The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family

Paul C. Nagel, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-19-505385-2
Historian Nagel, chronicler of the presidential Adams family ( Descent from Glory ), here presents another splendidly written, poignant, well-researched portrait of a notable clan through approximately 230 years, starting in 1640 with the arrival in Virginia of Richard Lee from Shropshire, England. We're made aware that the considerable contributions of the Lee family to the public, economic, military and intellectual life of the nation have been overshadowed by its most famous figure, Confederate general Robert E. Lee. From among the myriad (and occasionally confusing in their sheer number) members of this close-knit but usually politically feuding clan, several stand out, along with the general--Richard Henry, whose original motion for independence was incorporated by Jefferson into the Declaration of Independence, and headstrong, self-destructive cavalry leader ``Light-Horse Harry.'' If, as Nagel notes, the Lees, like the Adamses, were often temperamentally estranged from their times, there was a marked difference: unlike the coolly detached Adamses, the Lees were passionate for involvement. (Sept. )
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
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