The effort to put Lee's crammed experience into assimilated order and give definitive shape to his personality continues....

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ROBERT E. LEE: A Great Life in Brief

The effort to put Lee's crammed experience into assimilated order and give definitive shape to his personality continues. But if the tendency of extensive biographies like Freeman's is to crowd the reader's imagination, short pieces like Miers' are too selective to be altogether convincing. Was Lee dignified or chilling? A military genius or a man unable to choose a command and make it obedient? Filled with a sense of duty, religion, or a mere sentimentalist? The facts adduced by Miers argue both ways; for confirmation of his own high respect for Lee he must rely upon the unstinting praise of Lee's contemporaries. By concentrating almost the whole of his study upon the period 1861-1865, the author deliberately turns from the subtler, more revealing sources of Lee's character. Lee in early boyhood was fun-loving and possessed of deep, rich feelings. He looked after his mother with remarkable devotion. Where did all that emotional life lead, and how did his mother's death affect him? This is slighted in favor of the external action of the war years and perhaps accelerates and simplifies his life for the general reader. The Burke Davis book -- Gray Fox-reviewed later in this issue is a fuller, and better, book.

Pub Date: April 16, 1956

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1956