Academic journal article Military Review

Lee: A Life of Virtue

Academic journal article Military Review

Lee: A Life of Virtue

Article excerpt

LEE: A Life of Virtue, John Perry, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2010, 226 pages, $19.99

WHO WAS ROBERT E. Lee? What made him important? Author John Perry tells Lee's story with skill and simplicity. Readers who are experts on Lee will find Lee: A Life of Virtue a pleasant read, and readers wanting to know more about Lee will find the book informative and interesting.

Here is an example: during the Mexican War, General Winfield Scott held a planning meeting with Captain Lee and Lieutenants George Gordon Meade, George B. McClellan, Joseph E. Johnston, and P.G.T. Beauregard. Lee's father-in-law was George Washington Parke Custis [Washington was his legal guardian]. Custis's daughter, Mary Anna Custis, was Lee's wife. Light Horse Harry Lee, who fought in the Revolution, was Lee's father. Light Horse Harry composed the famous phrase "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen" to describe George Washington. On 14 October 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette visited the Lee family-the same Lafayette who fought during the Revolutionary War with Washington and who became extremely close to him. Robert E. Lee was a man in the tradition of George Washington. Character, virtue, and honor are what defined Lee. This is what makes his career worth studying.

Lee ranked second in his class at West Point and became adjutant of the corps. He graduated without a single demerit at a time when cadets could not drink alcohol, play cards, use tobacco, or read novels. …

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