100 books like Lee Considered

By Alan T. Nolan,

Here are 100 books that Lee Considered fans have personally recommended if you like Lee Considered. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Reading the Man

By Elizabeth Brown Pryor,

Book cover of Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters

John Reeves Author Of A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

From the list on understanding Robert E. Lee.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee and A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. I’ve been a teacher, editor, and writer for over twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been my passion since I first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War as an elementary school student in the 1960s. My articles on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant have been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and on the History News Network.

John's book list on understanding Robert E. Lee

Why did John love 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 She had access to numerous unpublished documents from Lee’s descendants, and used this invaluable material to provide a more complete and realistic portrait of the man.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.

By Elizabeth Brown Pryor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reading the Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should 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…


Robert E. Lee

By Emory M. Thomas,

Book cover of Robert E. Lee: A Biography

John Reeves Author Of A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

From the list on understanding Robert E. Lee.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee and A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. I’ve been a teacher, editor, and writer for over twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been my passion since I first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War as an elementary school student in the 1960s. My articles on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant have been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and on the History News Network.

John's book list on understanding Robert E. Lee

Why did John love this book?

This book remains the best one-volume biography of Robert E. Lee almost twenty-five years after its publication. Thomas is far more balanced than either Lee’s critics or devotees. Early on, he offers fascinating material about Lee’s parents and private life in general. His discussion of Lee’s father, Light-Horse Harry Lee, is particularly riveting. Despite being born into one of Virginia’s leading families, young Robert E. Lee grew up in an insecure environment after losing his father at a young age. Throughout the book, Thomas provides concise, though somewhat limited, summaries of Lee’s military exploits.

By Emory M. Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Robert E. Lee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The life of Robert E. Lee is a story not of defeat but of triumph-triumph in clearing his family name, triumph in marrying properly, triumph over the mighty Mississippi in his work as an engineer, and triumph over all other military men to become the towering figure who commanded the Confederate army in the American Civil War. But late in life Lee confessed that he "was always wanting something."

In this probing and personal biography, Emory Thomas reveals more than the man himself did. Robert E. Lee has been, and continues to be, a symbol and hero in the American…


R. E. Lee

By Douglas Southall Freeman,

Book cover of R. E. Lee: A Biography, Vol. 3

John Reeves Author Of A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

From the list on understanding Robert E. Lee.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee and A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. I’ve been a teacher, editor, and writer for over twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been my passion since I first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War as an elementary school student in the 1960s. My articles on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant have been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and on the History News Network.

John's book list on understanding Robert E. Lee

Why did John love this book?

Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, four-volume account of Lee remains the gold standard among the numerous biographies of the general. Freeman tirelessly examined the documentary record, and wrote a compelling narrative of Lee’s eventful life. The coverage here of the crucial battles of the Civil War is outstanding. One must be careful with Freeman’s biography, however. Freeman is unabashedly devoted to Lee and is extremely biased in his opinions. In the final volume, Freeman admits that he came “to respect and to love” the subject of his biography. In the third volume, which I recommend here, Freeman argues that Lee would have been successful at Gettysburg, if not for the insubordination of General James Longstreet. The Wilderness Campaign is also examined in this volume. Despite all of the hagiography, Freeman’s R.E. Lee remains an essential work for anyone interested in the Confederate general.

By Douglas Southall Freeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked R. E. Lee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Freeman, Douglas Southall


Book cover of Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee

John Reeves Author Of A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

From the list on understanding Robert E. Lee.

Who am I?

I am the author of The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee and A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle Between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. I’ve been a teacher, editor, and writer for over twenty-five years. The Civil War, in particular, has been my passion since I first read Bruce Catton’s The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War as an elementary school student in the 1960s. My articles on Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant have been featured in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and on the History News Network.

John's book list on understanding Robert E. Lee

Why did John love this book?

The documents for this important collection, first published in 1874, were originally intended for an official biography of Lee. When that book was abandoned, Jones published all of the documents along with accompanying observations and anecdotes. Lee’s wife approved of the project. One historian said this collection “became a source book for all future Lee biographers.” The hagiography here in some of Jones’s anecdotes actually exceeds that of Douglas Southall Freeman, but it’s still an essential book for serious students of Robert E. Lee. Jones knew Lee personally and had access to all of his private papers.

By John William Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes, and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert E. Lee lived only five years after the end of the War Between the States. Dedicated to his work in directing the education of young men at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where he served as president, he did not have time or opportunity to write his memoirs. One of his chaplains with whom he was quite close in Christian fellowship ─ his familial friend, J. William Jones, set about to prepare a near approximation of Lee’s memoirs, which was endorsed both by the Lee family and Washington (and Lee) College. Lee’s story is told topically as Jones looks…


Book cover of Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

David B. Allison Author Of Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders

From the list on memory that make you question how you see the past.

Who am I?

Memory is capricious and impacts our view of the past. That’s why I do what I do! I am a twenty-year museum professional who began my career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for almost ten years, and am now part of the Arts & History department at the City and County of Broomfield. I have designed and developed programs and events, as well as managed teams in each of these stops. I seek to illuminate stories, elevate critical voices, and advocate for equity through the unique pathways of the arts, history, and museum magic.

David's book list on memory that make you question how you see the past

Why did David love this book?

By turns funny, poignant, and incisive, the late author Tony Horwitz tours the South with a journalist’s eye and a sociologist’s heart.

He bravely takes on the memory of the Civil War through the eyes of reenactors, angry neo-Confederates in bars, and Black museum guides (among many others). I recently re-read this book through the lens of the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd, which touched off numerous protests against monuments to Confederate leaders.

When Horwitz wrote this book in the late 1990s, it seemed unlikely that Monument Avenue in Richmond would ever change. In the case of monuments to problematic historic figures, at least, people’s perspectives have indeed shifted over time. Horwitz’s book is a great reminder that change is possible!

By Tony Horwitz,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Confederates in the Attic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent takes us on an explosive adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where Civil War reenactors, battlefield visitors, and fans of history resurrect the ghosts of the Lost Cause through ritual and remembrance.  

"The freshest book about divisiveness in America that I have read in some time. This splendid commemoration of the war and its legacy ... is an eyes–open, humorously no–nonsense survey of complicated Americans." —The New York Times Book Review

For all who remain intrigued by the legacy of the Civil War—reenactors, battlefield visitors, Confederate descendants and other Southerners,…


Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Book cover of Uncle Tom's Cabin

John J. Miller Author Of The First Assassin

From the list on the American Civil War and 5 novels to immerse yourself within it.

Who am I?

John J. Miller is director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College, a writer for National Review, and the host of two book-themed podcasts, The Great Books and The Bookmonger. His books include The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football and Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas. He lives on a dirt road in rural Michigan.

John's book list on the American Civil War and 5 novels to immerse yourself within it

Why did John love this book?

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” Abraham Lincoln supposedly said when he met Stowe. The quote may be apocryphal, but it points to a truth about the 1852 novel that shaped American opinions about the cruelty and injustice of slavery. The writing is a bit melodramatic for modern sensibilities, but it’s hard to beat the scene in which the escaped slave Eliza tries to carry her young son across an icy river for freedom on the other side.

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uncle Tom's Cabin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most powerful and enduring work of art ever written about American slavery"-Alfred Kazin

"To expose oneself in maturity to Uncle Tom's cabin may...prove a startling experience"-Edmund Wilson

In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe created America's first black literary hero as well as the nation's antecedent protest novel. The novel's vast influence on attitudes towards African American slavery was considered an incitation towards the American Civil War; conjointly, its powerful anti-slavery message resonated with readers around the world at its time of publication.

With unashamed sentimentality and expressions of faith, Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle…


Jubilee

By Margaret Walker,

Book cover of Jubilee

Faye Snowden Author Of A Killing Rain

From the list on making you fall in love with reading.

Who am I?

I am a writer who loves to read. In fact when aspiring writers ask me for advice about getting started, I tell them to read widely, and more importantly, to fall in love with reading. So much about craft can be learned from deconstructing good books to see how they work. Each of the five books I’ve selected have influenced the way I tell my stories. They have taught me to examine past works for inspiration and compelling beginnings.

Faye's book list on making you fall in love with reading

Why did Faye love this book?

Walker’s Jubilee extends the slave narrative, a popular weapon used by abolitionists to fight slavery. Instead of ending when the main character escapes their cruel master, Walker tells the story of a woman’s journey from emancipation to reconstruction and beyond.

I included this book not only because of a great beginning, but also because I wanted to give an example of how important story is to the success of a book, and in some cases more important than the language.

Besides, how can you not read on after a first chapter with the title, “Death is a mystery that only the squinch owl knows”? 

By Margaret Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jubilee as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South's antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family's oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker's novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American history.


Killers of the Dream

By Lillian Smith,

Book cover of Killers of the Dream

Kristina DuRocher Author Of Raising Racists: The Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South

From the list on understanding racial violence in the South after the Civil War.

Who am I?

I remember when I saw the photograph of the lynching of Rubin Stacy, his corpse surrounded by white girls in their Sunday best dresses. For me the immediate question was, why would white parents take their children on an outing to this? What purpose is this memorial photograph serving? I have spent over twenty years exploring the answers, learning how cultures persist by teaching their dominant beliefs to the next generation, and considering the perpetuation of white supremacy from generation to generation.

Kristina's book list on understanding racial violence in the South after the Civil War

Why did Kristina love this book?

This autobiography of white Civil Rights activist Lillian Smith unpacks the society that shaped her as she struggled against her childhood lessons about how to interact with Whites and Blacks in the South. Smith deftly immerses you into her world with anecdotes, leading the reader through the interactions that shaped her and other white children across the South, including her experiences with racial violence and racism. Despite being written more than half a century ago, connections remain to our world. My recommendation is to read the 1994 version with an updated introduction placing the work into context.

By Lillian Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Killers of the Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published to wide controversy, it became the source (acknowledged or unacknowledged) of much of our thinking about race relations and was for many a catalyst for the civil rights movement. It remains the most courageous, insightful, and eloquent critique of the pre-1960s South.

"I began to see racism and its rituals of segregation as a symptom of a grave illness," Smith wrote. "When people think more of their skin color than of their souls, something has happened to them." Today, readers are rediscovering in Smith's writings a forceful analysis of the dynamics of racism, as well as her prophetic understanding…


Rebels in the Making

By William L. Barney,

Book cover of Rebels in the Making: The Secession Crisis and the Birth of the Confederacy

William C. Davis Author Of An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government

From the list on the politics of the Confederacy.

Who am I?

I find the early days of the Confederacy to be fascinating, a chance to look at Americans in the act of nation-making while surrounded by fear and crisis. Far more than in the convention of 1776, this episode offers sources that allow us to look inside their motives, and to evaluate them both as impractical rebels, and social and political idealists [albeit their idealism was always encased within the confines of a slave society]. Having written biographies of Jefferson Davis, Alexander H Stephens, Robert Toombs, and other Confederate politicians, this subject is a natural object of my interest. While I do not at all agree with or endorse the political measures they took in the secession crisis, I can feel some empathy for them and their people who felt themselves caught in a no-win position, facing [in their view] the possible destruction of their economy, society, and culture.

William's book list on the politics of the Confederacy

Why did William love this book?

This new 2020 book is a fresh synthesis of the scholarly work that has been done on secession and the young Confederacy in the past 30 years and has much that is new to offer  Its treatment of the weeks in Montgomery is rather brief, but insightful, and overall it makes a fine introduction to the political life of the CSA.

By William L. Barney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rebels in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Regardless of whether they owned slaves, Southern whites lived in a world defined by slavery. As shown by their blaming British and Northern slave traders for saddling them with slavery, most were uncomfortable with the institution. While many wanted it ended, most were content to leave that up to God. All that changed with the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Rebels in the Making is a narrative-driven history of how and why secession occurred. In this work, senior Civil War historian William L. Barney narrates the explosion of the sectional conflict into secession and civil war. Carefully examining the events in…


Soul Catcher

By Michael C. White,

Book cover of Soul Catcher

Robert J. Begiebing Author Of The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin

From the list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960.

Who am I?

I’m the author of ten books, including fiction, memoir, collected journalism, and criticism. My novels are historical fiction, hence my decision to make my recommendations within that genre, mostly. My own historical novels comprise a tetralogy beginning with The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin and ending with The Turner Erotica, so the series takes the reader roughly from 1648 to 1900. The second book chronologically in the series, Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction, won the 2003 Langum Prize for historical fiction. Retired now, I was the founding director of the MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University.

Robert's book list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960

Why did Robert love this book?

This historical novel is set just before the American Civil War. What singles it out is not the theme—the struggle of an African American slave and mother, Rosetta, for her freedom. More unusual is White’s courageous depiction of the full yet flawed humanity of her slave (“soul”) catcher, Augustus Cain, as Rosetta flees her inhumane conditions in Virginia enroute to Boston. Cain is one of the best at what he does, but the journey both characters endure also brings both toward mutual compassion and redemption. Though published in 2007, the book fits perfectly into, and helps to amplify further, our current awakening to our historical racism and the vast suffering white Americans have inflicted on their Black brothers and sisters. 

By Michael C. White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soul Catcher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Augustus Cain is a man with his back against the wall. A war-scarred wanderer, he faces a past he wants to forget, a present without prospect or fortune, and an uncertain future marred by the loss of his most prized possession - his horse - which he has carelessly gambled away. But he is not without skill - he has an uncanny, if unwelcome, ability to track the most elusive runaway slaves. And to repay a debt and keep his horse, he must head north from Virginia and retrieve a runaway named Rosetta. When he eventually runs Rosetta to ground…


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