The Lees of Virginia Seven Generations of an American Family

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-12-04
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Introduction: Commemorating the Bicentennial of General Robert E. Lee's Birthp. xiii
Genealogy of the Lees of Virginiap. 1
Map of Tidewater Virginiap. 2
Prologue: At Mrs. Shippen'sp. 3
The Founders: 1640-1670p. 7
The Scholar: 1664-1715p. 21
The Partners: 1700-1750p. 33
The Squire and the Widow: 1750-1795p. 49
"Dear Brother...": 1750-1774p. 65
Politics in Virginia: 1758-1774p. 77
Ambition in London: 1768-1774p. 86
A Test of Courage: 1775-1779p. 98
Romance in Philadelphia: 1760-1788p. 113
"The World Seems Crazy": 1780-1797p. 127
"Last of the Stratford Lees": 1786-1817p. 144
From Leesylvania to...: 1754-1794p. 158
...Calamity: 1794-1827p. 172
Refuge in Alexandria: 1794-1858p. 188
Farewell to Stratford: 1787-1829p. 203
Hiding in Paris: 1829-1840p. 218
Longing for Arlington: 1829-1846p. 231
"My Country": 1846-1861p. 247
The General: 1861-1865p. 265
Final Valor: 1865-1870p. 283
Epilogue: At the Chapelp. 300
Acknowledgments and Sourcesp. 307
Indexp. 319
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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