The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee

The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee

R. David Cox

With a Foreword by Mark A. Noll

 

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Robert E. Lee was many things—accomplished soldier, military engineer, college president, family man, agent of reconciliation, polarizing figure. He was also a person of deep Christian conviction. In this biography of the famous Civil War general, R. David Cox shows how Lee’s Christian faith shaped his crucial role in some of the most pivotal events in American history.

From start to finish, this is a major contribution to understanding Lee, his religion, and his times. —Allen C. Guelzo

Delving into family letters and other primary sources—some of them newly discovered—Cox traces the lifelong development of Lee’s convictions and how they influenced his decisions to stand with Virginia over against the Union and later to support reconciliation and reconstruction in the years after the Civil War. Faith was central to Lee’s character, Cox argues—so central that it directed and redirected his life, especially in the aftermath of defeat.


R. David Cox is an Episcopal priest and author who was rector at the R. E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, for thirteen years. He currently serves as visiting professor of history at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, Virginia.


REVIEWS

James M. McPherson
— Pulitzer Prize winner for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
“Nearly every aspect of Robert E. Lee’s life and military career has been carefully examined in scores of books. We know that his character and actions were shaped in considerable part by his religious beliefs, but until now we have not had a systematic analysis of those beliefs. This book adds an important dimension to our understanding of Lee and his world.”

S. C. Gwynne
— author of Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson
“David Cox has written the book I always wanted to read about how Robert E. Lee’s relationship with God influenced his remarkable career. Here the reader will find a superbly detailed portrait of the down-to-earth, practical faith of a man who believed that his life rested in God’s hands.”

Allen C. Guelzo
— author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President
“This opens up an entirely new way of looking at Robert E. Lee. Cox not only examines the details of Lee’s religious pilgrimage, but in the process recreates the entire world of Virginia Episcopalianism which nurtured him and the family world which shaped his practices. From start to finish, this is a major contribution to understanding Lee, his religion, and his times.”

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