23 January 2015

Misreading Robert E. Lee - A Video Review of Elizabeth Brown Pryor's "Reading the Man"

Dr. Bryon McClanahan reviews *Pryor's work on Lee. He is quite critical and discusses major problems with the book as well as the "trendy" practice by modern historians of "humanizing" (tearing down) American heroes. 

McClanahan also points out many of the general criticisms I've discussed here since 2005 in regards to academic historians as a whole. He echoes historian Robert Krick's characterization of much of modern historiography (especially in regards to Lee and the Confederacy) as "psycho-babble." There's so much I could say here, but I'd just be repeating what I've said so many times and McClanahan says so much better.

His brief discussion of Lee's (and other Confederates) views on the Union prior to the WBTS is quite good. His perspective on the Civil War and American history is quite different from what you'll read on most of the group-think Civil War blogs. The video is worth your time and if you're a student of Lee and the WBTS, you really should take the time to watch and listen.
Brion McClanahan received a B.A. in History from Salisbury University in 1997 and an M.A. in History from the University of South Carolina in 1999. He finished his Ph.D. in History at the University of South Carolina in 2006, and had the privilege of being Clyde Wilson’s last doctoral student.



*I have owned a copy of Pryor's book for some time, but have only skimmed through its pages and not read it entirely. As soon as I realized the author's slant, I lost interest in reading it.

2 comments:

Eddie said...

"McClanahan also points out many of the general criticisms I've discussed here since 2005 in regards to academic historians as a whole. "

Have you by chance read Ludwell Johnson's preface in the 2002 edition of -- North Against South -? He gives a clear reasoning of the purpose of the academic historians and their current effect on history.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Eddie - Yes, I have a copy in my library. I've posted on Professor Johnson's writing before. See:

http://oldvirginiablog.blogspot.com/search?q=ludwell+johnson