On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington’s most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington’s adopted child. Each side sought his services for high command. Lee could choose only one. The decision he made would change history.
In The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the officer most associated with Washington’s legacy went to war against the union that represented Washington’s greatest legacy. This thoroughly researched and gracefully written biography follows the Virginia icon through married life, military glory, and misfortune. The story that emerges is more complicated, more tragic, and more illuminating than the familiar tale. It is more complicated because the unresolved question of slavery—the seed of disunion—was among the personal legacies that Washington left Lee. It is more tragic because the Civil War destroyed the people and places connecting Lee to Washington in agonizing and astonishing ways. It is more illuminating because the battle for Washington’s memory shaped the nation that America is today.
As Washington was the man who would not be king, Lee was the man who would not be Washington. The choice was Lee’s. The story is America’s.
A must-read for those passionate about history, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington introduces Jonathan Horn as a masterly voice in the field. Download and start listening now!