Lee Moves North: Robert E. Lee on the Offensive

Lee Moves North: Robert E. Lee on the Offensive

Lee Moves North: Robert E. Lee on the Offensive

Lee Moves North: Robert E. Lee on the Offensive


Lee Moves North "A revisionist look at Lee's career. detailed and interesting." --Orlando Sentinel

"Michael Palmer says that Robert E. Lee was 145;a man of military genius'--but only when he was reacting to a Union attack. When he analyzes Lee on the offensive, Palmer labels him a woefully inadequate general. Powerfully written, this no-holds-barred criticism of Lee the general will shake long-held perceptions of historians and buffs. Like this book or not, it is must reading." --John F. Marszalek, Mississippi State University author of Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order

"A superb study--one that provides refreshingly new insight into the generalship of Robert E. Lee.a must for Civil War and military historians." --William N. Still Jr., coauthor of Why the South Lost

"A unique and careful analysis of Lee's generalship "an excellent and persuasive consideration of the Marble Man." --Alan T. Nolan, author of Lee Considered Reconsidering a Confederate Legend.

In a boldly revisionist look at the career, leadership capability, and decisive battles of the venerated General Robert E. Lee, prize-winning historian Michael Palmer delivers a riveting new perspective on one of the most compelling figures in United States history.


Robert E. Lee remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures of the American Civil War. Despite his wartime prominence, Lee never penned a memoir, and while his correspondence reveals much about his strength of character, it reveals far too little of the inner workings of his military mind. For it was within the confines of that mind that Lee developed his operational plans, schemes that were almost never set to paper. As a result, historians have had to divine Lee’s wartime intentions by studying impressive but still incomplete collections of relevant correspondence, less than explicit official reports, memoirs clouded by a writer’s age or bias, and the details of the events themselves.

Given the need to interpret the mind and method of a commander who fought on the losing side of a conflict that itself remains a divisive topic, we should not be surprised to discover that the written work concerning Lee varies widely in its quality, tone, and conclusions. To some, Lee was a saintly figure, one of the greatest generals of all time, a commander who ultimately was defeated only because of the overwhelming power of a government willing to spend millions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives to wear down his gallant, but hopelessly outnumbered, Army of Northern Virginia. At the other extreme are those who have argued that the historic Lee has too often become more myth than man, and that the “real” Lee was a soldier whose faults were so marked that he not only failed in his . . .

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