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Robert E. Lee: A Biography
Emory M. Thomas
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
The life of Robert E. Lee is a story of triumph - triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering figure who commanded the Confederate army in the American Civil War. But late in life Lee wrote what may be his most revealing phrase. He confessed that he “was always wanting something.” This from perhaps the South's greatest hero, the man whose demeanor and presence in war were sufficient to inspire thousands to march to near-certain death. In this probing and personal biography, Emory Thomas's thorough examination of Lee's life reveals more than the man did himself, allowing us to find meaning in Lee's successes and failures. From his struggles as a youth with his father's humiliation, to his frustrating marriage into a proper and prominent family, and his lively relationships with young female friends and relatives, Lee - the uncertain scion, skilled engineer, consummate warrior, and college president - was actually an enigmatic person of latent passions. He lived in limbo between the self-control to which he aspired and the freedom for which he longed.
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