This is the first major biography of Lee in nearly twenty years. Korda is the NYT bestselling author of biographies of T.E. Lawrence (Hero) and Eisenhower (Ike), as well as a recounting of the Battle of Britain, With Wings like Eagles.
Korda has long been a student of the Civil War; his brief biography Ulysses S. Grant was a vivid, engaging work that brought the last days of the Civil War and the early days of post-war America to life for me.
Advance reviews of Clouds of Glory suggest that this might be his meatiest and most successful book yet. Couple it with twelve pages of color illustrations, twenty-four pages of black and white illustrations, and nearly fifty in-text battle maps and you’ve got a very impressive offering for Father’s Day tables.
Review coverage starts with the NYTBR and USA Today.
Former Simon & Schuster editor in chief and acclaimed biographer Korda is well-acquainted with heroes of the ages and has learned to present his subjects as true human beings with foibles, faults and failures….George Washington was Lee’s idol, and during his schooling, he discovered the writings of Napoleon, which he applied throughout his life—especially the use of speed, audacity and élan to defeat an army twice the size of his forces. Lee was a member of one of Virginia’s oldest families, and his devotion was to his state, family and country, in that order. He felt that secession was unmerited and that slavery should not be extended but be allowed to dwindle away. Korda’s clear descriptions of Lee’s battles illuminate his closest subordinates, especially Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet, his curious methods of leading and his incredible patience….It was Lee who kept the South going as his barefoot army starved and froze but followed him with unqualified devotion.”
“[Korda] explores Lee’s qualities and contradictions thoroughly, approaching him first and foremost as a state patriot, loyal to Virginia before any other cause. He further presents Lee as a military genius, a brilliant engineer (Lee re-channeled the Mississippi River near St. Louis), a spiritual descendant of George Washington, an embodiment of Napoleonic tactics, and a living legend in his own time….The size of this tome is intimidating but fitting, given its subject: Lee, the famed American general whose legend still looms long after the end of the Civil War. If not the gold standard for Lee biographies, this is a superbly engaging offering.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee (9780062116291) by Michael Korda. $40.00 hardcover. 5/13/14 on sale.