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Robert E. Lee: Beyond the Battles 2002


Distributed by Chip Taylor Communications, 2 East View Drive, Derry, NH 03038-4812; 800-876-CHIP (2447)
Produced by Drew W. Perkins & Bill Reifenberger
Directed by Drew W. Perkins
VHS, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - Adult
American Studies, History

Date Entered: 11/09/2018

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

Using contemporary on-location footage, re-enactors, photographic and portrait stills this PBS production gives the viewer a glimpse of Robert E. Lee the man. One historian has called him “the Marble Man” more an icon to the South than a flesh and blood man. This work gives us a look at his humanity. Presenting his family lineage (the Lees were one of the oldest and most prominent Virginia families) their history was very much intertwined with the early history of our country. Lee’s father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, his wife the step-granddaughter of George Washington.

The visual, which is given context by a narrator, character voices, and excellent commentary by a number of historians among whom are James Robertson and James McPherson, is flawless. Their commentary ranges from sympathetic to critical/politically correct. What we see is that Lee was very much a man of his era and place in society with all the attendant virtues and vices.

This excellent look at the man Robert Edward Lee is highly recommended for high school and lower division undergraduates. Public libraries with active Civil War collections should find this gets heavy usage.