “No the bell is broken,” the other added.” As if predicting a turn in the fortunes of the war. The American Civil War was a divisive time in American history, pitting brother against brother, the manufacturing economy of the north against the agricultural economy of the south as well as on the moral grounds of the existence of slavery. The death toll was heavy, estimates range from 618,222 to 750,000 men died in battle. The personalities, and events in The Life of Robert E. Lee are a fascinating and intimate presentation of the American Civil War, a culturally significant work. An adventure in American history from Legacy Audio Books. Genre: AudioBooks, History, Biography, Military Memoir

  2. 4 out of 5

    randy

    Southern bias The author is blinded by his love of South. But the book also has some insight into the conflict and Lee’s personality.

  3. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Enjoyed this book about the famous general. I had no thought much about the huge personal sacrifice he had to make to leave the army and go with his home state of Virginia.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book was written in the 19th century so it was recent history when it was written. History that is written as soon as it happens is easier to remember and can be more accurate.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luckngrace

    I was fascinated with the Lee family history which begins near the beginning of British history. Lee forbears fought and won again and again over the generations. Kings showed their gratitude with land grants, estates, titles, the Order of the Garter, and every kind of treasure olden times had to offer. Robert E. Lee inherited his talent for battle strategy and leadership from a long line of heroes. Robert, himself, was a simple man with none of the hauteur officers of the day exhibited. He walke I was fascinated with the Lee family history which begins near the beginning of British history. Lee forbears fought and won again and again over the generations. Kings showed their gratitude with land grants, estates, titles, the Order of the Garter, and every kind of treasure olden times had to offer. Robert E. Lee inherited his talent for battle strategy and leadership from a long line of heroes. Robert, himself, was a simple man with none of the hauteur officers of the day exhibited. He walked among the men and never failed to speak kindly to the lowliest man, always taking responsibility for failure in battle. He was a man of great faith in God. He never lost the war. When replacements and food were withheld again and again from his army, his staff officers convinced Lee to give up. There was nothing in the countryside to forage. His soldiers had marched throughout many states without shoes, often in the rain and mud, sometimes not eating for weeks. Still, he refused to surrender until General Grant agreed to very generous terms that allowed his men to go home immediately in peace, retaining a horse and sometimes, even a weapon for hunting. After the war, Lee had nothing left. His estate was confiscated and now is known as Arlington National Cemetary. Still, he received letters of want from old soldiers and widows daily. He was often seen giving money to people who waylaid him as he left church. He collapsed after church one Sunday and died 2 weeks later of a "brain fever". Many said he died of a broken heart. The last part of the book contained many eulogies from the different states and regions. The words were beautiful and I realized how America has lost her gift for oratory. Would that our presidential candidates could express themselves this well. Expressing emotion, truth and heart is just as important as the cold, hard facts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Contemporary Southern hagiography of Lee that's interesting to the extent it greatly elevates McClellan. Cooke clearly does that so Lee has a worthy opponent to defeat. If McClellan is ineffectual and dithering, Lee's generalship is similarly reduced. Other than that, it's a hagiography so it dang near deifies Lee. Also includes several eulogies and resolutions and news articles published at the time of Lee's death. Contemporary Southern hagiography of Lee that's interesting to the extent it greatly elevates McClellan. Cooke clearly does that so Lee has a worthy opponent to defeat. If McClellan is ineffectual and dithering, Lee's generalship is similarly reduced. Other than that, it's a hagiography so it dang near deifies Lee. Also includes several eulogies and resolutions and news articles published at the time of Lee's death.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    I really enjoyed this one. Yes, it was rather flowery in some spots, but it definitely gave me a good view of how things looked on the ground during the Civil War. The author was much more complimentary towards McClellan than other writers I have read. But what I really came away with was a great appreciation for Lee himself. He was a remarkable man.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike Vendetti

    Robert E Lee never put his memoirs down. John Easton Cook, however was a writer and soldier who survived the Civil War. He knew and admired General Lee. I narrated this as an audiobook available on audible.com, and highly recommended it to anyone assuming a leadership position, or a scholar of the American Civil War.

  9. 4 out of 5

    B.

    Fascinating. Sometimes the 19th century style of writing gets old, but there is much to admire about this book and its subject.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    This was hard to read and far too technical.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy Mcphink

    I love General Lee but this book just did not do it for me. I found it kind of boring.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Rowe

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ray Stafford

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Sowers

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

  19. 4 out of 5

    Graham

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pheisey Heisey

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Mark

  22. 5 out of 5

    Frank Collier

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ash

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Taylor

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wenzel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rod Hewlett

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Kapusta

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eric Lugo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mitch

  31. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Audirsch

  32. 5 out of 5

    Teddee

  33. 4 out of 5

    Dawnm636

  34. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Carruth

  35. 4 out of 5

    F. John

  36. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick

  37. 5 out of 5

    Maudie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Norma

  39. 4 out of 5

    J

  40. 5 out of 5

    Lloyd

  41. 4 out of 5

    Whitebeard Books

  42. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  43. 5 out of 5

    William B

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tobie

  45. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  46. 4 out of 5

    Michael Reed

  47. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  48. 4 out of 5

    James

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  50. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Parrish

  51. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  52. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

  53. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  54. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

  55. 4 out of 5

    Matt Cohen

  56. 5 out of 5

    Eric

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