General Robert E. Lee: A Study in Leadership

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A lecture by Professor Brian Holden Reid FRHistS FRGS FRUSI FRSA FKC, Professor of American History and Military Institutions, King’s College London.

Much has been written about the skilful way that the Confederate Army of Virginia was commanded during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Rather less on why and how it remained a cohesive force until virtually the end of the Civil War. Command and leadership is frequently confused in literature about war, but a successful leader requires very special skills in instilling in his soldiers - his followers - the enthusiasm to keep fighting whatever the odds, difficulties and hardships. In his lecture, Professor Holden Reid will survey the sources of General Robert E. Lee’s successful leadership technique and the way in which he changed and adapted it under adverse circumstances.

Speaker Bio

Professor Brian Holden Reid FRHistS FRGS FRUSI FRSA FKC is Professor of American History and Military Institutions at King’s College London, and since 2010 Academic Member of College Council. A former Head of the Department of War Studies (2001-2007), he was awarded the Fellowship of King’s College London (FKC) in 2007, the highest honour the College can award its alumni and staff. He was a Trustee of the Society of Military History (2003-2011), Honorary Vice President of the Society for Army Historical Research, and from 2004-2010 a Member of the Council of the National Army Museum, London. From 2004 to 2005 he was the first non-American to serve as a member of the Lincoln Prize Jury Panel for the award of the most important literary prize in Civil War history. Similarly, in 2007, he was the first non-American to deliver the 12th Elizabeth Roller Bottimore Lecture at the University of Richmond, Virginia during the Lee Bicentenary. In 2012 he delivered the Annual Liddell Hart Lecture in honour of Sir Michael Howard’s 90th Birthday and in April 2015 he delivered one of the Sanders Lectures at the University of Alabama, the first foreign scholar to do so. His books include J.F.C. Fuller: Military Thinker (1987, 1990), The Origins of the American Civil War (1996), Studies in British Military Thought (1998), Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation (2005, 2007) and America’s Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863 (2008).

Refreshments will be served from 1215.

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