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Grant
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Grant
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The #1 New York Times bestseller.New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals...
The #1 New York Times bestseller.New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals...
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  • The #1 New York Times bestseller.
    New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

    Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

    Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

    Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant's military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members.
    More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him "the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race." After his presidency, he was again brought low by a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, only to resuscitate his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre.

    With lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as "nothing heroic... and yet the greatest hero." Chernow's probing portrait of Grant's lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America's greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant's life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.
    Named one of the best books of the year by Goodreads • Amazon • The New York Times • Newsday BookPage Barnes and Noble • Wall Street Journal
 

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Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    May 15, 2017

    Having ranged from the National Book Award-winning The House of Morgan to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington: A Life, Chernow takes on the often-maligned Ulysses S. Grant, showing Grant coming into his own as a military leader and staying clean despite corruption around him as president. Grant gets the highest marks for his concern for African Americans; Frederick Douglass called him "the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race."

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 14, 2017
    Acclaimed biographer Chernow, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Washington: A Life, entertains in this informative whopper as he upends the long-held view of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) as a lumbering general and incompetent president. An unhappy Army officer who resigned his commission in 1854, Grant was reduced to clerking in his father's dry-goods store when President Lincoln called for volunteers in 1861. Bolstered by his West Point background and enthusiastic support from his congressman, Grant reentered service and quickly rose to brigadier general. In February 1862, he won the first great Union victory by capturing forts Henry and Donelson. Thrilled by Grant's victories at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Lincoln made him commanding general of the Union Army. Chernow contrasts Grant's awareness of the tasks required to win the war with opponent Robert E. Lee's comparative shortsightedness. Discussing Grant's presidency (1869–1877), Chernow discloses the admiration he received from contemporary black leaders for his efforts during Reconstruction, even though it collapsed due to continued white intransigence. Similarly, pressure from whites undermined Grant's well-intentioned Indian policy, leading to the Sioux Wars. Throughout his life, Grant was bad with money and a constant target of hucksters. Chernow spares few details, but Grant was a complex, mostly admirable figure, and this may become the definitive biography for the foreseeable future. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency.

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2017
    A massive biography of the Civil War general and president, who "was the single most important figure behind Reconstruction."Most Americans know the traditional story of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885): a modest but brutal general who pummeled Robert E. Lee into submission and then became a bad president. Historians changed their minds a generation ago, and acclaimed historian Chernow (Washington: A Life, 2010, etc.), winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, goes along in this doorstop of a biography, which is admiring, intensely detailed, and rarely dull. A middling West Point graduate, Grant performed well during the Mexican War but resigned his commission, enduring seven years of failure before getting lucky. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was the only West Point graduate in the area, so local leaders gave him a command. Unlike other Union commanders, he was aggressive and unfazed by setbacks. His brilliant campaign at Vicksburg made him a national hero. Taking command of the Army of the Potomac, he forced Lee's surrender, although it took a year. Easily elected in 1868, he was the only president who truly wanted Reconstruction to work. Despite achievements such as suppressing the Ku Klux Klan, he was fighting a losing battle. Historian Richard N. Current wrote, "by backing Radical Reconstruction as best he could, he made a greater effort to secure the constitutional rights of blacks than did any other President between Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson." Recounting the dreary scandals that soiled his administration, Chernow emphasizes that Grant was disastrously lacking in cynicism. Loyal to friends and susceptible to shady characters, he was an easy mark, and he was fleeced regularly throughout his life. In this sympathetic biography, the author continues the revival of Grant's reputation. At nearly 1,000 pages, Chernow delivers a deeply researched, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know biography, but few readers will regret the experience. For those seeking a shorter treatment, turn to Josiah Bunting's Ulysses S. Grant (2004).

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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