Review: Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership (Great Generals)

by James Durney on September 28, 2009 · 0 comments

Robert E. Lee: Lessons in Leadership (Great Generals)
by Noah Andre Trudeau

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230613667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230613669

RobertELeeLessonsInLeadershipTrudeauThis is a difficult review for me to write.  I have the highest respect for the author and have enjoyed his books for years.  He consistently produces quality books on a variety of Civil War subjects, winning a number of well-deserved prizes.  This background and his knowledge are on display in this short biography.  However, they are dragged down by several problems.  First, the author admits three of the 13 chapters are adapted from prior work and the book lacks a cohesive narration.  Due to space limitations, we have very little linkage between campaigns giving the feel of a series of essays.  With so much of the book adapted from other works, this might be the case.    Second, many of the major questions on Lee are never addressed or the simplest answer is presented as the only option.   Third, there are few footnotes and many of them reference Douglas Southall Freeman’s work on Lee.  Chapter 4 has nine footnotes; seven are from Freeman’s book.  Chapter 9 with 41 footnotes uses eight sources.  Lastly, this book is printed on some of the cheapest paper I have ever seen in a hardback book.  The dust jacket is a better quality paper than the book.  This is a book that I would be embarrassed to give as a gift.

What works is the series of essays by Noah Andre Trudeau.  What fails are the sources and the physical appearance of the book.

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