Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Don't Assume You Know the Man

Tell you what, winners typically get to define the losers which in this case is very sad because they missed the truth. Robert E. Lee lived a life of humbleness and virtue. He never wanted the Union to split; however, he was more a Virginian than an American and felt the necessity to bear arms for Virginia. He felt that a Union forced together by the Federal government over the rights of individual states was not a Union worth belonging to.
This book does not hold back though on missteps made by both the North and the South which is very helpful in explaining how the battles played out. I also liked seeing his humanity in this book. Lee loved children proclaiming a little girl's birthday celebration with several of her friends one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen.
Lee also believed rightly in Providence. He gave his life to the Almighty and stood under His will. He didn't feel slavery would continue and that morally no country would survive with one people enslaving another. He and his wife inherited slaves but all were freed by the time Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He even tracked down runaway slaves to give them their "letters of manumission". Lee's father in-law ordered freedom for the 200 slaves he left in his will after 5 years. Lee freed the 4 or 5 slaves left him by his mother after one month. Lee truly felt that the Almighty would abolish slavery in His own time.
Lee was a truly humble man and never attempted to defend himself against accusations made regarding his fighting for VA. Again he felt the states had the right to make decisions for themselves except where the Constitution delegated government action. Again, Lee fought for states rights as the main issue for defense of VA.
I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the history of the US to include this book as one to read for deeper insight of the time surrounding the Civil War.
In exchange for this review, I received this book for free. All opinions are my own.

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