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Robert E. Lee: A Penguin Lifeby Roy Blount
Synopses & Reviews
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 unique, personal portrait.
Fascinated by what made Lee into such a great, though reluctant, leader, Blount delves into his family history and his personality. He illustrates how, descended from two illustrious families, Lee embodied 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 ambition 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 every reader curious to discover the man behind the military leader.
"This concise Penguin Life biography can be compared to the Confederate general's Civil War career: valiant, honorable and surprisingly successful with limited resources....This effort is not equal to Emory Thomas's work....But as a literate and balanced introduction to a subject whose complexity too many current writers avoid, this book deserves a most respectable ranking among today's Civil War literature." Publishers Weekly
"Civil war aficionados and military buffs will appreciate this latest biography....Blount's concise writing keeps his biography trim and succinct, and his admiration for the subject allows for enjoyable reading....This is an excellent and well-researched introduction of this hesitant leader." Michelle Kaske, Booklist
"The best entries in the Penguin Lives series aren't meant to replace deep-dish biographies but to serve as an introduction to them. Simply put, they serve very well as the first book you might read about someone. The humorist Roy Blount Jr.'s Robert E. Lee is that and more. If you intend to read only one book about Robert E. Lee, this will do....It is precisely because he is skeptical and, of course, because he's Roy Blount Jr. and therefore so naturally damned funny, that Blount's grudging admiration for Lee is ultimately so touching. Blount looks hard for traces of humanity in Lee...and he finds some." Allen Barra, Salon.com
"Blount's is the only writing on Lee this reviewer has encountered that makes one feel real sympathy for the general....Blount succeeds in presenting Lee as a flawed, brilliant, but recognizable man on the wrong side of history....Highly recommended more for its modern treatment of Lee than for new scholarship." Library Journal
A witty, lively and wholly fascinating (The New York Times) portrait of an iconic Southern hero
With lively storytelling and full-hearted Southern directness, Roy Blount, Jr., presents a unique portrait of Robert E. Lee. Fascinated by the qualities that made Lee such a charismatic, though reluctant, leader, Blount vividly conveys Lees audacity and uncanny successes in battle, as well as his humility, his quirky sense of humor, and the sorrowful sense of responsibility he felt for his outnumbered, half-starved army. The first concise biography of this American legend, Robert E. Lee will appeal to history and military buffs, students of Southern culture, and every reader curious about the makeup of a man who has become an American icon.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-210).
About the Author
Roy Blount, Jr., grew up in Georgia and served in the army before becoming a celebrated humorist and cultural journalist. He has written for magazines as diverse as Sports Illustrated and The New York Review of Books and is the author of numerous books that include his recent memoir Be Sweet.
Table of Contents
Robert E. Lee 1
appendix i. Speculation 165
appendix ii. Lee's Humor 189
appendix iii. Lee's Attitude Toward Slavery 197
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