Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lost Letters Found

It has been 142 years since the end of the Civil War... and just when you think there could not possibly be any new information there turns up not one, but two caches of previously undiscovered letters. I have just ordered two books that have recently over the last few months been published: Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor & The Madness of Mary Lincoln byJason Emerson. Both books use newly discovered caches of letters written by Robert E. Lee and Mary Todd Lincoln respectively. The book on Lee has been out for a few months now and the book on Mrs. Lincoln has just been published.

The Civil War is the most written about subject in American History. With litterally millions of titles both in and out of print, one would think after 140+ years the subject would have been exhausted. But each new discovery of original acctounts and letters written during the time opens up the war, the years that preceded it, and those that came after it, to new interpretations. Up to now, we may have thought we know all there is to know about Robert E. Lee and Mary Todd Lincoln, but obviously there are always new discoveries, and new things to learn about them. They are but two people who helped shape America's destiny.

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