Why this book?
Pryor’s work has become essential for scholars of Robert E. Lee. She had access to numerous unpublished documents from Lee’s descendants, and used this invaluable material to provide a more complete and realistic portrait of the man. In one chapter, she explores Lee’s complex attitudes toward slavery. She writes, “He embraced the legal and economic aspects of the master-slave system without really grasping its complex underlying relationships.” The Lost Cause notion that Lee opposed slavery is not supported by the evidence. Pryor provides new insights on his decision to resign from the army in 1861, and offers a detailed account of the creation of Arlington National Cemetery at Lee’s former estate.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
"Pryor's biography helps part with a lot of stupid out there about Lee - chiefly, that he was, somehow, 'anti-slavery.'" - Ta-Nehisi Coates, theatlantic.com
An "unorthodox, critical, and engaging biography" (Boston Globe) - Winner of The Lincoln Prize
Robert E. Lee is remembered by history as a tragic figure, stoic and brave but distant and enigmatic. Using dozens of previously unpublished letters as departure points, Pryor produces a stunning personal account of Lee's military ability, shedding new light on every aspect of the complex and contradictory general's life story. Explained for the first time in the context of the young…