Elizabeth R. Varon

Elizabeth R. Varon

Elizabeth R. Varon is a professor of history at the University of Virginia. She is author of We Mean to be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (1998) and Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy (2003). The latter book - which won awards from the Virginia Historical Society; the James River Writers Festival and the Library of Virginia; and the Southern Regional Council - reflects Varon’s ongoing commitment to integrating social history with political and military history. Her most recent book is Disunion! The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 (2008), the first volume of the Littlefield History of the Civil War Era. The book explores how Americans, as far back as the earliest days of the Republic, agonized and strategized over disunion.


  • Imagining a Winnable War: Abraham Lincoln and the Rhetoric of Disunion
  • The Method in Her Madness: Recovering the True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in Confederate Richmond
  • The Slaveholders' Dilemma: Disunion Rhetoric and the Coming of the Civil War


Civil War at 150 podcast conversation with OAH Magazine of History editor Carl Weinberg

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