The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

Overview


In The Lees of Virginia, Paul Nagel chronicles seven generations of Lees, from the family founder Richard to General Robert E. Lee, covering over two hundred years of American history. We meet Thomas Lee, who dreamed of America as a continental empire. His daughter was Hannah Lee Corbin, a non-conformist in lifestyle and religion, while his son, Richard Henry Lee, was a tempestuous figure who wore black silk over a disfigured hand when he made the motion in Congress for Independence. Another of Thomas' sons, ...
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The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

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Overview


In The Lees of Virginia, Paul Nagel chronicles seven generations of Lees, from the family founder Richard to General Robert E. Lee, covering over two hundred years of American history. We meet Thomas Lee, who dreamed of America as a continental empire. His daughter was Hannah Lee Corbin, a non-conformist in lifestyle and religion, while his son, Richard Henry Lee, was a tempestuous figure who wore black silk over a disfigured hand when he made the motion in Congress for Independence. Another of Thomas' sons, Arthur Lee, created a political storm by his accusations against Benjamin Franklin. Arthur's cousin was Light-Horse Harry Lee, a controversial cavalry officer in the Revolutionary War, whose wild real estate speculation led to imprisonment for debt and finally self-exile in the Caribbean. One of Harry's sons, Henry Lee, further disgraced the family by seducing his sister-in-law and frittering away Stratford, the Lees' ancestral home. Another son, however, became the family's redeeming figure--Robert E. Lee, a brilliant tactician who is still revered for his lofty character and military success. In these and numerous other portraits, Nagel discloses how, from 1640 to 1870, a family spirit united the Lees, making them a force in Virginian and American affairs.
Paul Nagel is a leading chronicler of families prominent in our history. His Descent from Glory, a masterful narrative account of four generations of Adamses, was hailed by The New Yorker as "intelligent, tactful, and spiritually generous," and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian W.A. Swanberg, in the Chicago Sun-Times, called it "a magnificent embarrassment of biographical riches." Now, in The Lees of Virginia, Nagel brings his skills to bear on another major American family, taking readers inside the great estates of the Old Dominion and the turbulent lives of the Lee men and women.

In The Lees of Virginia, Paul Nagel chronicles seven generations of Lees, from the family founder Richard to General Robert E. Lee, covering over 200 years of American history. In a glowing family portrait, Nagel discloses how, from 1640 to 1870, a family spirit united the Lees, making them a force in Virginian and American affairs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A well-researched, readable treatise.... Recommended for history buffs and anyone interested in methods of genealogical research."--Booklist

"Nagel examines this powerful, often troubled clan with the same searching, generous spirit he brought to the Adams family...A multigenenerational saga as ambitious, (and) accomplished...as the American dynasty it chronicles."--Kirkus Reviews

"Contains a wealth of information....Tells us much about the education of Robert E. Lee."--Wilson Library Bulletin

"[A] splendidly written, poignant, well-researched portrait of a notable clan through approximately 230 years."--Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195305609
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Edition description: Bicentennial Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 682,866
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul C. Nagel was Director of the Virginia Historical Society until 1985, when he turned entirely to writing biography. His most recent books include Descent From Glory and The Adams Women. He is a contributing editor of American Heritage, a trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and past president of the Southern Historical Association.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2007

    Much More than Robert E. Lee

    This book brings to life many colorful characters in the Lee family, all ancestors or collateral relatives of Robert E. Lee. The book tracks how the Lees became one of Virginia's and America's great families beginning with Richard Lee around 1640, follows the family through their participation in the Independence movement and contributions to the Continental Congress, and political life of the family after the revolution. One learns from the book that the Lees were already among the Great American families before Robert E. Lee came on the scene, and that after a long decline it was Robert who reversed the family fortunes and restored the family name. Not just a chronological listing of family facts, the author does a great job of showing the personalities (and often scandals) of family members who were once in the first tier of early American history but now are largely forgotten. For such a large family, the author also does a good job of weaving the various members into a cohesive, readable story. The author also puts a human and sympathetic face on Robert, which is missing from most biographies as they deal mostly with military matters. Highly recommended for anyone interested in colonial history, plantation life, Virginiana or the American revolution.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2000

    Richard Lee's parents?

    Nagel suggests that John and Jane Hancock Lee are the parents of Richard Lee. Did his source find any siblings for Richard. A source in the Library of Congress records that Richard was the 3rd son of Sir John and Joyce Romney Lee. The 1st son is not reported, but; William the 2nd son came to Viginia aboard the 'Assurance de Lo' in 1635. William procured headrights for land in Surry County. He is reported in 'Cavaliers and Pioneers' by Niel Mairan Nugent. William and his wife Marie and infant daughter Marie, came to Viginia with him. He died March 22,1653. He had a son William b: 1638 and d: January 1694. William III, and William IV continued the name and the latter moved to Union County, SC in the early 1700's. His son Thomas Lee b: 1749 left SC and moved with his son Green Thomas Lee in 1838 to the Lee estate in Brick Church, Bedford County, TN. This is a sincere effort to trace the family of Richard the 'Emigrant.'

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