Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review--Lee:A Life of Virtue by John Perry

Occasionally I get advance copies of books to read and review from Thomas Nelson Publishers, which is a real blessing. When I got the opportunity to review a biography recently I accepted . Let me start by saying I usually don't get the opportunity to read biographies because I usually focus more in the religious/academic realm for my regular reading. However, I jumped at the chance to read a book on an enigmatic character that has always intrigued me: Gen. Robert E. Lee. I am a history buff and have always enjoyed the great story of our past. I admit that most of my knowledge of Lee before reading this book was based upon History Channel documentaries and small biographical glimpses from school history lessons. Sadly, his name is synonymous with racism and the ugly era of our past. Perry's biography is an attempt to go beyond the stereotype and see a genuine man who had a heart for his family and his country. This biography is nice in that it doesn't get mired down with the dates and battles, as many biographies about military heroes outline. Rather, Perry attempts to give you a glimpse into his family history and their interaction throughout Lee's full life, of which the Civil War is only a small part. One of the most interesting things I learned from this work is the connection between Robert E. Lee and many of our nation's founding fathers, mainly George Washington. For example, did you know that Arlington National Cemetery was actually Robert E. Lee's family home before the Civil War? Did you know that Lee's wife was the step-great granddaughter of George Washington or that Lee's father was a governor of Virgina? I found this to be a fascinating tie in about which I never knew. Beyond the history lesson, Perry offers glimpses of a devoted Christian man who was dedicated to many virtues lost in our time: love of country, devotion to family, and the power of hardwork. I recommend this book to any of you history buffs out there for an informative, casual read.

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