Reading the Man

( 9 )

Overview

To most , Robert E. Lee is a beloved tragic figure of a bygone war—remembered by history as stoic and brave but without a true emotional life. Recently, however, historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor uncovered important documents that provide a stunning personal account of Lee’s military ability, his beliefs, and his time. Using dozens of previously unpublished letters as departure points, Pryor sheds new light on every aspect of this complex and contradictory general and questions our own understanding of loyalty and ...

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

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Overview

To most , Robert E. Lee is a beloved tragic figure of a bygone war—remembered by history as stoic and brave but without a true emotional life. Recently, however, historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor uncovered important documents that provide a stunning personal account of Lee’s military ability, his beliefs, and his time. Using dozens of previously unpublished letters as departure points, Pryor sheds new light on every aspect of this complex and contradictory general and questions our own understanding of loyalty and patriotism. This tantalizing glimpse of a legendary hero’s guarded soul will astonish and fascinate not only Civil War buffs, but anyone interested in this nation’s history.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
An unorthodox, critical, and engaging biography [that] impressively captures Lee's character and personality.
New Republic
Pryor moves onto important historical and interpretive terrain with a far more discerning and critical eye than most of her scholarly or popular predecessors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143113904
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 461,417
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Brown Pryor is an award-winning historian as well as a senior diplomat in the American Foreign Service. She was most recently a senior advisor on European affairs to the U.S. House and Senate.
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Table of Contents


Preface     xi
Torn to Pieces     1
Perplexity     19
The Torchbearers     39
The Long Gray Line     55
Long to Be Remembered     70
Seven Arias     90
Pioneers     108
The Family Circle     123
Humanity and the Law     141
Adrenaline     155
Crenellations     177
Black-Eyed Fancies     196
The Headache Bag     209
Mutable Shield     223
Odyssey     241
Theory Meets Reality     260
"Upon a Fearful Summons"     276
Field of Honor     298
"A General ... Is a Rare Product"     317
Apogee/Perigee     338
Overwhelmed     361
The Political Animal     380
Ragged Individualists     399
A Leap in the Dark     426
Blurred Vision     442
"If Vanquished, I Am Still Victorious"     460
Acknowledgments     475
Notes     477
Selected Bibliography     619
Index     641
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    Great insight into a rare personality

    Robert E. Lee didn't write his own memoirs, much to most historian's regret.
    Books like this are the next best thing and this book provides an insight as if written by an eye witness.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2009

    Robert E. Lee, even though he was a slave owner he was against slavery

    Robert E. Lee was against slavery and hated the Irish. He was a racist. Even though he was a great general he was a man who needed to prove himself by exeerting his ego.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It's a Must Read for Any Southerner

    So much of what Robert E. Lee did can be seen no matter what part of the South you live in. This work gives great insight into the mind of a fearless leader and informs the reader of certain character traits they probably were not aware of before. Excellent!

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Robert E. Lee

    Along comes a book that not only reveals a treasure trove of correspondence Lee wrote to family, friends, and fellow officers, but also reveals more than a glimpse of what made Lee tick.

    For example, Ms. Pryor reinforces the view first made by Alan Nolan in his excellent "Lee Reconsidered" that Lee was not as fierce an opponent to Slavery as the history books and iconolastic treatments have made him out to be. In fact, I was stunned to find out that he would beat his slaves if he got angry over a supposed misdeed (I already knew that he ignored the seizure of Free Blacks in Pennsylvania on his way to Gettysburg). Nor did I know, until reading this book that he actually got to meet Lincoln AFTER he had been elected President when he received his short-lived commission as a full Colonel in the U.S. Army.

    I also learned more about the sordid hanging of a Lee Cousin, Orton Williams aka Laurence Orton, who had been caught along with another Lee relative, Peter Gibson, behind Union lines in Tennessee. No, they weren't hanged abruptly because the Union officers knew they were related to Lee, but because they had been caught spying, and it was feared Bedford Forrest would free them. Lee expresses an outrage in the letters describing his reaction to the hangings that certainly takes much away from his supposedly benign "Those People" viewpoint.

    A solid read, and an essential to every Lee, Grant and Civil War Library.

    Alan Rockman

    co-author "Civil War: Garments, History, Legends and Lore"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2009

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