Robert E. Lee remains one of the most revered figures in U.S. history. For southerners he remains the personifiation of the Lost Cause, a military genius and courtly aristocrat whose nobility of spirit was worthy of the intense devotion he elicited from his men and admirers. Even Americans who despised the cause for which Lee fought express admiration for his military acumen, compassion, and kindness. But both in his personal and public life, Lee was more complicated than the iconic image suggests. Historian Pryor uses a compilation of Lee's private correspondence, adding her own commentaries, to present a more balanced but scrupulously fair portrait. There are surprises here. As commandant at West Point, Lee was far from beloved by cadets, who resented his authoritarian ways. Although Lee had his doubts about the utility of slavery as an institution, his views on race relations were hardly enlightened Still, his letters and Pryor's analysis reinforce our appreciation of Lee's best qualities, including his personal warmth, devotion to friends and family, and sense of fairness. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
An unorthodox, critical, and engaging biography [that] impressively captures Lees character and personality.
The Boston Globe
Pryor moves onto important historical and interpretive terrain with a far more discerning and critical eye than most of her scholarly or popular predecessors.
The New Republic
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