First off, let me say that I love anything to do with The Civil War, and will read nearly any book regarding it. I have been highly anticipating this book, and dove into it with both feet. I must say that it is the most comprehensive account of Robert E. Lee that I have read to date.
The book begins with the Harper's Ferry fiasco, wherein John Brown expected to cause a slave rebellion; but of course, it all ended quite differently, and John Brown lost his life and that of his sons. We are given the history of General Lee's upbringing; from birth on, and the type of father he had - a wastrel and scoundrel to be sure - and his mother, from whom he learned his frugality and nearly everything else, and they were very close throughout his life.
He was lucky enough to marry a woman he truly loved, even though her father, George Washington Custis, opposed the match. They had seven children and he completely doted on them, giving them everything he could while still being parsimonious about himself. He felt he could get by 'on very little,' but never refused a reasonable request from them. Indeed, we learn that General Lee was a wonderful, loving, and generous parent.
Mr. Korda deals extensively with General Lee's military career, from it's early beginning to the end. It is a very detailed account, and he intersperses throughout the letters from Robert to Mary about his feelings regarding the situations he was thrust into.
Although I may not agree with everything that has been written about him, feeling personally that some of it may have been extraneous, I found this a fascinating biography of a great General who gave everything he had to the service of his country, and even more so, to the family he loved so well.
A highly recommended book.
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.