Half King reading series : Longstreet
featuring author Elizabeth R. Varon
Eventbrite RSVP required
About the Series
What was once one of the most vital literary hubs in the city, The Half King Reading Series, has a new home at the Salmagundi Club. At monthly events, authors of new works will discuss their books in a warm, welcoming, and informed setting. Selections are predominantly, but not exclusively, non-fiction, current events, biography, autobiography, novels and memoir.
About the Book
Join in on a long-overdue thorough re-evaluation of an American Hero.
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.
Salmagundi members are welcome to have dinner in our dining room. Dining reservations can be made via our Reservations page. Please note that last call for food is 8:30 PM.