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Robert E. Lee in War and Peace: The Photographic History of a Confederate and American Icon, by Donald Hopkins

El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2013. Pp. xvi, 100. Illus., append., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 1611211204.

Images of “The Marble Man”

Hopkins, a physician who has made several interesting contributions to Civil War history gives us an album of photographs of Lee, and some others, including his wife and sons, from the earliest known shot, taken around 1845 through to the last in 1870, shortly before the general’s death. Gathering all these many images of the general is obviously a valuable contribution to Lee studies. But for Hopkins this is only the beginning. 

Hopkins groups the pictures into chapters. So, for example, we get a look at pre-war pictures, images taken during the war, doctored images, equestrian shots, and so forth, and even what appear to be a few more or less “candid” images taken in the field. Hopkins discusses the images, individually and in groups, often pointing out interesting details or showing how the shot was reused or modified at a later time, or used to create engravings or portraits of the general. 

In addition, Hopkins gives us a chapter reviewing the science and art of photography at the time and a running commentary of techniques, photographers, publishers, and more. A series of appendices address various special questions. 

This is a book that will appeal to those interested in the Civil War and anyone interested in photography.

 

Note: This work is also available as an eBook, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-61121-121-4

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Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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