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R. E. Lee: Volume One  By  cover art

R. E. Lee: Volume One

By: Douglas Southall Freeman
Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
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Publisher's summary

R. E. Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman was the recipient of the 1935 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It was a richly deserved honor, for Freeman's biography of the distinguished Virginian went on to become one of the most celebrated of all American biographies, a favorite of General George Marshall and President Dwight Eisenhower, among many others. Since his death, thousands of American soldiers have sought to emulate Lee's example of virtue, courage, and duty. This four-volume masterpiece traces Lee's life from his birth in 1807 at the ancestral Lee home of Stratford to his final years as the president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where he was buried in 1870. Volume One carries us from Lee's childhood through his youth as a cadet at West Point, his slow but steady advance in the US Army Corps of Engineers, his spectacular record under General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War, his superintendency of West Point, and so on up to the point where Lee has made the difficult and painful decision to resign his commission in the US Army in order to remain with his beloved state of Virginia...for him, his "nation".

After organizing the state's defenses and attempting unsuccessfully to keep Western Virginia within the control of Virginia, Lee is sent southward to inspect and build up the coastal defenses all the way to Florida. The volume ends with Lee's recall to Richmond as the Federal army under McClellan mounts its first invasion of Virginia.

Freeman's writing style is termed "fog-of-war history". The listener knows only what Lee knows at the time he knows and understands events. We follow Lee's development of strategy in the environment into which he had been thrust. Listeners are urged to follow battles using the maps which Freeman himself drew, and which are included in the accompanying downloadable PDF document.

©1934 Charles Scribners Sons (P)2017 Audio Connoisseur

Critic reviews

"Lee complete for all time." ( The New York Times)