• The Seven Days

  • The Emergence of Robert E. Lee and the Dawn of a Legend
  • By: Clifford Dowdey
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Tecosky
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (130 ratings)

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The Seven Days

By: Clifford Dowdey
Narrated by: Nicholas Tecosky
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Publisher's Summary

The Seven Days Campaign was a series of battles fought near Richmond at the end of June 1862. General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had routed General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. Depriving McClellan of a military decision meant the war would continue for two more years.

The Seven Days depicts a critical turning point in the Civil War that would ingrain Robert E. Lee in history as one of the finest generals of all time. Masterfully written, The Seven Days is Dowdey at his finest—detailed and riveting.

©1964, 2012 Clifford Dowdey. Copyright renewed 1992 by Carolyn Dunaway (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Seven Days

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Seven Days:A different Title would work

I really like Dowdy. He is a great writer. I just think the title is somewhat misleading. Yes it’s the dawn of the legend of Roberty Lee but it is equally the The early spring of two great armies, A story of the clash of egos and leadership in spite of political meddling, and the making of another legend: the failure of George B McClelland.

Dowdy informs the reader on intimate battle tactics, and the thinking of the decision makers, which is carefully researched and very well thought out and convincing.
But for a Yankee, One must go in with clear context of dowdy‘s deep Virginia roots and a reputation as Virginia’s “Last Confederate.”

But In spite of his roots, he lets neither side off the hook for mistakes and weaknesses, including Lee’s, that contributed to success or failure , most notably, political in-fighting, mistrust, and mighty egos which often clashed.

But his bias comes through in his brief bio and character development of each Confederate general and soldier he will cover. This can be excused as so many of these men were characters worthy of mythologizing.

The trouble for me is that Dowdy leaves little time for theThe Union remains 3rd person, while confederates come alive. The offshoot is the occasional unveiling of Lost Cause influence. For example, while usually speaking through character recollections, Dowdy occasionally slips in a clear admiration for the size of one’s plantation, or the “largest slave holder in Virginia,” or a distaste for the union’s industrial methods and wastefulness

Yet within the context of time and place, I really enjoy Dowdy’s melodic, inciteful writing, and believe it more crucial than ever to hear the Southern Voice. Our Nation still suffers to agree on the meaning of Liberty. The victors wrote the history. I grew up loving the battles and generals of both sides, but unequivocally labelling the South as the bad guys.

In many places, the Civil War was, and still is, the “Second Revolution” fought to protect hearth and home, throw out the “invaders,” and protect individual and States rights from a tyrannical Federal Executive. We cannot deny that the Spirit of these voices echo loudly today.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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History Poorly Read

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The enjoyable history is made irritating by the narrator's pronunciation. While a number of the rivers around Richmond do have Indian names - every single one is mispronounced. This may be understandable, but to pronounce an army "corps" as "corpse", Jubal Early as "Jew-ball" and to read "coup de grace" as "cup dee grass" is simply ignorant.

What did you like best about this story?

Clifford Dowdey gives the traditional "Lost Cause" interpretation of the Civil War which dominated history books for a century after the War. Everything Lee and Jackson do is correct and moral, everything Johnston and Longstreet do is wrong and evil. But,once you accept where he is coming from, there is quite a bit of useful information here. It's also a refreshing look at McClellan, as the victim Little Mac saw himself.

Would you be willing to try another one of Nicholas Tecosky’s performances?

I found myself cringing at his pronunciation! Is English a second language for him?

Was The Seven Days worth the listening time?

Witin the above limitations.

Any additional comments?

No - I think I said it all.

3 people found this helpful

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Southern propaganda

This book is full of fake “slavery wasn’t the issue” and the north were tyrants bs. Don’t waste your time

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding narrator!

Very informative, great addition to a Civil War library. The narrator was clear and effective to the extent I did not mind any mispronunciation.

2 people found this helpful

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A Very Pleasant Surprise

In the last ten years I have read more than several books about the Civil War. I had never heard of this author and thought maybe that was because he wasn't very good. Well I don't know why I haven't heard from him but it is not because of his lack of skill. He writes from the Southern point of view and sticks to the military history. Given those restrictions this was a very entertaining and informative book. He had a common sense point of view with a style that is more journalistic than literary.
His descriptions of the battles and the participants were very detailed and not dry at all. He was able to describe large group action in battles so well that I was able to create a picture in my mind and follow the action. He had many little details I had never heard before. James Longstreet one of the best large unit generals the South had been a paymaster in the old army.
The author makes a good argument for his premise that the Seven Days campaign made the Civil War last a year and a half longer. Lee drove McClellan away from Richmond when the Federal soldiers could hear the church bells of Richmond.
I especially enjoyed the author's biographical sketches of the leading participants. Many that are left out in other books, such as Benjamin Huger, get a thorough description from this author. I enjoyed the narration except for a couple of pronunciation mistakes. I know I will read and enjoy this book again. I recommend this book especially for Civil War buffs and I think that those looking for a well told story will enjoy it as well.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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A Southern Interpretation

A very good analysis of battle action. The performance is less than inspiring. Names, military terms, and multi syllabic words are regularly mangled, disrupting the story's flow. Many of the author's conclusions are questionable, forced as a result of his southern leanings.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Horrible reader ruins mediocre book

Audible has to stop hiring these amateurs to read books, this would have done better to have gone unpublished in the audio world than be furthered ruined by an amateur reader.

The reader gives a straight monotone reading, somewhat rushes through the content and mostly just sounds like someone that is told to read a statement in court. He technically gets the words right, but there is no flow, no interest, no anything good other than to make a mediocre book an awful audiobook.

This isn't the first time I've been burned by horrible readers provided by Audible, this is probably the 5th time already. I will no longer buy any audiobooks where Audible is audio publisher, they just don't care about putting out a quality product.

For the book itself it's alright but would do better in print regardless of how awful the reader was. Because there are a lot of movements, locations and tactics discussed it's not always easy to keep your mind around everything without any visual aid.

I'll give the book 3 stars, but the awful amateur reader 0 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not what you think

The reason I say not what you think, is because the story is more about the entire seven days battle, and does not concentrate on Robert E Lee.

The story really concentrates on the interference of Washington with McClellan and the inaction of Jackson during the seven days.

Wonderful book highly recommended gave me great insight into that early. Of the US Civil War.

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Mid 60's Analytical Account

Dowdey's text sounds more like a PhD dissertation of staff College analysis of the lead up to and fighting during the Seven Days. He explains Jackson's uncharacteristically lethargic performance as stress-related exhaustion (fair enough) and extends psychology into the study of other major characters. His central argument (largely accepted today) is that McClellan's campaign was the last chance to restore the Union as it was and that Lee's offensive was the last real chance for the South to end the war at a stroke. Both, in the end, failed. Lee was just learning about his army and had it nowhere near in hand or in control (which Dowdey attributes to having an inadequate to non-existant staff). While his central point is pretty well argued, it comes off as a bit deterministic. There were other potential opportunities. as late as 1864, to win by getting the Union to give up. Overall, this is a bit dated, if pretty solid work, though Dowdey's effort to participate in every historical argument regarding the campaign prevents him from keeping the audience always engaged in one of the most pivotal weeks in the war.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not a great history

Cherry-picked material to support his overarching thesis. Plenty of pro-slavery historiography in here, very little original research to back his broad (and inaccurate) claims about context.

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Profile Image for Edward W. Mckie
  • Edward W. Mckie
  • 11-24-21

Lee takes Command

Really enjoyed this narrative on the Seven days battles. Very informative, bit biased towards the Confederacy and definitly worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful