Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. VaronAppomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon

Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War

byElizabeth R. Varon

Paperback | March 31, 2015

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* Winner, Library of Virginia Literary Award for Nonfiction* Winner of the Dan and Marilyn Laney Prize of the Austin Civil War Round Table* Finalist, Jefferson Davis Award of the Museum of the ConfederacyLee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House evokes a highly gratifying image in the popular mind - it was, many believe, a moment that transcended politics, a moment of healing, a moment of patriotism untainted by ideology. But as Elizabeth Varon reveals in this vividly narrated history, thisrosy image conceals a seething debate over precisely what the surrender meant and what kind of nation would emerge from war. The combatants in that debate included the iconic Lee and Grant, but they also included a cast of characters previously overlooked, who brought their own understanding of thewar's causes, consequences, and meaning. In Appomattox, Varon deftly captures the events swirling around that well remembered - but not well understood - moment when the Civil War ended. She expertly depicts the final battles in Virginia, when Grant's troops surrounded Lee's half-starved army, the meeting of the generals at the McLeanHouse, and the shocked reaction as news of the surrender spread like an electric charge throughout the nation. But as Varon shows, the ink had hardly dried before both sides launched a bitter debate over the meaning of the war. For Grant, and for most in the North, the Union victory was one of rightover wrong, a vindication of free society; for many African Americans, the surrender marked the dawn of freedom itself. Lee, in contrast, believed that the Union victory was one of might over right: the vast impersonal Northern war machine had worn down a valorous and unbowed South. Lee wascommitted to peace, but committed, too, to the restoration of the South's political power within the Union and the perpetuation of white supremacy. Lee's vision of the war resonated broadly among Confederates and conservative northerners, and inspired Southern resistance to reconstruction.Did America's best days lie in the past or in the future? For Lee, it was the past, the era of the founding generation. For Grant, it was the future, represented by Northern moral and material progress. They held, in the end, two opposite views of the direction of the country - and of the meaning ofthe war that had changed that country forever.
Elizabeth R. Varon is Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. A noted Civil War historian, she is the author of Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859; We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia; and Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of ...
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Title:Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil WarFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 31, 2015Publisher:OUPLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190217863

ISBN - 13:9780190217860

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Table of Contents

ProloguePart One: Battlefront1. No Escape2. Councils of War3. The Surrender Conference4. Rank-and-FilePart Two: Homefront5. Tidings of Peace6. Victory and Mourning7. Defeat and LiberationPart Three: Aftermath8. The Trials of Robert E. Lee9. The Education of U.S. GrantEpilogue: The Apple TreeNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Based on exceptionally thorough research, Elizabeth Varon's study meticulously dissects the sentimental, romantic version of the Appomattox story, which portrays it as an apolitical, magnanimous event. Varon shows convincingly that Robert E. Lee and other Confederates made the Army ofNorthern Virginia's surrender the opening shot in the battle over Reconstruction, and that the seeds of Reconstruction's failure were sown at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865." --Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life