Truth is Ruthless


That line is from a highly recommended book I just finished reading:

Robert E. Lee and Me:  A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause

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(You may have heard his interview on Jonathan Capehart’s podcast)

The writer, Ty Seidule, a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army, graduated from Washington and Lee University and taught history at West Point for many years.  He relates a compelling story of growing up in the South where he learned to venerate Lee as the model of a Southern Christian Gentleman who is still nearly worshipped by those who continue to believe the “myth of the Lost Cause.”

Seidule holds nothing back, offering a detailed exposure of the true cause of the Civil War (slavery) and the true nature of Lee and the Confederacy (treason in defense of slavery).

My wife and I now live in the South.  We’ve been to Civil War battle sites and museums, walked through cemeteries with the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers, visited the “White House of the Confederacy” in Richmond, VA, and continue to see monuments to the “War of Rebellion” and rebel flags.  We’ve been to Washington and Lee University, Memphis and Montgomery, Greensboro and Gettysburg.  A depth of history we never fully appreciated until now.  All part of our continuing education.

In my opinion, anyone who truly wants to understand the history of racial injustice in America needs to read Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and many other Black voices, past and present.  And. . .I think Robert E. Lee and Me presents a powerful deep dive into the origins of our ongoing Civil War with racism in this country.

The truth is ruthless, and incredibly necessary to tell and learn.

(header image:  from our visit to Gettysburg and the North Carolina memorial)

Categories: American HistoryTags: , , ,

2 comments

  1. Looks like a very interesting book by a very credible historian. I looked it up to order from Amazon and it is not available until next year. The podcast you reference takes a subscription which is not my thing. Too many commitments already. But thanks for mentioning the book. I will order it next year. I majored in History in my university days and the head of the department was a Vanderbilt graduate who was part of the revisionist school of thought on the Civil War. They were mostly Southern scholars who wanted to make the war not about slavery and white supremacy but economic imperialism by the union sympathizers in government. This has obviously changed in 50 years to a more re revisionist position of both economics, slavery and the effects of a white supremacy libertarian form of politics which took root again under Trump and the plutocrats in the Republican party. There are some very interesting documentaries about how the North won the battlefield but the South won the culture war for the Southern whites, Western pioneers who were fiercely libertarian and now the most wealthy Americans. Money makes one blind to injustice that a system causes for those less fortunate. Too many yacht cruises, cocktail parties and country club dinners. The only minority people they see are elite athletes, musicians and the kowtowing help in the clubs. I tell them to work in a food bank for a day and open your eyes.

    • Yes, Marty, the paperback comes out next year. I have the hardback which, as books go these days, wasn’t too expensive. I listen to Capehart quite a bit at no cost. Anyway, Ty has done many interviews, so you can listen.
      Indeed, people twist historical “truth” in their favorite direction. That’s why I like this particular book, since it comes from the perspective of someone who changed his mind due to serious investigation and self-critique after years in one mythological mentality.
      Your comments are well taken, thanks!

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