Analysis of Lee the Last Years, Charles Flood Essay

Analysis of Lee the Last Years, Charles Flood Essay

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In his extraordinary book, Lee the Last Years, Charles Flood gives a rare blend of history and emotion. After Lee’s surrender at Appomattox courthouse, he only lived a total of five years before his death. Some people might think that he was just a general, but the best years of his life were after the war because he changed the minds of the south and he changed education. Even though Robert E. Lee is best remembered for his military campaigns, this is a part of history not told in many history books because he did more than any other American to heal the wounds of the south and he served as a president for Washington College, which was later renamed after his death to be Washington and Lee University.
The beginning of the book begins with surrender at Appomattax. On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee signed the letter in which he accepted Grants terms for the surrender of the northern army of virginia. The terms required by Grant were generous compared to the what Lee expected. He feared that his army would face humiliation and prison camps, but the terms only required the release of the prisoners and the surrender of Lee’s army, with the prerequisite of the army laying down there arms. From this moment to the end of his life, Lee never allowed an unkind word about Grant to be spoken in his presence.
Throughout the war, Lee had been awed by his soldiers dedication. He issued General Order Number 9, which was his last official communication to his army. The order told the army of his admiration and appreciation for them. The tribute was so eloquent that generations of southern school children would recite it as their counterpart to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
As Lee arrived back to his home in Richmond, his only desir...

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...olds the story of a man dignified in history. This book is truly an admirable piece of litature.
In conclusion, although some people might think that he was just a general; the best years of his life were after the war for two main reasons. First, he changed education. But most importantly, he changed the minds of the south. Without Lee’s character during his last five years, the south might have been in chaos. Lee shows evidence to the power of healing, and the difference education can make. This man truly represents what a true christian was, and should be studied for ages to come, but as the man he was, as opposed to the general. The last years of this mans life are by far the most amazing, and should get just as much attention as his years in the war.

Works Cited

Flood, Charles Bracelen. Lee the Last Years. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Print.

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