Item description for R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol. 1 by Douglas Southall Freeman...
This four-volume work won the 1935 Pulitzer Prize in Biography.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75" Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Publisher Simon Publications
ISBN 1931313369 ISBN13 9781931313360
Availability 0 units.
More About Douglas Southall Freeman
Douglas Southall Freeman was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1886, the son of a Confederate soldier. After receiving a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University at the age of twenty-two, he embarked on a newspaper career. He was named the editor of the Richmond News Leader at the age of twenty-nine, a post he would hold for thirty-four years. In 1915, Freeman was commissioned by Scribner's to write a one-volume biography of Robert E. Lee; twenty years of work later, his four-volume R. E. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize. The three volumes of Lee's Lieutenants took him a relatively modest eight years to complete. He won another Pulitzer Prize for his six-volume biography of George Washington, which he finished only hours before his death in 1953.
Douglas Southall Freeman was born in 1886 and died in 1953.
Reviews - What do customers think about R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol. 1?
I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS WORK HIGHLY ENOUGH Jul 23, 2006
As anther reviewer stated, this is by far the best biography of R.E. Lee. Still, after all these years, no one has been able to top it. The four volumes cover the life and career of Robert E. Lee and do it in a manner that you simply do not want to stop. I enjoyed each and ever page of each volume. Freeman's research is almost beyond question and of course he had the advantage of being much closer to Lee (time wise) that other, more recent biographers. Freeman's style is extremely readable, particularly when you consider the era in which it was written. Yes, the four volumes are a bit intimidating when you look at them on the shelf, but is is quiet surprising how fast they read and how much important, interesting and useful information the author has packed into them. Strange as it may sound, these volumes are real page turners. Anyone interested in the Civil War and R.E. Lee in particular should indeed read this work. I highly recommend.
No Question About It...THE Biography of Lee For All Time... Nov 29, 2002
The story is well told how Douglas Southall Freeman went on to write this four volume magnum opus. Born in 1886, the son of Confederate veteran Walker Burford Freeman, young Douglas grew up in the sunny remembrances of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. He received his Ph.D in history at the tender age of 22 and earned an early reputation as a Confederae scholar with Calendar of Confederate Papers. Then followed Lee's Dispatches, which he edited. He wrote an introduction to Lee's Dispatches that was so brilliant, Scribner's signed him on to write a biography of Lee. Freeman believed he could complete the job in two years.
20 years later, he was finished. In that time, America fought in a world war, women won the right to vote, and the original editor who signed Freeman on died and left the legendary Maxwell Perkins in charge. All through it, Freeman labored on the biography like a demon. He discovered early on that most of the major sources were either never consulted or only skimmed over. He searched far and wide. He carried on a schedule that would have killed a lesser man. He awoke at 2:30 every morning, put a full day in at the Richmond Newspaper where he was an editor at, delivered two radio addresses each day, then back home to work on the biography.
After twenty years and four massive volumes, he was done. Unanimous praise was heaped on his book and rightly so. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1935. It was and still remains the most thorough biography of Lee ever done and will probably never be surpassed.
Readers looking for a book that will take R. E. Lee to task will be disappointed. Freeman is an unabashed admirer of Lee. Longstreet admirers will find Freeman's highly critical remarks of him in volume 3 during the Gettysburg Campaign aggravating. Freeman's Lee is a great man. Plus, why spend 20 years of your life reading and writing about a man you loathe?
I never believed Lee was the saint certain Confederate veterans painted him to be. He was a human being and he had his share of flaws. But he was a good man who did what he thought was right and a great general. Freeman's research is awesome and his writing style (which Shelby Foote once described as a sort of "jog trot prose") while dated in some aspects (Freeman loves to use "whither" and "tither" whereas "where" and "there" would have been better), and the Freeman's overly critical treatment of Longstreet not withstanding, it is still an awesome book. Lee's campaigns are exhaustively detailed, and the maps are profuse and always keep the reader informed as to what the Army of Northern Virginia was doing at any given time.
I would strongly recommend readers use Ezra Warner's "Generals in Gray" in conjunction with this work. I did and when Freeman parades the various personalities of the Army of Northern Virgina in front of the reader, the names can be confusing. Warner's book will give you illustrations of the men of Lee's command, and you will glad you got it. The book will come alive which is the purpose of all biographies.
Lastly, Thomas Connelly's "The Marble Man" will give the reader a good counterbalance to Freeman. Still even Connelly admitted to someone once that "R. E. Lee" was still "the greatest biography ever written." I have to agree. At four volumes, I didn't want to stop. Give Freeman a chance, you'll be glad you did.
One last note. You might also wish to start with "Lee" a one volume abridgement. Freeman's understudy, Richard Harwell did a painstaking abridgement and it is a wonderful one volume work. Of course, the superb maps that went with the 4 volume set are gone and replaced by more general maps, still it's a good bet in case 4 volumes are too daunting.