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His recent pictorial essay embodied in this new publication chroniclizes Lee throughout his lifetime in vintage photographs. When I met Lee's great grand daughter Anne Carter Zimmer, I realized that some rather poignant pictures existed, but this book supports the fact.
This book should be purchased as a bedtime companion to Thomas's brilliant biography of the icon we know as Lee. The layout and selection of photographs in this publication truly satisfy one's soul in meditative reflection. Don't miss.
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However, until some other historian writes it, Freeman has produced the most comprehensive biography available. His research is thorough, and the writing is definitely beautiful and enjoyable to read.
It is not unbiased. Lee is practically shown as infallible, the Yankees are portrayed as malignant, vile creatures that cheerfully trample the Constitution underfoot, and Lee's mistakes are written off to the bumbling incompetence of his subordinates. While the biography abounds with detail (which makes it an indispensable part of any good bibliography), there is definitely an agenda at work here. This is work which needs to read in concert with more recent scholarship.
This abridged version eliminates some of the mind-numbing detail of Lee's life (I do think that Freeman got a little carried away with this...if he had pared it down a little it might not have taken 20 years to write), but you will still get plenty of the worshipful, gushy prose. What would Freeman be without the gush?
The one thing that stood out was that Robert E. Lee was an honorable gentleman throughout his life. He lived in the time when that was the thing to do. He not only was a fine military Officer, but a good man. Robert E. Lee was a man with a code of conduct that he imposed on himself and never wavered from it. He fought for the Confederation as the General of the Army when he knew that the south was loosing the war and did not really believe in what the south stood for, but he believed in honor and defending his home, Virginia as he always had.
This book was the result of combining seven volumes and making one book. Editing it must have been a job and it was a job well done. The book is seamless in spite of the fact that is a combination of seven volumes. The war was very well covered. It will make a lot of battle fans happy with its detailed description of every battle.
Lee's destiny was set when his father, 'Light-Horse Harry" Lee who was a brilliant dreamer about riches which, he never seen, had quite a bit of influence on Robert's life. Harry spent some time in debtor's prison. His father's life had a great deal to do with Robert's attitude toward any kind of debt. He believed in living on the money you had.
Robert managed to get into the Academy with the help of his friend's and mother's family. He graduated at the top of his class in West Point. He studied engineering; it was the only thing that emphasized physics and math at that time (1820). What Mr. Lee had during this time, was brains that was driven by his code of life, which allowed him to be a historical figure in the 19th Centenary. I'm afraid that this code of living, honest, truth, ethics, and honor has been downgraded by a lot of people to where it does not have impact in the 21 Centenary. It used to be what American stood for.
Robert E. Lee graduated from the West Point Academy with honors in 1828-29. Lt. Lee received his first orders as a Brevet Second Lieut. for duty with Major Samuel Babcock of the Corps. Of Engineers for duty at Cockspur, Island, in the Savanna River, Georgia.
His brother, Henry Lee disgraced him by losing the family place Stratford for a debt and getting in trouble with the younger sister of his wife. What would not have been worth bringing up now days, the honor of the family meant a lot more then--Henry Lee was never mentioned again by Robert E. Lee.
Finally, in 1846 Lt. Robert E. Lee received his order to report to Brigadier General John E. Wool for service in Mexico. He was chosen to fight in a war, his first. He left the Mexican war when it was over as a brevet of Colonel without the colonel's pay. During the Mexican war he had earned the high opinion of his supervisors and the other American Officers for his superior ability to think and carry out an action. He was now 'Colonel Lee', a title of respect.
A great part of the book explained in detail about the battles when he was the General of the Confederation of Army. This part of the his life is very covered in detail. Later he accepted a position at Washington and Lee University and left that position and the world in 1870.
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There is a lot of literature written about the Civil War and most of it is excellent historical fiction, but there is an honest attempt to write the truth about the final days of "Lee's Last Retreat." This book has a goal in mind and it is to tell what happened in the last week of the Civil War from Spring 1865 and on into the final week Monday, April 3 to Sunday, April 9, 1865.
This book has limited the scope to mainly just the final seven days of the war as Grant is chasing and closing ranks around Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. The final day at Appomattox Court House, the day the Grant accepts Lee's total surrender.
The truth is that Lee made at least one fatal mistake during his last campaign, and his subordinates were guilty of errors and omissions for which another commanding general would have been held responsible. For all the ultimate good it might have done him, Lee could actually have escaped alone the line of the Danville railroad had the administrative framework of his army not disintegrated, and with it the morale of his men. Had his engineers not failed to provide a pontoon bridge for the escape of the Richmond column, or had they warned him of that failure, he might have avoided the final delay at Amelia Court House. These and other errors of omission could have swayed, if corrected, the final out come of the war and a much different result.
The book has a rapid paced narrative that brings to light the final week in the campaign of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia the finest army to be ever assembled and fight on American soil. This book is full of actual accounts, letters, diaries and other contemporary documents. This is a welcome addition to your library for this time period.
"Lee's Last Retreat" is a fast paced book retelling Lee's retreat and Grant's relentless pursuit. Unlike so many recent Civil War books, Marvel does not get lost in the details nor does he make his book too long. He tells the story in 199 pages including 23 pages of photographs. To use a term seldom used to describe works of nonfiction, this is a real page turner. That is not to say that this is a "light" work. The author spices his account with a lot of detail from diaries and letters. His research and documentation is first-rate. For those wanting more he includes @40 pages of appendices and an order of battle. This is Marvel's second work on Appomattox and he is very familiar with the material. His other book was "A Place Called Appomattox".
Marvel does not hesitate to state his opinion and I found his insights fair and refreshing. I found myself laughing at some of his characterizations. For example, on page 87, he refers to George Custer as "the insufferably arrogant Custer." He spares neither Rebels nor Yankees where it is deserved.
"Lee's Last Retreat" adds to the excellent reputation that Marvel earned with his book on Andersonville. Add this book to your library.
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I would recommend this book to anybody that wants to know what is Windows DNA/.Net (beside thinking it's everything that Microsoft is providing for developers!). Of course, you cannot have all those technologies into one book and expect the best coverage on all of them. Having that in mind, the authors create an incredible reference for developers that wants to upgrade to a more scalable & distributed environment as well as to take leverage of the new technologies that came with Windows 2000 (for developers that is).
The only thing that I have to mention (and I did to Wrox) was that I personnaly believe that this book, though the readers needs to have professional knowledge of development, would be better inside the Beginning series since this book serves as an overview reference of all those technologies. Wrox will undoubtfully then release multiple Professional books that will go further in those new technologies (such as doing COM+ events or asynchronous components, having XML Business Objects, etc.).
As a bottom line, most of the authors wrote in a confident programming style and it is a very interesting book to go through. ... But I can't wait for the .Net one!
I recommend this book a chapter at a time (after reading the first 2 review chapters), in order to learn how to implement a technology (like MTS, MSMQ, etc) in the real world.
This book covers Microsoft DNA and does so very well. If you have been following the evolution of Microsoft's Enterprise development methodology and related technologies (MTS, COM, etc..) then you should flip though this one before buying to make sure it offers enough new information for your investment. Do this especially if you already have the Wrox title: Professional MTS/MSMQ and you have a good book on ASP or Visual Basic.
If however you are a beginner/intermediate level Visual Basic, ASP or VC++ developer and you want to expand you knowledge from how to build small-to mid-sized client-server or desktop applications to building scalable Enterprise solutions then this book is for you.
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The military side of Lee is, of course, a major part of Thomas's story. However, he has attempted to paint a charactor study of Robert E. Lee so that his deportment and decisions during the Civil War can be seen to flow from a man molded by tradition, duty, honor and the uniquely historic family from which he came.
This means that the book spends much time on Lee's pre Civil War life as well as time delving into his relationships with his family and others. The result is a readible book that gives the reader an entre into the man Robert E. Lee. Those looking for a military expose or exploration may be somewhat disappointed, but this is still a worthwhile book.
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"City Infernal" is a real thrill ride. Lee tells us the story of Cassie, a Goth girl recovering from the suicide of her twin sister Lissa. Cassie and her father, a big shot Washington lawyer, move into the Virginia boonies to put the past behind them. Unfortunately for the two, they move into a mansion built by a Satanist. Cassie discovers that the house is occupied by three dead teenagers and serves as a gateway to the underworld (one of the teens is a mute named Hush. Nifty name!). But the Hades that Lee creates isn't all fire and brimstone; this Hades is a city built over the last 5000 years. It is much like New York or any other global metropolis. But in this city, torture, cannibalism, weird shops, and other types of mayhem can all be found during a stroll down the street. In Hades, black magic and sorcery are hard sciences. One can buy elixirs and cast spells on other people. Lucifer exists and lives in the largest high rise in the city, where he controls all types of government operations. The fallen angel Ezoriel, who battles his former friend for control of the underworld, opposes him by using terrorist tactics with a private army.
Cassie enters Hades with her three dead friends, hoping to find Lissa. Fortunately for Cassie, it is quickly discovered that she has special powers in Hades. The result is a freewheeling ride through the nooks and crannies of the city. We see Cassie and her chums battling demon cops, eating at a fancy restaurant that serves human and demon meat, cooling their heels at a club, and running from a gangster called "Nicky the Cooker."
I found this book highly entertaining. Lee is a reader's writer. He knows that when creating such a fascinating world, the reader wants details. That is exactly what Lee delivers. Hundreds of pages are devoted to the minutiae of life in the netherworld. We get to see a demon birth, gruesome murders and tortures, very strange television programs, and some of the more famous residents of the underworld. All of this is described in abundant and clever detail.
I liked Cassie a lot, probably because she reminds me of several young ladies I know. Her internal observations were entertaining and realistic, considering the subject matter. Cassie's anguish over her responsibility for her sister's death is written with genuine feeling and comes across as such. Some of her reactions to experiences in Hades are a bit ridiculous, but on the whole she emerges as a good character that the reader knows quite well by the end of the story.
Other characters aren't drawn as well. Cassie's dead buddies are central to the story, but come across as one dimensional (of course, they are dead!). Lissa is an enigma; she appears at the beginning of the book, and only intermittently throughout. We know the context in which she kills herself, but never understand the real reason for her actions. This is a problem because Lee originally paints Cassie as the outcast, depressed loner while Lissa is an extrovert.
An even bigger problem is Lee's tendency to make the rules up as he goes along. We are told, by Cassie's dead friends in the beginning, that Hades has many rules. How fortunate that these rules always become apparent when most needed, and always helpful to our heroes! The demon cops are closing in-presto! We're invisible! Oh dear, it doesn't look like we're going to get out of this situation alive-here's Ezoriel and his black knights to save the day! I could probably stomach most of these miraculous saves, as most fiction uses them to some extent or another. But by the time the end of the book rolls around, it gets cutesy-wootsy and it grates.
Despite a few minor problems, this book is still a lot of fun. I would read more Ed Lee in the future, based on what I know of him from this book. If you like horror/sci-fi/fantasy, pick this one up before it goes out of print.
This book is a great example of an original concept executed perfectly. The question asked is, "If human civilization has evolved over the years, would Hell have as well?" Lee provides a thoughtful answer, doing the initial question justice.
The main character, a Goth girl named Cassie, is still haunted by her sister's suicide, and the subsequent results. After seeing his daughter attempt suicide twice, despite counseling, Cassie's father decides that a change of scenery is the best thing for her. While exploring her new house in the countryside, Cassie discovers three teenagers living upstairs. After talking with them, they reveal to Cassie that they are from Hell, and that according to history, Cassie is a powerful being, what they call an Etheress. Cassie is asked to accompany them to Hell, and at first she refuses. But when she realizes that this will give her a chance to finally say goodbye to her sister, Cassie agrees. From here, the novel begins to pick up steam, all the way trhough to the action-filled climax.
Lee has managed to create a horrific vision of Hell, unlike anything else ever written. He has taken great pains to write about this world to the smallest detail, and it shows, making the novel even more enjoyable.
This is one of the most ambitious novels I have read in quite a while. With a cast of characters you cannot help but enjoy reading about, this is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. You can't go wrong by picking this book up.
And this is one of his milder books...
Ed Lee is truly an original. BUY THIS BOOK if you want intelligent, well-written horror with wit, fast-pacing, humor and a raucous sense of adventure! I've already purchased extra copies of City Infernal to give to family and friends. Yes, it's THAT good.
Once you get started reading Lee, you'll wonder how you ever put up with the hum drum drivel you're used to reading. Lee spoils ya as a reader. There's not a dull moment in his novels. YOU'LL LOVE HIM! Also, check out DAHMER'S NOT DEAD, BIGHEAD and CREEKERS. You won't be sorry.
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This book helps a person to understand how history evolves in the process of retelling over a period of several generations.