Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
An excellent and balanced study of a controversial general
on 2 December 1997
Having read all of the previous biographies of General James Longstreet, I came to read this one with some preconceived ideas as to the character and accomplishments of James Longstreet. Though I was not surprised at what I read, Wert is to be commended for a job very well done. Although he comes to the conclusion that Longstreet was the best corps commander that Robert E. Lee commanded (Stonewall Jackson devotees notwithstanding), he paints Longstreet "warts and all." Many otherwise excellent biographies (see D.S. Freeman's R. E. Lee) fail this as the biographer sometimes comes too close to worship of their subject.
Wert's one failing is that he does not get close to Longstreet the man as he does Longstreet the General. Other Longstreet biographers have also been found wanting in this regard. They should be forgiven this as, sadly, many of Longstreet's papers and effects were destroyed in fires. Particularly sparse are records pertaining to his youth.
Wert shines in his treatment of Longstreet's supposed Waterloo, Gettysburg, His treatment is even handed and covers all controversies in a thorough and analytical manner.
This is Civil War reading at its finest, by one of the top civil war historians of today. I heartily recommend it.