Few episodes in history are more painful to Americans than the Civil
War, fought between the North and the South. This biography, Great
American Generals - Robert E. Lee, by Ian Hogg, takes the reader through
the life of one of the greatest heroes of that war, Robert E. Lee. It is a
thorough, in depth record of the life of Lee and begins with a detailed account
of his family history and his birth, through his college years, military
experience and his work in later life to his death on October 12, 1870. The
first few pages set the scene by listing a substantial amount of facts about the
names and backgrounds of his parents Harry and Ann and Lee\'s wife, Mary
Custis, with some reference to his father\'s army career and political life.
After Lee\'s early years, the reader will learn of his schooling at the Military
Academy, West Point, followed by his life in the Army before and after the
Civil War. The biography ends in the latter pages with an account of his
work after his military career came to an end, and finally, with his death after
a prolonged period of ill-health, thought to be stress induced.
Author Ian Hogg is a prolific writer in the field of defense and military
technology. He is a weapons expert, having written many books on all types
of rifles, shotguns and small arms, such as Modern Rifles, Shotguns and
Pistols, and Modern Small Arms. He is an acknowledged expert on infantry
weapons and is thought to be the world\'s leading expert on this and artillery
strategies. He is a well known author of military history, and works as a
weapons evaluator in addition to his writing.

Robert E. Lee was born in Stratford, Virginia on January 19, 1807.
His father, Henry Lee, had achieved fame with Washington\'s army as
"Lighthorse Harry,"and it was a fame that rested not only on his cavalry
exploits but upon sound strategic and tactical ability. A significant portion of
his fame was credited to him for beating off a surprise British attack at Spread
Eagle Tavern in January, 1778. Unfortunately Harry was egotistical
and had a high opinion of his own abilities. Although he achieved the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, he felt that he deserved more. When the war ended and he
had not advanced in rank he resigned from the army to pursue a career in
politics. Henry decided to run for the position of governor. He was elected
Governor of Virginia for three terms. Retiring, as was then customary in
Virginia, on the expiration of his third term, Henry Lee was enough in the
public eye to be considered as a possible successor to Washington. He was,
however, a poor manager of his affairs, and was constantly dodging his
creditors, providing very little of substance for his family. He was a waster,
with no thought for their welfare. A man with no sense of responsibility to
his affairs, Henry Lee eventually ended up in jail for a year for non-payment
of his debts. Upon his release, he spent every waking moment writing his
memoirs, with no regard for his family at all.
Lee\'s mother was Ann Carter Lee, daughter of Charles Carter. She was
an invalid, but possessed a strong and beautiful character, and Robert grew
up with a keen sense of honor and responsibility. Robert was named after his
mother\'s brothers, Edward and Robert Carter.
Lee\'s father, Henry, was separated from the family when Robert was
only four years old. Lee\'s mother left Henry due to his lack of provision for
them, and Lee assumed the responsibility of the household at a very early age.
Henry subsequently died when Lee was only eleven, but Lee\'s struggle to
maintain the household without the presence of a father, and with little
money, taught him valuable lessons in self-discipline, lessons which
supported him well in his military career.
Since there was no money for college, Robert entered the U.S. Military
Academy in 1825 to pursue a career in the military. He was fortunate in
becoming a Cadet at the Institution at a time when the Superintendent was
Major Sylvanus Thayer, the man who started West Point on its way to fame
as a military training school. He was the second to graduate in a class of 46.
Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the
Engineering Corps, a division of the Army which at that time received only
the best Cadets. Unfortunately his pleasure and success diminished when he
returned home to Arlington to find his mother in the last