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Lady of Arlington: The Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee
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Lady of Arlington: The Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee

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Publisher: Multnomah Publishers
Author: John Perry

List Price: $19.99

Ages: Adult

Reviewed By: Deborah Deggs Cariker

John Perry's exhaustive biography, Lady of Arlington: The Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee, paints an emotionally stirring portrait of Mary Anna Custis Lee, a patriot whose name is more usually left out of history discussions. In its 384 pages, the hardcover is equally a motivational and inspirational biography, very close to being a devotional, a "heart" exam for the reader, and a luscious slice of American History.

Frankly, I never knew the story behind Arlington National Cemetery and, having now learned it, am ashamed of the way the government treated the noble kinswoman of George Washington. How dreadful for men to make war on a woman! How unchivalrous! The stealing of Arlington from Mrs. Lee was nothing more than barbaric vengeance. And how ironic her story: she inherited slaves, did not want them, and freed them before Lincoln could. She was raised in and inherited one of the most celebrated estates in the country, but spent the war homeless, never to sleep in her ancestral home again.

Reading through her various trials and tribulation, the reader with a pulse will be stirred by her thorough conversion to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, convicted and challenged by her submission to the will of God - even in hard times - and entertained by the highly detailed account of this famous family. What stood out over and over in Mrs. Lee was her acceptance of all that she perceived as the hand of God allowing something into her life. Disease. Pain. War. Death. Vengeance. Homelessness. No, she wasn't perfect, and Perry clearly shows her humanness, especially in parenting issues, but her ability to rest in the Father's care is extraordinary when you read what that faith and trust cost.

It's quite obvious that the author conducted extensive research and took great pains to introduce - or re-introduce - us to a heroine of the first degree at a time when the world desperately needs such figures. Her husband is generally well-known, but even Robert E. Lee is fully cast in dimensions I have never seen. Excellent work all the way around. A haunting, emotion-packed story that should change the way you view the Confederate South, and those who endured the times. You cannot read Lady of Arlington and continue to hold to the fables presented in customary "history" textbooks. Read this slowly, relishing the story.
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Deborah Deggs Cariker
A Houston-area veteran journalist, Deborah Deggs Cariker is a ninth-year homeschooling mother of two, and Assistant Editor of the EHO Product Reviews Department. Cariker and fireman husband, Bill, make their home near Montgomery, Texas.
Copyright © 2004 Eclectic Homeschool Association


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