The Best Book on Robert E. Lee is "R.E. Lee: A Biography" by Douglass Southall Freeman

Pat Young

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#1
lee free.JPG


The Best Book on Robert E. Lee was an out-of-print classic R.E. Lee: A Biography by Douglass Southall Freeman. The four volume biography was published in 1934 and 1935. It won the 1935 Pulitzer Prize. Folks are invited to offer their thoughts on this massive biography.
 
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Pat Young

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#2
Here was the final vote tally:

poll.JPG


As you can see, Freeman's biography beat the closest competitors by a two-to-one margin.

The books that were voted on were all nominated through an open process by Civil War Talk members. When the nominations had been completed, voting was open for one week.
 

Bruce Vail

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#5
I'm glad to see that Freeman is still considered the gold standard, at least around CWT.

That's not say there isn't room for a more balanced evaluation some time in the future. It will take a historian of considerable talent to break through the decades of Marble Man mythology though.
 
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Bruce Vail

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#9
If he had lived longer he may have. Even if he had put his mind to it in 1866 to 1870 I doubt he would have felt satisfied with the documentation available to consider publication.
I've read that he intended to write a history of the Army of Northern Virginia, but abandoned the plan before doing any real work on it.

Call me a cynic, but I doubt any history of the ANV written by Lee in the 1870s would be very interesting today.
 
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#11
"The Marble Man"

LOL

I voted for Freeman. All four volumes are sitting on my book shelf.

A foolish argument is not going to resolve any of it. Thanks for the poll.
 

Bruce Vail

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#12
I've only read one of the books on the list -- the one that got ZERO votes.

Dowdy's "The Seven Days" is by no means a Lee biography, or even a consideration of Lee's career as a CSA general, but rather an admiring reconstruction of the military events around Richmond in mid 1862. Even so, a good read for anyone interested in that particular moment in Civil War history. Dowdy was sort of Bruce Catton for the Confederates.
 
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Pat Young

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#13
I've only read one of the books on the list -- the one that got ZERO votes.

Dowdy's "The Seven Days" is by no means a Lee biography, or even a consideration of Lee's career as a CSA general, but rather an admiring reconstruction of the military events around Richmond in mid 1862. Even so, a good read for anyone interested in that particular moment in Civil War history. Dowdy was sort of Bruce Catton for the Confederates.
Just a note: The vote was for “the best book” on Lee rather than the best biography.
 

Bruce Vail

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#14
"The Marble Man"

LOL

I voted for Freeman. All four volumes are sitting on my book shelf.

A foolish argument is not going to resolve any of it. Thanks for the poll.
Not sure what you mean by 'foolish argument.'

I'd sort of like to have the four volumes sitting on my shelf too. Problem is: I am a slow reader and it would take me year to read beginning to end.

I've heard Freeman lauded for decades -- I guess it is time for me to start reading myself...
 
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#15
Not sure what you mean by 'foolish argument.'

I'd sort of like to have the four volumes sitting on my shelf too. Problem is: I am a slow reader and it would take me year to read beginning to end.

I've heard Freeman lauded for decades -- I guess it is time for me to start reading myself...
It's foolish to argue Robert E. Lee's place in American history.

Mr. Vail, if you want to read Douglas Southall Freeman's work, pm me and I will lend you my copies, one volume at a time. Postage will be on me.
 

Vicksburger

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#20
View attachment 275105

The Best Book on Robert E. Lee was an out-of-print classic R.E. Lee: A Biography by Douglass Southall Freeman. The four volume biography was published in 1934 and 1935. It won the 1935 Pulitzer Prize. Folks are invited to offer their thoughts on this massive biography.
Volume I will go out in tomorrow's mail. :smile:
Thats very nice of you Drew. He is in for a treat, very enjoyable.
 



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