Historian Allen Guelzo has written a biography: Robert E. Lee – A Life, that has a new relevancy today. A racial reckoning over the past two years and a nation that is re-examining its past has put Lee back in the news.
Lee was looked upon as an icon in the south and respected as a military leader after commanding the Confederate army in the Civil War. But Lee has come under scrutiny for leading an army that was fighting to maintain slavery and was a slaveholder himself.
Guelzo’s book addresses the question of whether Robert E. Lee committed treason against the United States when he resigned from the U.S. Army to join the Confederacy and take up arms against a country he had sworn to defend. The history books most often say Lee said he “couldn’t raise his sword against Virginia” his home state. Guelzo writes there may have been more personal thinking to Lee’s decision.
Dr. Allen Guelzo was featured in a virtual Midtown Scholar Bookstore event recently and is on today’s Smart Talk.