“[Longstreet’s] story is a reminder that the arc of history is sometimes bent by those who had the courage to change their convictions. . . . And for that, Ms. Varon contends, he commands our attention as one of the most enduringly relevant voices in American history.”
– Peter Cozzens, The Wall Street Journal
"Varon brilliantly creates the wider context for Longstreet’s career. . . . [and] the complexity of a brave man whose very 'legacy would prove to be a battlefield of its own.'"
– Brenda Wineapple, The New York Times
"Compelling. . . .[Varon's] knowledge of the historical context is matched by her balanced appraisal of Longstreet’s attitudes, personal and political.”
– Eric Foner, The Atlantic
"For readers interested in the tragedy of America's Civil War, the horrors of Reconstruction and their implications for our own divided time, Longstreet is an essential book."
– Mary Ann Gwinn, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“It’s hard to see Elizabeth Varon’s new biography of James Longstreet becoming a runaway bestseller, and that’s a shame, because her study of the Confederate general—one of Robert E. Lee’s closest confidants, yet an outcast in the post–Civil War South for his embrace of Black emancipation and civil rights—is insightful, well-executed, and sorely needed.”
– Richard Kreitner, Slate
"Tells Longstreet’s story with authority and insight. . . . Readers interested in the Civil War and the horrors of Reconstruction should not miss this book."
– Kirkus Reviews
“At a time when it seems an open question whether human beings have the capacity to learn and to change in politics, the great historian Elizabeth Varon has given us a compelling portrait of a man who did just that: James Longstreet. A Confederate general who became an advocate for justice in the painful aftermath of the Civil War, Longstreet has much to teach us in our own hour of polarization.”
– Jon Meacham, author of And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
"James Longstreet's evolution from an ardent secessionist and prominent Confederate general to a postwar Republican and supporter of black civil rights who repudiated Lost Cause mythologies has long puzzled contemporaries and historians. Elizabeth Varon brilliantly solves this puzzle and links it to the persistent efforts to scapegoat Longstreet for Confederate defeat at Gettysburg."
– James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
"James Longstreet is best known as a talented Confederate military figure and a Lost Cause pariah. Elizabeth Varon provides the first in-depth assessment of his substantial postwar career as a politician, diplomat, and reconciliationist. Her superb book reminds modern readers of Longstreet's stature, while also illuminating the complexity and volatility of the nation's racial and sectional politics."
– Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Enduring Civil War: Reflections on the Great American Crisis