LEE AFTER THE WAR by Marshall W. Fishwick


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It is not the story of Lee, but the meaning of Lee, that I am writing about"" and Fishwick, who is an authority, and a professor at the university to which Lee gave his name, has also recognized that ""to see Lee the man, we must get past Lee the Guardian Angel"". Barely mentioning his military achievements, he tells of the last days of the Confederacy, of Appomattox, and of the disaster Lincoln's death meant to a disrupted nation, against which Lee's personal tragedy stands out in high relief; a magnificent soldier lost in a defeat he never quite foresaw, a truly humble man caught in the blind admiration of those who denied him honest work and made him into a legend. The story, however, is not entirely tragic. Offered the presidency of the college which became Washington & Lee in Lexington, Va., a town gutted by war,-through rigorous discipline, endless work and ""moving papers around"" Lee built a new college from the ruins of the old one, and for himself a new career and a new life. Although ""enthralled"" by Lee, the writer recognizes his weaknesses, and in the end concludes that Lee was less a soldier than a true ""religieux"", a ""Southern St. George slaying the dragon"".... Beautifully written and often touching, this study (in no sense a real biography) is for thoughtful Americans of all breeds and politics. It fills an empty space in the vast shelves of books on one of America's greatest and still misunderstood heroes.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1962
Publisher: Dodd, Mead