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

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For the 200th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's birth, a new portrait drawing on previously unpublished correspondence

Robert E. Lee's war correspondence is well known, and here and there personal letters have found their way into print, but the great majority of his most intimate messages have never been made public. These letters reveal a far more complex and contradictory man than the one who comes most readily to the imagination, for it is with his family and his friends that ...

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New first edition, first printing hardcover and dust jacket in excellent condition. Protective mylar cover. 2.3 x 9.4 x 6.2 Inches 688 pages

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Overview

For the 200th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's birth, a new portrait drawing on previously unpublished correspondence

Robert E. Lee's war correspondence is well known, and here and there personal letters have found their way into print, but the great majority of his most intimate messages have never been made public. These letters reveal a far more complex and contradictory man than the one who comes most readily to the imagination, for it is with his family and his friends that Lee is at his most candid, most engaging, and most vulnerable. Over the past several years historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor has uncovered a rich trove of unpublished Lee materials that had been held in both private and public collections.

Her new book, a unique blend of analysis, narrative, and historiography, presents dozens of these letters in their entirety, most by Lee but a few by family members. Each letter becomes a departure point for an essay that shows what the letter uniquely reveals about Lee's time or character. The material covers all aspects of Lee's lifeā€”his early years, West Point, his work as an engineer, his relationships with his children and his slaves, his decision to join the South, his thoughts on military strategy, and his disappointments after defeat in the Civil War. The result is perhaps the most intimate picture to date of Lee, one that deftly analyzes the meaning of his actions within the context of his personality, his relationships, and the social tenor of his times.

Co-winner of the 2008 Lincoln Prize

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What People Are Saying

Fergus M. Bordewich
"Pryor has taken an icon and given us the soul of a complex man and his turbulent age, and has delivered it wrapped in lithe and graceful prose that many novelists might envy. She has, in short, written a masterpiece."--(Fergus M. Bordewich, author of Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670038299
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/3/2007
  • Pages: 688
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Brown Pryor has combined careers as an award-winning historian and senior diplomat in the American Foreign Service, most recently as a senior adviser to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe of the U.S. Congress. Her 1987 biography of Clara Barton is considered the authoritative work on the subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    Outstanding achievement by Author Elizabeth Brown Pryor in conveying a precise and comprehensive portrait of the remarkable life of General Robert E Lee. His life and times are brought to life with compassion and empathy. This is a must read for those looking for a clear insight of mid nineteenth century American History.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

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