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This book, despite its publishing date, is still the best biography in existance about Robert E. Lee. All other attempts (including Douglas Southall Freeman's) suffer from being much too hagiographic. Dowdey, a Southerner, likes his Lee very much, but alone among biographers he's also interested in finding out what made Lee tick. This book would be better if some editor could add new information to it but as it stands, this is still the one to go to.
Dowdey commits the ultimate sin of biography. Those who have problems with Lee are painted as selfish and conniving (Longstreet, Beauregard) and Davis is blamed for Lee's ultimate defeat and portrayed as a psychopath. Jackson and Stuart, the dead heroes of the Lost Cause, are painted with bright colors. It is all too convenient. Also, Dowdey does what most Virginians do when they consider Lee: he genuflects far too much.
Clifford Dowdey was born in Richmond, Virginia January 23, 1904 and died there May 30, 1979. The Richmond Newspapers, the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Richmond News Leader eulogized him as The Last Confederate. His father was descended from immigrants surnamed O'Dowda of County Galway, Ireland, and his mother from an English settler of Jamestown. His father worked for Western Union and his ...moreMore about Clifford Dowdey...