TITLE: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters
SPEAKER: Elizabeth Brown Pryor
EVENT DATE: 06/12/2007
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Robert E. Lee was a more complex and contradictory man than his iconic image suggests. In her new biography, historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor presents dozens of previously unpublished letters to draw a new portrait of Lee's beliefs, his military ability and the times he lived in.
Pryor discussed and signed "Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters," in a program sponsored by the Center for the Book.
Pryor uses Lee's newly discovered family letters as departure points for a series of surprising "historical excursions," telling his life story through an innovative blend of analysis, historiography and rich period detail. She looks into Lee's troubled childhood, the hardening of his anti-abolitionist views, his decision to join the South, his celebrated but controversial battlefield performance and his final wrenching years.
The author also delves into lesser-known aspects of Lee's life, such as his pioneering role in engineering science, the fluctuation in his religious beliefs and the way he shaped his own leadership style.
Speaker Biography: Elizabeth Brown Pryor has combined careers as an award-winning historian and a senior diplomat in the American Foreign Service, most recently as senior advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe of the U.S. Congress. Her 1987 biography, "Clara Barton, Professional Angel," is considered the authoritative work on the founder of the American Red Cross.
SERIES: Books & Beyond