The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

by Paul C. Nagel

Paperback(Bicentennial Edition)

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There are few American families that feature such a collection of characters, both heroic and ignoble, who have made such a mark on history as the Lees. In The Lees of Virginia, Paul Nagel chronicles seven generations of Lees, covering over two hundred years of accolades and scandals. We meet Thomas Lee, who dreamed of America as a continental empire, and his son, Arthur Lee, who created a political storm with 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. It was a third son, Robert E. Lee, who would become the family's redeeming figure, a brilliant tactician 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. This Bicentennial Edition, celebrating the birth of Robert E. Lee in 1807, features a new Preface by the author in which he discusses the ways in which family biographies can contribute to the ongoing debate about what constitutes "family values."
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 Chicago Sun-Times as "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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195305609
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/01/2006
Edition description: Bicentennial Edition
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,220,427
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About 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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The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
texicanwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully written account, and genealogy, of the Lee family of Virginia.The account begins with the American founder of the Lee family, Richard Lee, who was born in 1618. And it continues through the children of the famed General Robert E. Lee.The reader is entrusted to facts not otherwise made public about the family before. Both triumph and heartache are shared.By the end of the book, the reader is sadly smiling and finding there were many hero's within the Lee family, and not merely the famed General.What's more, it is intriguing to the reader to find a sense of respect and awe, and American pride, that resonates to this very day! Ties resolutely to several of America's founding father's, the Lees of Virginia are just as much a part of this great nation's history, all the way back to its founding, as any other individual written within our historical texts.I give The Lees of Virginia my thumbs up award. And I highly recommend it for anyone interested in our nation's history.
torrey23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book details the lives of several of the Lee's. It is difficult to keep track of how each one is related to another, but a handy family tree is included to assist with this issue. This is a good book. It outlines the rise, and fall, and rise, of one of America's original leading families.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.'