Elizabeth Varon - Longstreet

Elizabeth Varon - Longstreet

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2024 7:00 PM

Location:
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

An authoritative biography of the controversial Confederate general, who later embraced Reconstruction and became an outcast in the South.

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome historian and author Elizabeth Varon to discuss her recent book, "Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South."

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue. Masks are optional.

About the Book

It was the most remarkable political about-face in American history. During the Civil War, General James Longstreet fought tenaciously for the Confederacy. He was alongside Lee at Gettysburg (and counseled him not to order the ill-fated attacks on entrenched Union forces there). He won a major Confederate victory at Chickamauga and was seriously wounded during a later battle.

After the war, Longstreet moved to New Orleans, where he dramatically changed course. He supported Black voting and joined the newly elected, integrated postwar government in Louisiana. When white supremacists took up arms to oust that government, Longstreet, leading the interracial state militia, did battle against former Confederates. His defiance ignited a firestorm of controversy, as white Southerners branded him a race traitor and blamed him retroactively for the South's defeat in the Civil War.

Although he was one of the highest-ranking Confederate generals, Longstreet has never been commemorated with statues or other memorials in the South because of his postwar actions in rejecting the Lost Cause mythology and urging racial reconciliation. He is being rediscovered in the new age of racial reckoning. This is the first biography in decades and the first to give proper attention to Longstreet's long post-Civil War career.

About the Author

Elizabeth R. Varon is Langbourne M. Williams professor of American history at the University of Virginia and a member of the executive council of UVA's John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History. Varon's books include "Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew," "A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy," and "Appomattox: Victory, Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War." Her most recent book, "Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War," won the 2020 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and was named one of The Wall Street Journal's best books of 2019.