Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Book I Am Reading

"Lee - The Last Years" written by Charles Bracelen Flood deals with the years defeated Confederate General Robert E. Lee lived post Civil War.

What makes it special are the glimpses into the personal thoughts and life of Lee, a very private man. This warrior beloved by his fellows and respected by his foes morphed into a man of peace who as much as anyone alive at the time sowed reconciliation among his beloved South.

The times they were a changin' when I went through school in Macon Georgia. Very rapidly the advance of civil rights put paid to some of the promises the civil war made to people of color. But with those advances, some of the lessons from that war were lost. One of those lessons was how to lose with grace, dignity, and integrity.

Lee exemplified the good Christian man for generations of young men of the South. His humility was the stuff of legend, and this book gave me even more examples of how this man tried to live out his faith.

I was surprised to learn just how innovative he was as the president of what was then Washington College (obviously now Washington and Lee University). He was an early proponent of the elective system, and an enthusiastic supporter of students learning Spanish and studying the countries of Latin America.

By no means is the book void of areas where Lee fell short. His relationship with his daughters and the effect his possessiveness had on their lives is explored.

Still, reading the book gives you again an understanding of why his men would put their lives on the line for him again and again and again.

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