depredations in recent years. In thisngenre the omissions are as interesting asnthe subjects: some notable monstersnhave remained undisturbed becausentheir followers are still powerful.nI do not subscribe to this approach tonbiography, nor do I support panegyricsnlike the one written about Robert E. Leenby Charles Flood. Lee was a great soldiernand a good man in nearly every sense ofnthe word. He was not a saint because henwas not a spiritual leader. He was,nhowever, a brilliant general and a Virginiannpatriot.nIn Lee: The Last Years, Mr. Flood introducesnLee at Appomattox, where henpatiently waited for General Grant.nGrant was generous, the author notes,nand Lee made an honorable surrender ofnthe Army of Virginia. Most Americansnbelieve that this was the end of the CivilnWar. It was not: fighting continued innother parts of the South, since JeffersonnDavis did not surrender at the time ofnAppomattox, and General Lee was notncommander-in-chief of the Southern armies.nThat was a post reserved for thenPresident of the Confederate States.nAppomattox was, however, the beginningnof the end.nJ few months after Appomattox,nGeneral Lee accepted the presidency ofnWashington College in Lexington,nVirginia. Mr. Flood is both accurate andnskillful in portraying the dire straits ofnthat college. The head of its board ofntrustees had to borrow a suit and fiftyndollars in order to undertake to visit thenGeneral, to ask him to join the school.nMr. Flood pictures these and the otherndevelopments of Lee’s postwar years,nand there were only five, very smoothly.nLee’s tenderness toward little children,nhis concern for his crippled wife Mary,nthe warm relations between Lee and hisnsons, the great affection with which thenGeneral was regarded by the South, hisnstudents, his neighbors and history—nthese and other details are rendered innneat anecdotes. So smoothly does thisnsweet story unravel that one can visualizenit suitably truncated in the pages ofnReader’s Digest. All the elements of thenLee legend are set in place and seeminglynreinforced. The theory that General Leenhelped to heal the nation after the CivilnWar is, somehow, retained while at thensame time the author briefly describesnhow the Radical Republicans undernThaddeus Stevens nearly impeachednPresident Johnson, and how they didnsucceed in forcing occupation andn”Reconstruction” upon the defeatednSouth. Mr. Flood even properly notes thenfact that at the end of the Civil War, sixnNorthern States still refused suffrage fornblacks, while virtually the entire Northnwas mobilized to ensure the rights ofnblacks to vote in the South, to restrict thenfranchise for whites and to forbid formernConfederates from holding public officen—and proclaimed a new era of brotherhoodnand equality. These observationsnappear but briefly. The author trains hisneyes upon General Lee as a college president,nas a dutiful replier to mountains ofnletters, as a man who would hear nonaiticism of U.S. Grant, as one who didnhis best to resume life as a loyal Americannin the restored Union.nSuch presentation isn’t wrong in thensense of vulgar error: the specifics are tmenenough. The problem with Mr. Flood’snversion of General Lee’s life is that it doesnnot go far enough, and in this deliberatenrestriction, he portrays the Lee of legendn—which does not enhance our knowledgenbut tends instead to wither our interest.nThis pale, suffering-in-silencenLee, who bent his formidable powers tonthe problems presented by the slowestnstudents, who behaved with humilitynbefore arrogant Northern congressmen,nwho had little to say when invited to thenWhite House by President Grant andnwhose greatest pleasures were riding anhorse and chatting aimlessly with smallnfarmers, is a far cry from the generalnrevealed by war. Mr. Flood’s Lee is a mannhumbled by defeat, weakened physicallynand mentally, who refused to respond tonefforts of old colleagues to rally thenSouth—and whose mildness provides anmawkish martyrology for devotees ofnsecular saints. All these features of Leennnare familiar to generations of Southerners—thoughnnot particularly to Northerners.nI do not recall a word about Lee’snpostwar life or the Reconstmction beingnspoken in the schools of the HudsonnRiver Valley. But Southerners must feelna certain uneasiness when they readnabout Lee’s abnegation after the war, hisnmeek silence uncler provocation and hisnrefusal to even inquire about the pardonnhe—like other Confederates—had beennpromised.nAfter the war the whites of the Northnput the whites of the South legally belowntheir former slaves. This curiously mixednracial situation is seldom mentioned,nand it is one that must have been agonizingnfor Southern whites. Mr. Floodnrefers to it only indirectly, and when hendoes his tone is distinctly Northern—nthat is, modem, Mr. Flood makes it clearnthat he deplores the Klan and postwarnracial violence, and he manages to makenGeneral Lee seem to share such sentiments,nwhich fit neatly into the contemporaryncontext and skirt vast areas ofnhistorical reality. This is not to say thatnLee was ardently in favor of slavery ornhuman subjugation. The general respectednhis father-in-law’s will and freednnearly two hundred slaves before thenwar, and he treated both blacks andnwhites with great civility.njyir. Flood’s portrait of the generalnfits the needs of our civil “religion” morenthan it does the larger, more complexnand difficult figure of the man. Thatnsubject was dealt with in a remarkablenand enlightening work by Dr. ThomasL.nConnelly published in 1977, The MarblenMan: Robert E. Lee and His Image innAmerican Society. Dr. Connelly sawnmany reasons for the growth of the Leenlegend, including the need of the Southnto be restored in its own eyes, despite itsndefeat. Dr. Connelly, aware (as Mr.nFlood does not seem to be) that thenSouth was a stronghold of Calvinism, isnalso aware that the outcome of the war,naccording to this doctrine, reflected thenwill of God. Southerners, including Lee,ntherefore felt compelled to redeemn•HMHS5nOctober 1982n