"Ty Seidule scorches us with the truth and rivets us with his fierce sense of moral urgency."
New York Times
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.
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. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appointed Ty to the National Commission on Base Renaming. He serves as the Vice Chair
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.
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Praise for Robert E. Lee and Me
“With the vigor of a prosecutor, Seidule dismantles the near-sacred beliefs among many Southerners that the Civil War was a noble cause to preserve a way of life that benefitted everyone…an extraordinary and courageous book, a confessional of America’s great sins of slavery and racial oppression, a call to confront our wrongs, reject our mythologized racist past and resolve to create a just future for all.” –Associated Press
“Seidule has written a vital account of the destructiveness of the Lost Cause ideology throughout American history. Perhaps the best attribute of this fine book is the author’s honesty. It’s difficult to imagine a more timely book than “Robert E. Lee and Me.” At this pivotal moment, when we are debating some of the most painful aspects of our history, Seidule’s unsparing assessment of the Lost Cause provides an indispensable contribution to the discussion.” –The Washington Post
“Stunning... Dazzling...Robert E. Lee and Me is a cri de coeur, one man’s journey to humanity and his salvation from the pernicious lies of white supremacy. Few others could write this book with such sterling credibility. Only a man of the South, a Virginian, and a soldier with a Ph.D. in history could so persuasively mount the case against a national hero, and label him a traitor.” –Washington Independent Review of Books
"A powerful and introspective look into white Americans’ continuing romance with the Confederacy, and the lasting damage that has done." --New York Times Book Review
"Carefully considered and compulsively readable... Robert E. lee and Me deserves both a wide readership and a place on undergraduate syllabi." Civil War Monitor
“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
"Ty Seidule brilliantly and brutally deconstructs [the Lost Cause Myth] an extraordinary book that, by chronicling our darkest American moments, offers hope that we might one day see greater light." - Los Angeles Review of Books
“A timely, powerful, compelling – and courageous – book...This is a book of enormous importance and tremendous insight, a book that only a true southerner – and a true historian – could have written.” ― General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA
“A must read... This book speaks truth to power and truth in love. Written by a true patriot who clearly loves his country and wants the best for her.” ― Mayor Mitch Landrieu, bestselling author of In The Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History
“Profoundly moving memoir distinguished by moral courage and intellectual integrity…Everyone interested in the Civil War and its continuing importance in American culture should read this unflinchingly honest book.” ― Professor James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
“Seidule openly confronts his own indifference to racism, and this absorbing book will be of value to anyone interested in how history informs our present.” ― Library Journal (starred review)
“Ruminative and carefully researched....a valiant and well supported effort to bring essential facts to light. This heartfelt history has a worthy message.” – Publishers Weekly
“General Ty Seidule has written a book for our times, one every American should read...a tour de force.” ― Charles B. Dew, Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College
“Searingly passionate, mercilessly honest, Robert E. Lee and Me is one of the most deeply felt books you are likely to encounter...a must read for anyone who has ever thought about the meaning of duty, honor, country.” ― Randy Roberts, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Blood Brothers
"A book that is as timely as it is profound ... offering a searingly honest reflection on slavery, race, and the imperative of honesty in addressing America's past.” ― Professor Andrew Bacevich, bestselling author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism
"Essential and riveting reading." ― John H. Morrow, Jr., Pritzker Prize-winning author and Franklin Professor of History, University of Georgia
“A powerful story of a southern man who confronted the myths of his youth and concluded that there is no room in the United States Army or American society for Lost Cause mythology.” ― Joseph Glatthaar, author of General Lee’s Army and Stephenson Distinguished Professor of History at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill