Cover image for Lee in the shadow of Washington
Lee in the shadow of Washington
McCaslin, Richard B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 260 pages : portraits ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E467.1.L4 M47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the Shadow of Washington begins by explaining that Robert E. Lee strongly opposed the destruction of the Union and desperately hoped he would not have to choose sides. However, he made clear that if Virginia seceded, he would follow. Most scholars who have studied Lee's decision to support the Confederacy agree that the deciding factor was his loyalty to Virginia. McCaslin explores why Lee felt so loyal to the state, and finds that the roots of his fidelity lie in familial ties and not state loyalty. Many of Lee's family members, including his father, were directly involved in the Revolution. This attachment was reinforced by Lee's marriage into George Washington's family. McCaslin asserts that Robert E. Lee was a devoted follower to George Washington and his legacy and that, in both his decision to support the Confederacy and in his military leadership, he sought to emulate Washington as an inspirational leader and successful commander.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Many historians have speculated about the degree to which George Washington was a guiding force in the life of Robert E. Lee, but the subject has never fully been explored. Those conversant enough in the Lee literature to find this controversial topic intriguing will read the present volume by McCaslin (history, High Point Univ.; Tainted Breeze) with great interest. Utilizing an exhaustive collection of primary and secondary sources, this award-winning author of nearly a dozen monographs examines the pervasive influence of Washington on Lee's principles, generalship, and politics from the antebellum period to the end of his life. This specialized work is recommended for larger academic and public libraries with comprehensive collections in Civil War history, but for more general collections, Emory Thomas's Robert E. Lee: A Biography (Norton, 1997) might satisfy most patrons. Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.