What Is Lee Thinking?

I appreciate the recent comments on memory and R.E. Lee  as I am working to complete an essay on how the Civil War, and the Confederacy in particular, is taught to high school students around the world.  The spectrum is broad and there were a few surprises along the way.  Discussing with students how their peers in other countries learn American history helps to bring important interpretive themes into sharper focus and makes it easier to see them as assumptions worth analyzing.

How about one final image.  This one is titled “The Christian General” by William A. Maughan.  You will be sad to hear that the limited edition print is SOLD OUT.  I’ve said it over and over, but it is worth repeating, that you can’t imagine a painting which depicts Grant or Sherman reading from the “Good Book” to an innocent child.  I can’t help but wonder what is on Lee’s mind as he stares beyond the pages of the Bible.  What do you think?

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

4 comments… add one

  • matthew mckeon Apr 11, 2008

    Lee: “Boy, this kid is really bored by the Bible. And my arm has fallen asleep.”

  • Paul Apr 11, 2008

    How about “Dear God, if you are on our side, then why are my men shoeless and starving? Why is Virginia in ruin and our Confederacy on the verge of collapse?”

    I’ve thought about such artistry as well. It has to be that those who paint and buy such imagery fundamentally belive in the moral righteousness of the Confedrate cause. Perhaps they sincerely believe that slavery had little if anything to do with it.

    As the legendary George Costanza once said, “It’s not a lie if you believe it’s true.”

    Kevin, have an enjoyable and productive summer! I may not always agree with you, nevertheless, I for one believe the Civil War blogosphere will be emptier without your thoughtful insights.

  • Kevin Levin Apr 11, 2008

    Nice suggestions.

    Paul, — Thanks for the kind words. I am going to miss it and that is part of the reason why I know the best thing is to put it aside for a few months and finish my research projects. The best part of blogging is interacting with people who can disagree without getting defensive and overly emotional. Congratulations on your book contract with Kent State. I assume you are working with Lesley Gordon who is doing a dynamite job with the press.

  • John Maass Apr 29, 2008

    Looks like Santa in a rebel uniform!

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