Robert E. Lee: A Life
By Allen C. Guelzo
Faculty partner Allen C. Guelzo has recently released his latest book, Robert E. Lee: A Life:
From the award-winning historian and best-selling author of Gettysburg comes the definitive biography of Robert E. Lee. An intimate look at the Confederate general in all his complexity—his hypocrisy and courage, his inner turmoil and outward calm, his disloyalty and his honor.
Robert E. Lee is one of the most confounding figures in American history. Lee betrayed his nation in order to defend his home state and uphold the slave system he claimed to oppose. He was a traitor to the country he swore to serve as an Army officer, and yet he was admired even by his enemies for his composure and leadership. He considered slavery immoral, but benefited from inherited slaves and fought to defend the institution. And behind his genteel demeanor and perfectionism lurked the insecurities of a man haunted by the legacy of a father who stained the family name by declaring bankruptcy and who disappeared when Robert was just six years old.
In Robert E. Lee, the award-winning historian Allen Guelzo has written the definitive biography of the general, following him from his refined upbringing in Virginia high society, to his long career in the U.S. Army, his agonized decision to side with Virginia when it seceded from the Union, and his leadership during the Civil War. Above all, Guelzo captures Robert E. Lee in all his complexity–his hypocrisy and courage, his outward calm and inner turmoil, his honor and his disloyalty.
New York Times Book Review: “The True Story of Robert E. Lee”
By David Goldfield
“The historian Allen C. Guelzo is a self-described Yankee partisan. In a dozen books on the Civil War and Reconstruction, he has portrayed the Union cause as a righteous enterprise. In the very first sentence of his newest work, he charges Robert E. Lee with treason. This is not a warm recounting of Lee’s life. Still, if Guelzo is critical of Lee, he does not withhold praise when the circumstances justify it. By the end of the book, Guelzo chooses not to pursue the case against Lee for his treasonous choice to make war on the United States…”
Allen C. Guelzo is the Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship and Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He is an American historian and commentator on public issues and a New York Times best-selling author. Professor Guelzo has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, National Affairs, First Things, U.S. News & World Report, The Weekly Standard, Washington Monthly, National Review, the Daily Beast, and the Claremont Review of Books, and has been featured on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” In 2010, he was nominated for a Grammy Award along with David Straithern and Richard Dreyfuss for their production of the entirety of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (BBC Audio). In 2018, he was a winner of the Bradley Prize, along with Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal and Charles Kesler of the Claremont Institute.
Professor Guelzo is a JMC faculty partner.
Want to help the Jack Miller Center transform higher education? Donate today.