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Book reviews for "Edwards,_Lee" sorted by average review score:

Hunter Book: Judges
Published in Paperback by White Wolf Publishing Inc. (2000)
Authors: John Snead, Greg Stolze, and Tommy Lee Edwards
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some interesting points
If you are looking for new ideas and skills then just go toward chapter five because their is wealth of information. But if you are planning to get new insights or a basic storyline from it then it's very incoherent.

For the thinker...
When I picked up this book, I was expecting it to expand upon the basic Judge creed outlined in the Hunter core book. But when I began reading it, I found that it was a very detailed account of what a Judge like character can be like. The thinkers, the planners, the analytics. I was surprised how much the judge I have been playing fit into this book and got a few ideas to expand on him. The new backgrounds, abilities and edges are a welcome complement to any judge whether they be an underground guerilla to a judicator of ideals.

Lee and His Generals in War and Memory
Published in Hardcover by Louisiana State University Press (1998)
Author: Gary W. Gallagher
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Interesting compilation of essays but it's got flaws
Gary Gallagher has compiled 13 interesting essays on Robert E. Lee and his CSA Army and its generals. Each individual essay is very interesting, especially his concentration on Jubal Early and the development of the "Lost Cause" myth to explain the defeat of the CSA. Gallagher expertly details how Jubal Early and other early Civil War historians explicitly wanted to make sure that the soldiers of the CSA were portrayed in a positive light, sometimes, regardless of the facts.
Gallagher also attempts to rebuild the reputation of Early destroyed by his defeat in his campaign in the Valley. In doing so, Gallagher explains that a comparison between Early's lack of success and the success in the valley of "Stonewall" Jackson is inappropriate. Early inflicted as many casualties as he could on the forces opposing him, however he was faced with superior generals on the Union side than most of those that faced Jackson. In essance, Gallagher explains that Jackson's success must at least in part be attributed to the fact that he faced incompitent opponents, and Early did not.
There are a couple drawbacks to this book, and while they don't detract from the individual essays, they do detract a bit from the book in its entirety. First, much of the first third of the book, particularly the essays, "The Idol of His Soldiers and the Hope of His Country: Lee and the Confederate People" and "If the Enemy Is There, We Must Attack Him: Lee and the Second Day at Gettysburg" address larger issues than just Lee and his generals, they both seem to me they would have been more appropriately included in Gallagher's work "Lee and His Soldiers."
While the section on the "Lost Cause" and Jubal Early is very interesting, it also seems that it's misplaced in this book. It seems that it should belong in Gallagher and Nolan's book on the lost cause.
The last section in the book on "historical memory" which includes essays on Ken Burn's miniseries "The Civil War" as well as battlefields, seems also to be out of place in this book.
I'm not sure why Gallagher chose to title this work "Lee and His Generals in War and Memory" when so few of the essays included deal directly with the relationship between Lee and his lieutenants.
Another drawback is that the book doesn't have an epologue that attempts in any way to tie each essay together in a larger framework. Absent this, it really lacks a central focus as a book.

Insightful essays about Lee and his subordinates
I bought this book based on the fact that I consider Gary Gallagher one of the premiere Civil War historians today. Luckily, he did not disappoint me with this effort. Through a series of 13 essays, Dr. Gallagher takes a detailed look at General Lee and his subordinates performance during the Civil War, and how they have been portrayed by historians. More speficially, he details how the "Lost Cause" writers created some of the myth and legends about the South's best and worst leaders. Additionally, he looks at more recent works (both books and video) about the Civil War, and whether or not these historians bring a more balanced and better pespective on the war.

I really enjoyed this book because it offers so much fresh material on many popular Civil War leaders, and topics (like Ken Burns video collection). Also, I think that Gary Gallagher brings a very balanced approach to his research and analysis. In other words, I trust his opinion because he always supports his thoughts with detailed research from the latest sources available. Therefore, he can successfully weave together both the battles and politics of the war, and paint accurate pictures of the Southern leaders discussed in this book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a fundamental understanding of the Civil War, and is looking for resources to develop a deeper analysis of this complex war. Learn from someone who is at the forefront of current research, and willing to put in the extra time and effort to get the story right.

Robert E. Lee (Penguin Lives Series)
Published in Hardcover by Viking Press (08 May, 2003)
Author: Roy Blount
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Too much psychoanalysis and too little factual information. Almost 140 years after the Civil War and Blount searchs for personality quirks to define a complex and interesting gentleman, general and leader.

I'm disappointed too in the general trend for many historians to ever search and highlight as much negative as they can about our historical figures, especially military leaders.

It's easy to second guess and use modern beliefs to define the past. Blount (or anyone else for that matter go lead men in battle for four years) and then write your book.

The Real Lee
Blount helps us understand the real Lee for a change, not the "marble man" admired and revered by simple Civil War buffs. Those looking for yet another breathless account of the same old stories will be intellectually overmatched by the insightful, sensitive and illuminating portrait Blount presents. A real contribution to understanding Lee, the Civil War, and the mindset which led the nation to and through that disaster.

Very successful at what it sets out to be
This is the fourth Penguin Lives title I've read (the other three being Auchincloss on Wilson, Keegan on Churchill, and Johnson on Napoleon), and for pure biography, this one is the best of the four. Other reviewers who criticize the relative superficiality of Blount's analysis need to recognize that the Penguin Lives are not intended to be comprehensive, ground-breaking studies. That just couldn't be done in under 200 pages.

No, these books -- essays, almost -- are introductions to, surveys of, key historical figures. The question shouldn't be, Did Blount give us all the answers about Lee? but rather, Has Blount painted a sharp enough portrait that we have a clear idea of who the man was, why he did what he did, and what impact his life had? I think the answer to that latter question is a decisive Yes.

Unlike Keegan and Johnson, Blount is not a professional historian. But he's done a fine job with a subject all biographers admit to be a man very difficult to get close to. This fact in itself forms part of Blount's theme, as he explores the roots of Lee's famous reserve and inapproachability. He largely avoids pop psychoanalysis -- when he wades into those waters, he tells us he's doing so -- and his insights seem to make sense.

I particularly appreciated the way Blount addressed the issue that defines (many, if not most) modern treatments of Lee: the question of whether he can justly be called a Great Man while having fought, if not explicitly for slavery itself, at least for a nation and a culture in which slavery played a central role. The fact that Blount sees nuances to the discussion, instead of making the absolute, unarguable, definitive statement "Lee = slavery = evil", may cause ideologues, or people who just don't know any better, to reject his reasonings entirely. But that would be their loss because this section, too, is rewarding reading.

I said this book is good pure biography. That's because Blount is an excellent writer and storyteller, as well as a fine presenter and interpreter of facts. As a "humorist," (I've always hated that term), he has a keen eye for the ridiculous, both in human behavior and in historians' more labored interpretations.

So, no, this isn't a scholarly, definitive, biography that will become the new gold standard in Civil War Studies. But as a highly readable thumbnail portrait of one of the most loved and reviled, admired, misunderstood, and dare I say, greatest, figures in American history, I think it will be hard to beat.

Discovery Jones Expeditions: Smoke and Sirens - Firefighters
Published in VHS Tape by Insp Music (21 October, 2002)
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Not worth the time
The neverending stream of books that purports to tell the tale of the assassination of JFK continues, and I could not get past the first chapter. The quick overview of Kennedy'd life could not be more full of errors, etc...Kennedy "Liberal"? Kennedy criticizing the McCarthy fiasco? Hardly. There were many other erors, including the ongoing myth behind PT 109...Maybe someday somebody will get the biography of Kennedy correct, and perhaps then we will see that his death was nothing more than a senseless act. Kennedy was not the great leader that so many want him to be...He was inspiring and insightful, but still growing when he died. Don't waste your money on this book!

Nothing Earth Shaking Here
Investigative reporter Bradley O'Leary and horror author Edward Lee teamed up to contribute their own convoluted theory as to who orchestrated and carried out the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with this book, "The Deaths of the Cold War Kings." According to the two authors, recently declassified government documents and recent interviews cast doubt on previous theories implicating the old standbys: the Soviet Union, the military-industrial complex, disgruntled anti-Castroites angered over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cuban government, and rogue American government agents. This book argues that the assassins pulling the triggers on November 22, 1963 had ties to the South Vietnamese regime of the recently deceased Ngo Dinh Diem, his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, heroin smugglers, and the Marseilles Mafia. The authors track a heroin syndicate operating under the protection of the Diem regime in South Vietnam to Marseilles, France. In short, the argument here is that heroin killed our 35th president.

Central to this theory on the assassination was the role Kennedy played in overthrowing the Diem administration. The authors feel that the South Vietnamese government's repressive policies against the Buddhist population, indirectly assisted with massive U.S. aid packages, threatened to undermine Kennedy's credibility with the American public. With a presidential race coming up in 1964, Kennedy did not want questions about self-immolating monks to throw a cloud on his reelection prospects. Numerous documents in the book attempt to prove Kennedy's complicity in the regime change, a change that O'Leary and Lee argue led to permanent instability in South Vietnam that created problems later in the Vietnam War. Furthermore, the authors charge that the South Vietnamese knew about the planned coup and took their own measures to prevent it. These plans revolved around setting up a plot against Kennedy by using muscle from the French heroin traffickers because these drug smugglers knew that a change in government could be very costly to their lucrative business.

The key name associated with this theory is a shadowy figure named Jean Rene Souetre, a former French military officer who was a member in the OAS. This acronym stands for 'Organisation de l'Armee Secrete,' a group of French military officers who resisted Charles DeGaulle's measures to remove French influence in Algeria. The OAS resorted to covert assassinations, forgery, and outright rebellion in an attempt to overthrow DeGaulle's government, thereby hoping to insure support for the war against Algerian insurgents. An alliance between the French intelligence agency (SDECE) and the French mafia crushed the OAS, sending its members into exile or jail. A document exists, recently declassified, that seems to prove Souetre was in Texas at the time of the assassination. Moreover, the government deported Souetre within days of the killing without interrogating him even though the feds seemed to be aware of his background because of a French request to our government concerning his whereabouts. An American dentist mentioned in the Souetre memo granted an interview to a researcher years later, claiming that he knew Souetre and that the FBI questioned him about this knowledge but never turned the information over to the Warren Commission.

Assassination solved, right? Nope. The two authors claim that the real Souetre may not have committed the crime. Instead, they point the finger at Michel Mertz, a heroin trafficker who possibly traveled under the name of Jean Rene Souetre. The two Frenchman met in prison during the OAS debacle when Mertz was one of the undercover mafia hoods that worked for SDECE. Further evidence of a Souetre/Mertz connection appears in the memo, where one of Souetre's aliases was, *gasp*, Michel Mertz. In an interview conducted in the late 1990s, Souetre claimed he knew Mertz and believed it highly possible that this mafia thug traveled under his name. What a surprise.

I had many problems with this book, the biggest one being the introductory chapter full of laudatory praise for the Kennedy administration. Falling for the bait many others have swallowed about the Kennedy years, the authors present a glowing picture of our esteemed 35th president. Reality is often more painful. Kennedy's civil rights legislation was not an outpouring of warmth for the plight of American blacks, but a political measure Kennedy took because of intense pressure. On their own, the Kennedy brothers would never have proposed serious legislation concerning civil rights. Moreover, Kennedy's failure to follow through on the Bay of Pigs led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the removal of our missiles from Turkey at a critical moment in our war against world wide communism. The family background, Joseph Kennedy's vote buying scheme in Illinois, and numerous amorous encounters in the White House should also serve as reasons why Kennedy was not a great president. The media, even then, was too busy standing around with stars in their eyes to notice any of these shenanigans. If I cannot trust the authors' claims about the Kennedy presidency, how can I trust their subsequent investigations?

An avid reader of Kennedy conspiracy theories will probably want to read this book. Whether or not the arguments presented here hold water I'll leave to those better informed about the various assassination theories. I do think the authors make some huge leaps of faith with some of their claims, but with the assassination quickly fading into the dim recesses of history this is probably unavoidable. What interests me most about the Kennedy killing is how many sordid characters hovered on the periphery of Dallas at that exact time and date. At the very least, "The Death of the Cold War Kings" adds a few more unsavory souls to the long list.

After recently finishing The Assassinations : Probe Magazine On JFK, MLK, RFK, & Malcolm X (DiEugenio & Pease), I was pleased to run across this book in which O'Leary & Lee give us their take on the JFK assassination. In addition to being interesting and easy to read, the authors don't waste time trashing all the other writers or theories (the exception being Gerald Posner for obvious reasons). Do they prove anything and/or have all the answers? No but they put forth a good argument for something that was briefly touched upon in the History Channel's documentary entitled The Men Who Killed Kennedy. This would make a great addition to your library if you're even remotely interested in the Kennedy assassination. A fresh perspective on a well-worn topic.

Opportunities in Social Work Careers (Vgm Opportunity Series)
Published in Paperback by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books (1997)
Authors: Renee Wittenberg and Donald W. Beless
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Exhibit A
This is the kind of garbage that killed the horror genre in the late 80's. Publishers started putting out really bad books, throwing them at an audience they underestimated, underappreciated, and didn't consider intelligent (apparently.) So, they saturated the market with pure schlock and the public got so fed up that people stopped buying horror (except for the die-hard fans like me.) GHOULS is one of the many sub-par books that left a bad taste in readers mouths and pushed them to other genres. (Pinnacle and Zebra were the absolute worst offenders.)Lee is like a 7th grade kid on the playground when he writes; full of tired yuk-yuk macho sexual innuendos, throwing gore for cheap thrills-- because he doesn't understand how to scare readers-- and generally insulting the genre and it's fans by polluting the market with garbage.

I'm not sure why I decided to pick this book up. I had tried to read another Ed Lee book, CREEKERS, and couldn't get past the first couple of chapters before I threw it down. Maybe it was the cover. It shows a screaming creature and a figure carrying a body through a cemetery. If nothing else I hoped it might be fun in a drive-in, b-movie kind of way. After all, I love horror novels--even the cheesy ones if they are fun. Well, GHOULS isn't even good in a bad way. It was just awful. Hopelessly juvenille, mysogonistic, pointlessly gory, and full of characters that talk like they are on some grade school playground. And to make matters worse, it's 444 freakin' pages. Don't waste your time. You'll end up like me: pissed off and feeling cheated.

101 Reasons to Never Trust a Fogbank
Something is stalking the town of Tylersville, leaving behind a plague of murders for the local police to deal with and a mysterious lack of evidence to go on. In fact, all the evidence points to something that could not be possible, that cannot be probable, but that seems to be stalking the shadows in search of both the living and the dead. It begins with the unearthing the recently deceased town drunkard, his body spirited away in the depths of the night, and then things begin going from bad to worse - leaving a trail of bodies in their wake before any answers begin to appear. For Kurt Morris, local police officer and man smitten by another's wife, things couldn't be worse, either. Not only does he have to deal with the motions taking place in that sea of would-be poaching, drug dealing, wife-battering, and drunken onslaughts of stupidity, but now he has the world of bodies to contend with. Worse still, it all seems to be stemming from that place, that shadowed form standing atop its own foreboding hill, its form surrounded by unkempt woodlands and discarded mines that could possibly hold secrets of the most sinister type.

As a person that has read quite a few of Edward Lee's books, I was actually surprised by what Ghouls brought to the proverbial table because it wasn't the atypical piece that he manufactures. First, the writing structure seemed more refined and the descriptions were laid-out better than some of his more horrific works, letting the town of Tylersville actually come to life around you as events began to manifest. Instead of faceless entities being lead to wholesale slaughter, the people therein became something denoted with a bit of realism that made them stand out. They, brimming with hopes and dreams and desires, befriended some people, playing wording games and delving into pits of small talk with them, while equally hating others. This made you feel a little something for them when the night came for them or when their friends died, and it gave you rhymes and reasons instead of a lack of dimensions. Second, the layout of the monsters themselves, although not used nearly enough to quench my thirst for abominations, was actually researched and backgrounding was given on the matter. The queries of "how" were answered as well as "what," not leaving so many question marks to plague the mind of the reader when all was said and done. Third, we do have elements of Lee that are mainstays, with evisceration going hand-in-hand with passion and pretexts of "rural subclassification" and making the read fun. Granted, it does take time to get to bodies dropping like flies, but when they come, they come with wings. Lastly, the length of the book let him delve into all type of subjects that Lee wanted to cover. Too often, he seems rushed, with the book passing by and the reader wanting even more. While I still wanted more when the book ended, I thought that the 440 plus pages (in rather small print) said what needed to be said and covered many grounds - even some of them almost seemingly mundane but working to flesh out the characters.

For anyone that likes Lee's newer works, then the monster type in the book might work well for you. You simply have to bear in mind that the pages don't run with blood immediately, nor do things manifest as quickly as some of the other books do. Here, time is taken and people are developed, giving more to the grounds when they are fed the remains of the living. For anyone that hasn't checked out Lee, I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point, but I would say that it would be something to check out if the chance presents itself.

Holiday Baking
Published in Paperback by Tiger Oak Publications (01 November, 1999)
Authors: Land O'Lakes Incorporated and Land O' Lakes
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The Collapse of Reason
Lee Edwardsf book on Communism and the unparalleled amount of suffering it incurred upon humanity, is quite similar to the newly-translated Black Book of Communism by French scholar Stephane Courtois and other contributors. Both raise immensely troubling questions about the historical interpretation of the struggle between communism and anti-communism and the enormity of the horror both totalitarian Communism and capitalist Democracies have visited on those it sought to liberate.

Edwards refers to Stalinfs terror,the Ukrainian famine which claimed up to 6 million lives and the Chinese famines of 1958-61, with an alleged death toll of 25-40 million which constitute a sizeable portion of the 100 million corpses he attributes, correctly,to totalitarian Communism.

In his condemnation of Communism, Edwards makes no reference to the authoritative work of economist Amartya Sen, whose comparison of the Chinese famine to the record of democratic India received much attention when he won the Nobel Prize a few years ago.

Sen observed that India and China had "similarities that were quite striking" when development planning began 50 years ago, including death rates. "But there is little doubt that as far as morbidity, mortality and longevity are concerned, China has a large and decisive lead over India.h Sen estimates the excess of mortality in India over China to be close to 4 million a year: "India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame," 1958-1961.

Using the same accounting methods as Edwards, it is reasonable to conclude that in India democratic capitalism since 1947 has caused more deaths than in the entire history of Communism everywhere since 1917: over 100 million deaths by 1979, tens of millions more since, in India alone.

As a chronicle of humanities capacity to murder and maim in pursuit of utopia, this book tells only half the story and as such provides the reader with a highly skewed, biased interpretation of history.

Great view of Edward's "Collapse of Communism"
This volume shows the total depravity of the system from many viewpoints. It is highly recommended.

I could understand the prior reviewer's complaint if China had really been ECONOMICALLY Communist since the 1970s, but the comparative benefits vis a vis India are attributable to the actual workings of Capitalism in China despite the name up front. Of course, politically China is still as totalitarian as ever. One is reminded of Milton Friedman's analysis of India; its own problem is too much statism regardless of name.

The best analysis is of the total losses in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Why doesn't the prior reviewer compare, say, East and West Germany, or the Ukraine and Iowa?

Overall, this volume is more than worth having.

Distributed Applications With Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 McSd Training Kit: For Exam 70-175 (Dv-McSd Training Kit)
Published in Hardcover by Microsoft Press (1999)
Authors: Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft
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too little
The Comendium contains introducing desciptions of Hunter's antagonists. It's not bad but definitely too little for an own book, even a compendium. It should rather be a chapter in a bigger publication. If you have knowledge about Vampire, Werewolf or Mage you don't need it.

A Needed Addition
The Storytellers Companion is the book that bridges H:tR back into the WoD game. Many have complained that H:tR is too different, or two far removed from the other WoD games and therefore it should be treated as an independant game. Well, this book gets back to the WoD. Not only does it give the storyteller an idea what is going on in the real word, but it also presents a large section on each "monster" type such that a storyteller can bring all the flavor of Vampire, or Werewolf into a Hunters game. Skeptic just have to remeber one thing. This game was written from the point of view that these humans no know thing about the Kindred, the Wolves or the Ghosts. Therefore, on the surface it will look like a "different" game. But all it takes is a creative storyteller to make everything link together.

Cahiers sur la femme et la criminalité : de la recherche coopérative sur programme du CNRS
Published in Unknown Binding by âEditions du CNRS ()
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Confusing, hard to use, full of errors
This book is a terrible book. I found the book extremely frustrating to read and troublesome to use. When I first learned about signals and systems and used this book as a learning guide, I had a terrible time trying to understand the book. Some of the exercises even disagree with the books definition, and after taking an advanced systems and signals courses, I realized that the book is full of errors. For example, its definition of a memoryless system is completely wrong.

I've also tutored students who are using this book at UC Berkeley as the main class textbook. They have a difficult time understanding the book as well. If you want a good introduction to Signals and Systems, get "Signals and Systems" by Haykin and Van Veen instead of this book. That book does a much better job covering the topic and goes more in depth to cover advanced topics such as wavelets and z-transforms.

Engineer's opinion
This book is an extended version of the tutorial course given by the authors at UC Berkeley. It is a very well designed introduction into the most significant areas of the topic as seen by modern researchers and engineers.
The book provides a broad view of the subject and allows to feel the flavor of applications. It gives an overview of typical engineering problems involving signals and systems and indicates essential mathematical techniques for modeling them. Using these tools the authors present a coherent theory as a basis for engineering design.
The book is written in clear language thus making the subject, which is not simple, easy to understand. It is perfectly suitable for an inquisitive freshman who is willing to master the material by going through numerous examples and exercises. There is also a website, which provides access to additional tutorials, labs, interactive examples and useful links.
The scope of the book is such that there is hardly anything to add or delete, although, I believe it would certainly benefit from adding "further reading" sections at the end of each chapter.
Although, I am not a freshman but an engineer, I love this book, because it helped me to feel the joy of dealing with signals and systems and gave me a broader vision of the subject.

Published in Hardcover by Necro Publications (01 June, 2001)
Author: Edward Lee
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Blood aplenty, but the plot's anemic
Edward Lee is definitely an acquired taste. He has taken the genre of "gross out" horror to new heights (or depths). On its own merits, this particular book just did not win me over. I like blood and gore as much as the next guy, but this book over-presents the horrible aspects of the story. The main character has a recurring nightmare of giving birth among a blood-soaked, murderous, orgiastic audience night after night, and the reader is forced to read the same description of that nightmare over and over and over again. Even more annoying is the liberal use of a mysterious, largely incomprehensible language--while this ancient, earthen language is important to the story, its constant appearances in the text prove pretty annoying (especially before any of the terms are defined for the reader) . No character was developed in such a way that I could like or care about him/her, and the thoughts and actions of individuals oftentimes did not seem plausible to me at all. The role played by the protagonist's daughter is not fleshed out enough for me, either--her quick incorporation into the peculiar ways of the community happens much too quickly and without sufficient justification. I will give credit to the author for a decent ending. I thought I saw the end coming very early on in the novel; happily, I found that my conclusions were not quite on target after all (I was still close, though).

Many aspects of this novel can certainly be called disgusting, morally repugnant, obscene--you name it Almost everyone will be disgusted by this author's writing--while many will refuse to read him, a good many will want to read him for this reason alone. If extreme horror is what you are after, you will find it in these pages. However, the almost constant allusions to and overt examples of sexual matters become tiresome if not aggravating and eventually sickening, as it seems that many pages were written solely as a means for Lee to indulge himself in his own sexual fantasies, with little or no concern for the plot at all.

Evil Females
I read this book a few years ago, when it first came out. It is a good book. It is based on an ancient female demon character that is often identified with Lilith, the legendary first wife of Adam, before Eve, however, there are no mentions of the traditional origins of Lilith, Mother of the Succubi and the Incubi AKA Ardat Lili AKA Lilitu(And many other names). The entire story was excellent tho I would have enjoyed a different ending. But the book over all is worth it(if you do not have a weak stomach).

IBM iSeries System Handbook: Version 5, Release 2, January 2003
Published in Paperback by IBM Corp (2003)
Authors: IBM Redbooks and IBM Redbooks
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A "Prosecution" of Robert E Lee, with mixed results...
As a Southerner whose ancestors fought for both the Confederacy AND the Union in the Civil War, I tend to disagree with both sides in the debate over "Lee Considered". I agree with those who argue that a more balanced and realistic view of Robert E Lee is long overdue, and that Nolan's book does offer some telling blows at the Lee mythology. But, I also don't believe that Nolan has made the "convincing" case against Lee that some of the posters on this board would have you to believe. Nolan, who is a lawyer and not an historian (a fact which should be borne in mind as you read this book), attempts to put the romantic, mythological Lee "on trial" and expose him for the flawed and decidedly unheroic person that Nolan believes him to be. Like a good lawyer, Nolan denies trying to "convict" Lee in the beginning of the book, and even states that he admires him in some ways, but the rest of the book reveals Nolan to be committed to "convicting" his target of several specific charges. Namely: 1)That Lee was privately far more supportive of slavery than the Lee myth would have it; 2)That Lee was far more supportive of secession and "breaking up the Union" than his myth reveals; 3)That Lee made numerous mistakes as a General that helped cause the South's defeat - mistakes such as pursuing an aggressive, "go get'em" strategy that led to the highest casualty rates of any Civil War General and bled his smaller army dry; and 4)That Lee prolonged the Civil War longer than was necessary by continuing to fight after Gettysburg, which Nolan argues "convinced" Lee that the South was doomed to defeat, and therefore he should have urged the Confederacy to surrender, or at least refused to fight or encourage his men to make useless sacrifices for a cause he privately knew was doomed. Nolan presents a good deal of "evidence" (much of it in Lee's own words), but like a good prosecutor he leaves out "evidence" which contradicts his theories, and he completely ignores the fact that Lee was a nineteenth-century man, not a late twentieth-century one. An historian would have put many of Lee's views into further context (without necessarily excusing them). Dr. James McPherson, the famed Civil War historian and author of "Battle Cry of Freedom", can hardly be called a "neo-Confederate" historian (if anything he's pro-Union), but even he has some problems with Nolan's book. A few years ago he wrote a criticism of "Lee Considered" in which he "judged" Nolan's "trial" of Lee, and while he found Lee to be "guilty" of being more pro-slavery than the Lee myth allows, he also found Lee to be "innocent" of prolonging the War (McPherson points out that the South still had a good chance of winning the war right up to Lincoln's reelection in November 1864), and that Nolan failed to "prove" many of his other charges, although McPherson argues that Nolan does raise some worthwhile questions about the accuracy of the traditional Lee myth. I fully agree with McPherson's views - this book is worth reading because it does offer a view of Lee that is in some ways more "realistic" than the Lee myth. However, Nolan fails to destroy Lee's reputation as a great general and one of the true "legends" of American military history. Overall, this book is quite a mixed bag, but it's still a thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating piece of work, even if Nolan is sometimes off-target.

A mixed bag but some good analysis
Reading some of the other reviews of this book is proof enough that the Lost Cause orthodoxy is alive and well. It would be simple enough to ascribe this book to vile Yankee enmity for daring to challenge accepted assumptions about RE Lee.

That having been said, I am not totally satisfied with Nolan's approach. He rightfully criticizes various historians for drawing conclusions about Lee based on single statements or letters written by Lee (often after the fact). However, Nolan is often guilty of the same misdeed. While I suspect that the documentary record would tend support Nolan's thesis than undermine it, nonetheless the documentation Nolan provides is quite limited. Carefully selecting the evidence that supports your argument might work in a court of law, but not in a work of history.

I also think that Nolan at times indulges in unnecessary hair-splitting, such as in the 5-page Chapter 5, where he discusses Lee's feelings towards his adversaries. The chapter seemed to me to be totally superfluous and contributed nothing to the book overall.

Nolan, in an effort to discredit the dogma of the Lost Cause, at times goes overboard in his assumptions. When criticizing Lee for undermining the Confederacy's war effort by going too much on the offensive, Nolan states that the South actually had a realistic chance of winning the war. His argument is that if Lee had preserved his manpower more prudently, the South could have withstood the North's attempts at conquest. This is a valid argument, because it is obvious that Lee did a good job of wrecking his army from 1861-1863.

However, Nolan's larger argument rests on the supposition that the South was effectively managing its war effort elsewhere. Ironically, like many of the devotees of the Lost Cause, Nolan ignores the impact of the war in the Western Theatre while focusing on the Eastern Theatre. The reality was that in the Western Theatre, especially in the first two years of the war when North & South were more or less equally matched in the field, the South was steadily losing ground virtually from the beginning. This is due as much to the incompetent generalship of the Confederacy as anything else. Even if Lee had carefully husbanded his manpower, he could not have undone the damage caused by generals such as Polk & Bragg in the Western Theatre.

The best part of Nolan's book is the final chapter, where he discusses the overall effort by the South (with very willing collusion from the North) to turn the Civil War & the Antebellum period into some sort of idyllic fairy tale, due to the racist attitudes that both regions shared. He gives a convincing argument about century-long effort to change the very nature of the war, of which the Lee mythology is only one element.

While at times this book veers dangerously close to being a commonplace chop-job, overall it makes a decent contribution to the literature. If Nolan had provided more comprehensive documentation, its impact would be all the better. As it is, one cannot consider it the last word, but it has ushered in an honest debate on the subject.

An important contribution
No-one fought harder to destroy the Union than Robert E. Lee, so it's about time someone took him down a few pegs. Nolan puts Lee's reputation under a microscope and, point by point, convincingly refutes the myth created by Freeman and others. As Nolan shows, Lee's strategic blunders seriously weakened the Army of Virginia even as his tactical pyrotechnics dazzled such lightweight opponents as McClellan and Burnside. One wonders whether he would have been so successful against Grant (oh, that's right-he wasn't). This book, along with J.W. Cash's "The Mind of the South", is a welcome balance to the usual romantic folderol about Southern honor.

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