The importance of this selective collection of the papers of R. E. Lee lies in the rounding out of the portrait of a great man and great general, only too often shown as coldly impersonal and interested primarily in his own Army of Northern Virginia. For with the inclusion of the hitherto unpublished personal letters to an extensive family, Lee shows a very warm and human side, he writes often in terms that give the background of his acceptance of the inevitability of the final defeat, and honestly of some of his problems in the ambivalent position he held, the lack of authority outside Virginia, and the rejection of his advice. His official papers are concerned primarily, one might feel, with the organization of the army, the maintenance of its strength in face of desertions, the coordination of action with other forces, the desperate attempt to sustain the physical condition with lack of food, supplies, clothes, equipment and horses. Through four years of war he is known to have written some six thousand letters, reports, communications- and more are sure to turn up. One sixth of the total have been selected for this collection. The major phases of the war are set in perspective by introductory editorial material. Despite its importance for serious students of the Civil War, this book is unlikely to appeal to the general public.