History professor Ty Seidule's new book, Robert E. Lee and Me, follows his personal reckoning with the Confederacy he was raised to idealize. He will be in-conversation with Dr. Hilary Green.
“A beautiful, often searing meditation on race, history, and the American narrative. Evocative and provocative, Robert E. Lee and Me is honest, wry, and utterly engaging.”—Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The British are Coming
About the book:
In a forceful but humane narrative, former soldier and head of the West Point history department Ty Seidule's Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the myths and lies of the Confederate legacy--and explores why some of this country's oldest wounds have never healed.
Ty Seidule grew up revering Robert E. Lee. From his southern childhood to his service in the U.S. Army, every part of his life reinforced the Lost Cause myth: that Lee was the greatest man who ever lived, and that the Confederates were underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. Now, as a retired brigadier general and Professor Emeritus of History at West Point, his view has radically changed. From a soldier, a scholar, and a southerner, Ty Seidule believes that American history demands a reckoning.
In a unique blend of history and reflection, Seidule deconstructs the truth about the Confederacy--that its undisputed primary goal was the subjugation and enslavement of Black Americans--and directly challenges the idea of honoring those who labored to preserve that system and committed treason in their failed attempt to achieve it. Through the arc of Seidule's own life, as well as the culture that formed him, he seeks a path to understanding why the facts of the Civil War have remained buried beneath layers of myth and even outright lies--and how they embody a cultural gulf that separates millions of Americans to this day.
Part history lecture, part meditation on the Civil War and its fallout, and part memoir, Robert E. Lee and Me challenges the deeply-held legends and myths of the Confederacy--and provides a surprising interpretation of essential truths that our country still has a difficult time articulating and accepting.
About the author:
Ty Seidule is Professor Emeritus of History at West Point where he taught for two decades. He served in the U.S. Army for thirty-six years, retiring as a brigadier general in 2020. He is the Chamberlain Fellow at Hamilton College as well as a New America Fellow. He has published numerous books, articles, and videos on military history including the award-winning West Point History of the Civil War. Ty graduated from Washington and Lee University and holds a PhD from the Ohio State University.
Dr. Hilary N. Green is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at The University of Alabama. She earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching interests include the intersections of race, class, and gender in 19th Century African American history, the American Civil War Era, Reconstruction Studies, Civil War Memory, and the Black Atlantic. She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890 (Fordham University Press, 2016) as well as articles, book chapters and other scholarly publications. She is the co-series editor of Reconstruction Reconsidered, a University of South Carolina Press series, a book review editor for the Journal of North Carolina Association of Historians, and a digital media editor to Muster, the online blog for the Journal of the Civil War Era. In January 2015, she developed the Hallowed Grounds Project, which explores slavery, memory and its legacy at the University of Alabama. In addition to several short publications, she is currently at work on a second book manuscript examining how everyday African Americans remembered and commemorated the Civil War.