Esponsible for prolonging the Civil War advancing the cause *OF SLAVERY IMMISERATING THOUSANDS AND CAUSING UNTOLD DESTRUCTION AT *slavery immiserating thousands and causing untold destruction At same time his military successes nsured that the war would drag on the South would be ravaged and impoverished by the war and slavery would nd Perhaps he was an instrument in God s hands This xcellent short biography wrestles with those uestions It also delves into Lee s psychology the burden of a father who disgraced the family honor in a culture that placed honor above all lse the overcompensation of *Being The Perfect Person The *the perfect person the received NO demerits as a West Point cadet he was literally the perfect student his relationship with his mother and his wife and lots of other minefieldsI ll be honest one of the reasons I liked this book is because it was relatively short I wanted to learn about Lee but I didn t need a blow by blow history of all his military xploits This book gave a good level of detail about the battles and Lee s decisions but it didn t bog down If you are interested in the military history of the Civil War you should look Xenophon And His World (Historia Einzelschriften) elsewhere This is a good short introduction into Lee s life Having heard Roy Blount on NPR discussing his new book on onomatopoeia in prose this little volume called to me from my shelf It is anntertaining and fair appraisal by an intelligent Southerner about one of the region s major personalities I had always heard that Lee freed his slaves before the war but this book has taught me Lee s gradualist abolitionist tendencies put far too much Geography of the Gaze: Urban and Rural Vision in Early Modern Europe emphasis on the gradual It is hard not to think of the carnage that would have been avoided if this one man had rated liberty of all people above defense of his state All in all this is pleasantly written human portrait of a large figure from a morally confused time Roy Blount Jr s short biography of Robert E Lee is an idiosyncratic book It s broadly organized into two parts a biography running a brisk 160 pages and a 45 page section of appendicesThe biographical half of the book is good Blount s account is readable and nicely summarizes Lee s life beginning with the legacy of his wastrel father a one time comrade in arms and friend of George Washington Blount depicts Lee s father casting a shadow over thentirety of Lee s life a point Groove: An Aesthetic of Measured Time explored by other biographers but made central to the story here Blountven ascribes to Lee an oedipal complex at least twice about which shortly Blount moves uickly through the One Wild Weekend early stages of Lee s life the difficult circumstances of his youth his time as a cadet and young Army officer the Mexican War and his tenure a Anxcellent short biography of Lee Blount doesn t portray the general as Forgetful of Their Sex either a hero or villian but as someone who felt that he had no choice but to take the path he did Lee had a somewhat negative view of slavery albeit in a paternalistic kind of way and thought that secession was a mistake but in thend his ties were with Virginia rather than the United States Blount s writing is usually filled with amusing digressions but there is little of that here or correctly he saves it all up until the Naturally Naughty Wicked Willing end After thend of the biography proper th. Ader Blount delves into his family history and his personality He illustrates how descended from two illustrious families Lee mbodied the best of all their traits and became Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union troops in 1861 But Lee's Virginia roots drew him instead to the Confederate command Blount vividly conveys not only his am. This book has been part of my larger foray into reading about Lee and with *That Context I Would Say *context I would say was a helpful short biography Blount gives plenty of facts but also lots of opinion which is fine specially as he is fairly upfront about his occasional psychoanalyzing My take on Lee isevolving Perhaps coming up with uestions than answers Growing up in Montgomery Alabama I only knew of Robert E Lee as a cement colored man sitting Walled (The Line, erect on a horse the name of a rival high school during football season and the reason for a state holiday This book opens up to me the boy and the man who loved his parents and his wife who doted over his darling children and won over all animals as personal pets I discovered Lee as a romantic gentleman who would have been just happy farming his land But his people had been Virginians longer than they had been Americans so he took command of his southern soldiers and lead them into what he always described as hell Mixed feelings on this Clearly not intended to be an all inclusive history of the man I appreciated the short form but so much of Blount s offering is but speculation We get itmotionally overbearing mother the shadow of his fuck up father and the desire to protect his home of Virginia led him to his position with the Confederacy Presenting Lee as a decent slave owner and conflicted defender of the succession doesn t change who he fought for the why is interesting sure but anyone who didn t think there was a fallible human being behind the legend ultimately created in his image has forgotten how much America prefers a good story to the full one I recently watched Ken Burns series on the Civil War and was inspired to learn about some of the key players Lee is wrapped in so much mystiue and I recently visited Arlington so I decided to start with him I Cruel Attachments: The Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany enjoyed this brief and modern take on Lee from Southern humorist Roy Blount Jr It is part of a series called Penguin Lives that are biographies written by modern authors but not necessarily historians Written in thearly 2000s before our current spate of history rasing the biography takes a critical but not destroying look at Lee and spends time in the book and in a separate appendix parsing out the vidence for his feelings about slavery details are scant which come down to no he wasn t a harsh slave master but he was firmly part of the slave owning South Of note Union general and later president US Grant s wife also owned slaves The biography dealt with much of course including Lee s pet hen his complicated relationship with his father Rev War hero Light Horse Harry Lee and the fact he never carried a weapon during the war borrowing the sword he wore to the surrender to Grant It was an interesting and short read about a pivotal person in America s history who was just as flawed as the rest of them Why do so many Americans consider Robert E Lee one of the good Confederates It is a phenomenon that started right after the Civil War and continues today Probably because he was not personally offensive Personally he was kind and genuinely religious and disliked slavery tc But his actions in the battlefield were Iconic Virginian brilliant general and complex human being it is this last facet of Robert E Lee that is rarely seen But now Roy Blount Jr combines acute character insight with lively storytelling and a full hearted Southern directness to craft this uniue personal portraitFascinated by what made Lee into such a great though reluctant le. .
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Ere are three appendices Speculation on the psychology behind Lee s decisions Lee s Humor and Lee s Attitude Toward Slavery Until those appendices Blount pretty much leaves himself out of things his writing is straightforward and informativeI probably shouldn t ven bother but I can t help commenting on another review here from June *2011 I don t understand it at all There are three or so pages in *I don t understand it at all There are three or so pages in Speculation appendix about feet and around 70 pages than a third of the book dealing with Lee s conduct of the war I think that one can be safely ignored Some amateur critics complain that this isn t a comprehensive treatment but ultimately that s a complaint rooted in laziness If you want a fuller coverage of Lee s life s vents most of the relevant materials are readily available Blount focuses on the hardest and most speculative component which is what Lee thought and felt Lee wrote little of conseuence or substance published no postbellum memoir He took *Over A Uiet College That Had Been Sacked By Union *a uiet college that had been sacked by Union and spent his last days rebuilding in a uiet corner of his beloved VirginiaWe must therefore speculate to some degree about his character and motives This ffort has been hampered by partisans for over a century Confederacy
who want to canonize him and mostly northern academics who seek to demonize himThe service renders then is to bring compassion and mpathy to his subject Lee was a man deeply flawed in some respects and motionally distant but also committed to a code of honor that we can scarcely recall now and which we therefore struggle to understand Blount tries to give us some of that understanding And certainly some of his speculations One Giant Leap especially the Freud besotted ones are probablyrrant but he has the intellectual honesty to acknowledge up front that he may well be wrongWhat we have then is an Apocalyptic Cartography easily read thoughtful and in light of a modern insistence that the Civil War was simply about slavery courageous point of view Professional historians many of whom do to muddy the waters with thinner speculations rooted in denser thickets of verbiage should take note Blount s biography of Robert E Lee is short general and weird It s ideal for a casual reader who doesn t know anything at all about Lee aside from his leadership role in the Army of Northern Virginia Having read uite a few histories of theastern campaigns and gleaned the general details about Lee s life through those books background information I found this mostly useful for information on Lee s father and arly childhood The book is largely complimentary of a figure whose aura rivals ven Washington s in the South A Bride for McCain even as Blount devotes anntire appendix to Lee s difficult relationship with slavery Lee s attitude was one of deep disdain rather than public condemnation I found the biography strange for its freuent sidebars however Blount goes off on tangents about spelling and Lee s Heart and Soul / Almost Heaven encounters with men of letters andnjoys trying to make connections to Freudian psychology I suppose media personalities are allowed a few uirks when they attempt a serious piece of work It s njoyable reading just a trifle odd. Bition and courage but also his humility and humor and his sorrowful sense of responsibility for his outnumbered outgunned half starved army Robert E Lee the first succinct biography of this American legend will appeal to history and military buffs proud Southerners and very reader curious to discover the man behind the military leader.sympathizers who want to canonize him and mostly northern academics who seek to demonize himThe service