• The Man Who Would Not Be Washington

  • Robert E. Lee's Civil War and His Decision that Changed American History
  • By: Jonathan Horn
  • Narrated by: David Drummond
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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The Man Who Would Not Be Washington

By: Jonathan Horn
Narrated by: David Drummond
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Publisher's Summary

On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington's most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington's adopted child. Each side sought his services for high command. Lee could choose only one. The decision he made would change history. In The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee and His Civil War, former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the officer most associated with Washington's legacy went to war against the union that represented Washington's greatest legacy. This thoroughly researched and gracefully written biography follows the Virginia icon through married life, military glory, and misfortune. The story that emerges is more complicated, more tragic, and more illuminating than the familiar tale. More complicated because the unresolved question of slavery - the seed of disunion - was among the personal legacies that Washington left Lee. More tragic because the Civil War destroyed the people and places connecting Lee to Washington in agonizing and astonishing ways. More illuminating because the battle for Washington's memory shaped the nation that America is today. As Washington was the man who would not be king, Lee was the man who would not be Washington. The choice was Lee's. The story is America's.

©2015 Original Material Scribner, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, Inc. (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Man Who Would Not Be Washington

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A breath of unbiased truth!

Wonderfully narrated story of Lee's roots; connection to Washington; life, career, death and aftermath without politicized biasness.

5 people found this helpful

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Another Lee biography

There are a plethora of Robert E. Lee biographies out there. This particular one does not give us any really deep or even different insight on the general. It does it’s best to be free of biases of Douglas Southall Freeman’s deification of Lee in his biography of the general or Connelly’s hit job in his work, “The Marble Man,” but it’s pretty short on detail and never approaches anything other than surface level analysis. It’s not a terrible listen, but I came away with no new food for thought on the man, Robert E. Lee.

3 people found this helpful

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A Decision That Changed The Course of The Nation

An engaging book with so much information about the man and the myth of Robert E. Lee. The narrator is superb with perfect clarity of speech and emphasis (or lack thereof) at the proper times. While stirring emotions of sorrow for Lee's horrific decision, which unarguably caused the death of thousands, the book then conversely brings forth the glimpses of Lee's knowledge of his errors. It was worth every minute.

1 person found this helpful

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It's all been said before and better.

Would you try another book from Jonathan Horn and/or David Drummond?

If it's your first book about Lee or the Civil War it would be somewhat interesting, but all it really does is repeat what has been said it many other places and like I said, not as well.

1 person found this helpful

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The man who would raise the name Lee to the highes

Good read. Offers a full understanding of what Robert E. Lee would have to consider as he resigned from the union army. His father having been one of Washington's closest officers in the revolution, his wife being the daughter of Washington's adopted son. As simply as Washington being a hero to Lee. Oh how difficult a decision to make. Lee knew first & foremost he was a Virginian so there could be no other choice. Wonderfully told in both story & performance. A great book for all who love American history, particularly civil war history. Get it today ?

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent account

This is an excellent account of the civil war from the perspective we seldom hear. That of a patriot forced to fight against the union he wanted

1 person found this helpful

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Good background information.

Steady performance does well enough to tell the story clearly, and unemotionally. The story has been told before and no new revelations come to light in this effort. Enlightening for somebody just getting to know who Robert E Lee was. This biography is not an in depth course nor is it written from a personal viewpoint. Instead it gives a glimpse of his life and attempts to explain his milestones and tribulations as they are clinically discussed. Recommended for those who simply wish to learn more. Helpful for those who wish to learn the documented facts related in an easy to follow tell. From his pedigree to his death. To better understand a little about what made him the man who would refuse command of the Grand Army only to lead the ragtag Armies of the South. About the circumstances surrounding this man who fought against such overwhelming odds to satisfy his honor. Respected on both sides of the Potomic River- then as now- Lee's life cannot be contained within a single volume.

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very informative

Understand the reasoning behind so many of the choices Lee made. How the war affected not only Lee himself but his family. How the government took that which belonged not only to him but his wife Mary and their children. The toll on the entire Lee family.

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Very good and compact biography of Lee

I enjoyed this book and recommend it. It is a good relatively brief biography of Lee and particularly focuses on his connection to George Washington, something which I did not know very much about.