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Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,902 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command is the most colorful and popular of Douglas Southall Freeman's works. A sweeping narrative that presents a multiple biography against the flame-shot background of the American Civil War, it is the story of the great figures of the Army of Northern Virginia who fought under Robert E. Lee.
The Confederacy won resounding victories throug
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ebook, Abridged, 912 pages
Published July 29th 2001 by Touchstone (first published 1940)
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Mike Kershaw
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A three volume work by Lee’s biographer, which is a study into the command of the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. Freeman lays out his arguments in his opening chapter of the first book, which concentrates on the development of the army command prior to Lee’s assumption of command. The second book deals with the period highlighted by the Lee/Jackson command team. He states his lessons learned in the opening chapter of his final book and traces the army from Gettysburg th ...more
Al
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wbts, favorites
Freeman was not a professional scholar, and this makes this work and his biography of Lee that much more impressive. It was a fascinating read into the personalities of Lee's main subordinates, especially the young Sandie Pendelton. Freeman clearly mastered his sources in an age where you had to physically travel to examine documentary sources. It's clear that Freeman is a Lee partisan, but this in no way detracts from the scope or quality of the work. It's meant to be a study of command: method ...more
Aeli
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is required reading if you are going to do any study of Robert E. Lee. It is slanted toward Lee's subordinates always making the mistakes, as opposed to Lee himself, but it is a very, very good read.

One caveat. This is not the book for the military or civil war beginner. But it is still required reading to know about Lee, just after you have versed yourself in other CW books (like Shelby Foote's narratives about the Civil War).
Jonnie Enloe
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As it was written in the forties when there were still men alive who fought in the War, it is very complicated. The country still had first hand knowledge and no artistic license is taken. The story is it is a story, more of an account, is astounding, as you read and somehow the numbers of casualties never leaves you mind. Of course we will never know another war like this which is fine by me. Lee had the men and Lincoln had the guns and trains. That is just about it. In this first volume of wha ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
I can recognize this book as a pillar of Civil War history, while also recognizing that the historiography has moved past it, and while the collection of primary source accounts are vital, in terms of research questions, writing style, and place in a larger academic debate, Lee's Lieutenants is obsolete and painful.

Freeman makes a close study of the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia in terms of the leading subordinates of Robert E Lee (he had previously written a massive biography of Le
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Bob
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summary: Stephen Sears abridged version of Douglas Southall Freeman's three volume study of the military leadership of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee.

Most of the reading I've done of Civil War history has either focused on the ups and downs of the Union's military leadership, or covered different battles looking at what both sides are doing. The unique thing Douglas Southall Freeman did in this landmark work was study in detail the military leadership of the genera
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Big Bill
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just about the best Civil War book, actually three books, written. It looks at the key generals immediately under Lee's command: how they succeeded and how they failed. The book more or less follows the campaigns of the eastern theater chronologically.
Steve
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent overview of Robert E Lee's commanding generals and the battles they fought as well as the battle stragedies used in each of the battles that were fought.
Manray9
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
You can't study Confederate military history without reference to Freeman's masterpiece -- all three volumes. It is the definitive work.
Gerry Germond
Read all three volumes over a two-year period. Spoiler alert: Yankees win. Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command, published 1942-44, is a military history of the Army of Northern Virginia, from said army's point of view. As he did with his biography of Lee, Dr. (Ph.D. in history) Freeman gives as little information of Federal forces as was known by Lee or his generals. This helps us to understand and appreciate the logic of some of the Army's moves. With as many generals as there were in the arm ...more
Darren Burton
I developed a strong interest in the Civil War four years ago after reading a biography on President Lincoln that touched on how frustrated he was with trying to find competent officers to lead the Army of the Potomac. When I drove to Knoxville, Tennessee I took the audio books Gods and Generals, and The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara with me. The descriptions of the battle ground and unfolding battle were so vivid that I could see it clearly in my mind. By the time, I was finished with both a ...more
Greg
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war-nf
Actually a bit disappointing for me, per my expectations. I was expecting a collection of mini-biographies of most of Lee's generals and brigadiers. But instead this book turned out to be more of a retelling of the history of the Army of Northern Virginia, but from the sense of an organization chart. You could almost read this as a history of promotions and demotions, and sort of reads like one. I'm not sure, but suspect that Sears, in his editing to make this an abridged version of the 3 set se ...more
Ben B
After several book written from the Union perspective, it was interesting (and somewhat jarring) to read a Civil War history so unabashedly worshipful of the Confederacy and its leaders.

The writing was good and the approach interesting. I can't imagine reading the whole five-volume set, though: it started to drag shortly after Gettysburg, and toward the end it was just one paragraph after another of how much Thomas Jackson was missed.

Incidentally I live near a high school named for Freeman. I g
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Georgiann Baldino
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I have read the first two volumes of the three volume set. The details of character and setting is what sets the accounts apart from other Civil War histories. Freeman describes the physical, moral and intellectual qualities of the major commanders, which brings them to life as human beings. He describes the battlefield conditions, weather and human interest stories of these great events, so we know what it was like for real people caught up in each struggle
James Huston
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are the books my father was reading on the train when his division was ordered from California to England to prepare for the invasion of France. Amazingly well written, and fascinating character studies. Detailed accounts of every civil war battle, but most importantly, terrific insights into the men who led the fight in the civil war for the confederacy.
John C
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good review of the battles of the Civil War from the subordinates of General Lee. It explains in great detail the Southern movements before and during the battles. Shows the difficulty of coordination.
Georgiann Baldino
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Freeman gives us more than history; he also provides descriptions and motives, hard to find without going back to the original correspondence and papers of key players. It's easy to see why his book is still an important source of information.
Sean Jacobs
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the first in a two volume series on Robert E. Lee. Even though I thought I knew everything there was to know about Robert E. Lee, many in depth descriptions of events were added knowledge of the great General Robert E. Lee. Great book for Civil War buffs.
Raul
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent!
Rob Conner
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another must have for any civil war buff. A great survey into the Army of Northern Virginia and it's constant dynamic shifts in command
Bruce
Mar 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
A thorough if a bit dry examination of Lee's underlings. This book does not concentrate on the battles themselves, but more upon the men who were directing them. A fresh and enlightening look.
Brian
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this first in grade school and probably 3 times since then. On my top five list of books to have on a deserted island. Get the 3 volume set and avoid any abridgements.
David Roemer
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The son of a Confederate veteran, Douglas Southall Freeman was long interested in the Civil War. A man of intense work ethic, he earned his PhD at 22, then balanced a journalist's demanding schedule with a historian's, as he churned out Lee's Dispatches (1915), the Pulitzer-Prize-winning four-volume R. E. Lee: A Biography (1934-35), Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command (1942-44), and finally, the ...more
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