Book Reviews of Robert E. Lee: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)

Robert E. Lee: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
Robert E Lee A Penguin Life - Penguin Lives
Author: Roy Blount Jr.
ISBN-13: 9780670032204
ISBN-10: 0670032204
Publication Date: 5/12/2003
Pages: 210
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4

3.8 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Viking Books
Book Type: Hardcover
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reviewed Robert E. Lee: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives) on
Helpful Score: 2
This concise Penguin Life biography can be compared to the Confederate general's Civil War career: valiant, honorable and surprisingly successful with limited resources. Blount, a humorist with 12 books to his credit, avoids hagiography, debunking and psychobiography (except in speculation largely relegated to Appendix 1). Writing from the perspective of his Southern heritage, Blount exhibits apposite insight and detachment, instantly recognizing anything that has ever been used as a club for beating the South. As to the actual narrative, he is vividly detailed about Lee's disastrous childhood, which led to his famous self-control. The description of his Civil War career supports Grant's verdict of Lee as lucky on the offensive but really formidable only on the defensive, and avoids jargon that might make the military passages inaccessible to the lay reader. The chapter on the postwar Lee is perhaps the most moving part of the book, since it is in that period that the ailing general shows his best self: advocating North-South reconciliation, refusing lucrative commercial offers, and reviving Washington College (now Washington-Lee University) as its President.