DOUGLAS SOUTHALL FREEMAN by David E. Johnson Pelican Publishing Company 476 pages including Appendix, Bibliography, and Index Reviewed by Danny Witt When Mr. Johnson spoke to the Richmond Civil War Round Table in June of 2000, we could tell that we had a good book to look forward to, but the finished biography has by far exceeded all expectations. Born in Lynchburg and moving to Richmond at an early age, Freeman grew up in the former capital of the Confederacy with a father that was a veteran of the 4th Virginia Artillery, and when he attended the re-enactment of the Battle of the Crater on the 30th anniversary, Freeman decided at age 17 that a history of the Army of Northern Virginia had to written. Freeman first published A Calendar of Confederate Papers in 1908, and later edited Unpublished Letters of General Robert E. Lee, CSA, to Jefferson Davis and Jefferson Davis and The War Department of The Confederate States of America. His first best known work would take a little longer. He was contacted by Charles Scribner's Sons to write a biography of Robert E. Lee, and at the beginning of the project neither he nor the publisher knew it would take so long to write, but four volumes and nineteen years later Freeman had produced his first Pulitzer Prize winner. Still not ready to leave the subject of the "War Between The States," as Freeman preferred to call it, between 1942 an 1944 Freeman wrote Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command, and instantly had another sought after book. His next biography was another Pulitzer Prize winner, and about the father of our country, George Washington. Although part of this seven volume set was published after his death in 1953, Freeman is as well know for this as his Lee book. Keeping a strict schedule that started at 2:30 in the morning and ended at 8:45 at night, Freeman not only was a noted author, but also served 34 years as editor for the Richmond News Leader, and as a professor at Columbia (1 day a week for 7 years). The boards he served on are too many to list here, and he was also an adviser during both World Wars. Churchill and Eisenhower are included among some of the world leaders that visited Richmond to meet with Freeman. Always a great family man, historian, editor, broadcaster, and civil leader, the world lost a great man on Saturday June 13, 1953 at 4:30 P.M. If you only read one biography this year, this should be the one. Congratulations and many thanks to Mr. Johnson for such a great book.
Availability: June 2002 Available soon for $38.23 through Barnes & Noble.
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