Clouds of Glory : The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee
by Michael Korda

Overview -

New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's fresh, contemporary single volume historical biography of General Robert E. Lee--perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes.  Read more...

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More About Clouds of Glory by Michael Korda

New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's fresh, contemporary single volume historical biography of General Robert E. Lee--perhaps the most famous and least understood legend in American history and one of our most admired heroes.

Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant and the bestsellers Ike and Hero, paints a vivid and admiring portrait of Lee as a brilliant general, a devoted family man, and principled gentleman who disliked slavery and disagreed with secession, yet who refused command of the Union Army in 1861 because he could not "draw his sword" against his beloved Virginia.

Well-rounded and realistic, Clouds of Glory analyzes Lee's command during the Civil War and explores his responsibility for the fatal stalemate at Antietam, his defeat at Gettysburg (as well the many troubling controversies still surrounding it) and ultimately, his failed strategy for winning the war. As Korda shows, Lee's dignity, courage, leadership, and modesty made him a hero on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and a revered American icon who is recognized today as the nation's preeminent military leader.

Clouds of Glory features dozens of stunning illustrations, some never before seen, including twelve pages of color, twenty-four pages of black-and-white, and nearly fifty in-text battle maps.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062116291
  • ISBN-10: 0062116290
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • Publish Date: May 2014
  • Page Count: 785
  • Dimensions: 9.23 x 6.27 x 2.02 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Military
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical - General
Books > History > United States - Civil War

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-04-28
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this exhaustive study, former Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief Korda (Ulysses S. Grant) examines the life of Robert E. Lee from start to finish, illuminating not just the man, but his extended family and the society which produced him. While Korda's treatment verges on hero worship, he 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. History has supported most of these claims; Korda backs up the rest with an accessible and authoritative account of Lee's career. Naturally, while Lee's schooling and early service are covered, the bulk of this book is reserved for the events of the Civil War. 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. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (May)

BookPage Reviews

The definitive biography of General Lee

From the Duke boys’ car named the General Lee on the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV show to his appearance on a U.S. postage stamp, Robert E. Lee has come to “embody and glorify a defeated cause,” Michael Korda asserts in a monumental new biography, Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee.

Korda, a former publishing executive and author of many books, including a popular biography of U.S. Grant, exhaustively explores Lee’s life and times, probing the Southern general’s personality, his political and religious views, and the brilliant military strategies that catapulted him into the position of commander of the Confederate armies. The book traces Lee’s life from his relationship with his father, the famous light cavalry leader, Light Horse Harry Lee, to his college days at West Point—where he graduated as one of the top three in his class. When the Civil War began, his early battles in the Virginia mountains showed Lee how difficult the coming war would be and how to put into practice the lessons he learned from studying Napoleon at West Point.

Accompanied by 30 maps of battles and dozens of illustrations, Korda’s deftly painted portrait depicts a man whose strength of conviction established him as a great leader just as it caused him to make painful decisions. When Virginia seceded, Lee resigned his commission as Colonel of the 1st Regt. Of Cavalry, painfully bringing to an end his 36-year career, because he “would not participate in any Union attack against the South.” Korda illustrates Lee’s complexity as a Southerner who disagreed with secession and disliked slavery, but would fight to defend his beloved state of Virginia.

Lee emerges from Korda’s biography as a “fallible human being whose strengths were courage, his sense of duty, his religious belief, his military genius, his constant search to do right, and his natural and instinctive courtesy.”


This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews