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MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT E RODES OF THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA: A Biography, by Darrell Collins

New York: Savas Beatie, 2008. Pp. x, 549. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 193271409X.

The recent trend in Civil War biography that gives greater attention to those who led divisions and brigades has resulted in the appearance of this excellent life of Robert E. Rodes, by Darrell L. Collins, author of The Jones-Imboden Raid and General William Averell's Salem Raid, which also dealt with rather ov erlooled subjects.

VMI graduate and militia officer Rodes, a civil engineer, was made colonel of the 5th Alabama in 1861. Until killed in action at Third Winchester in September 1864, he saw service in every campaign in Virginia , rising major general for his superb battlefield performance. In producing this work, Collins overcame a serious lack of primary materials (Mrs. Rodes had burned the family papers) with considerable ingenuity, combing newspapers, business and military documents, and the papers of many people who had contact with Rodes, managing to cull valuable insights into his life, character, personality, beliefs, and motivations to provide a nuanced look at his life and service.

A good book for anyone interested in operations in Virginia or command in the Civil War.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   


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