American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

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Random House Publishing Group, Oct 4, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 864 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America’s greatest generals—and most misunderstood presidents

Winner of the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography • Finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Military History Book Prize

In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the “Trinity of Great American Leaders.” But the battlefield commander–turned–commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.

Based on seven years of research with primary documents—some of them never examined by previous Grant scholars—this is destined to become the Grant biography of our time. White, a biographer exceptionally skilled at writing momentous history from the inside out, shows Grant to be a generous, curious, introspective man and leader—a willing delegator with a natural gift for managing the rampaging egos of his fellow officers. His wife, Julia Dent Grant, long marginalized in the historic record, emerges in her own right as a spirited and influential partner.

Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government’s policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs. Published by Mark Twain, it is widely considered to be the greatest autobiography by an American leader, but its place in Grant’s life story has never been fully explored—until now.

One of those rare books that successfully recast our impression of an iconic historical figure, American Ulysses gives us a finely honed, three-dimensional portrait of Grant the man—husband, father, leader, writer—that should set the standard by which all future biographies of him will be measured.

Praise for American Ulysses

“[Ronald C. White] portrays a deeply introspective man of ideals, a man of measured thought and careful action who found himself in the crosshairs of American history at its most crucial moment.”USA Today

“White delineates Grant’s virtues better than any author before. . . . By the end, readers will see how fortunate the nation was that Grant went into the world—to save the Union, to lead it and, on his deathbed, to write one of the finest memoirs in all of American letters.”The New York Times Book Review

“Ronald White has restored Ulysses S. Grant to his proper place in history with a biography whose breadth and tone suit the man perfectly. Like Grant himself, this book will have staying power.”The Wall Street Journal

“Magisterial . . . Grant’s esteem in the eyes of historians has increased significantly in the last generation. . . . [American Ulysses] is the newest heavyweight champion in this movement.”The Boston Globe 

“Superb . . . illuminating, inspiring and deeply moving.”Chicago Tribune

“In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior.”Newsday
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - msaucier818 - LibraryThing

A new favorite! Ronald White's biography of Abraham Lincoln was one of my favorite reads of the past few years, and I was very excited to see him come out with this book and picked it up right away. I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - knightlight777 - LibraryThing

This is a very informative and readable volume on the life of a great American icon. Ronald White did a superb job of taking us through the triumphs and defeats of the man we owe so much to in ... Read full review

Contents

Formation 16301848
1
My Family Is American
3
My Ulysses it CHAPTER 3 West Point
26
My Dear Julia
45
Either by Treaty or the Sword CHAPTER 6 Army of Invasion
77
Trial 18481861
97
Peacetime Duty
99
The Civil
144
Petersburg 362
723
Appomattox 387
727
I Will Keep My Word
731
More More Radical 431
734
Let Us Have Peace
737
Gold Panic
739
A Radical Change in the Indian Policy 486
743
Foreign Relations 499
745

Panama
683
Forsaken
685
Hardscrabble
687
chapter io Galena
689
chapter it I Am In to Do All I Can I47 Chapter iz Belmont 163
694
Shiloh
697
William Tecumseh Sherman 223
701
More Than Forty Richmonds 243
709
Chattanooga 289
712
Washingtons Legitimate Successor
717
The Wilderness
718
Robert E Lee
720
Ku Klux Klan 519
749
The Gilded Age 538
752
Malfeasance 553
754
Centennial Crisis
757
American Ambassador 587
759
Grant Ward 613
764
Final Campaign 632
767
Epilogue 653
770
Selected Bibliography
773
Illustration Credits
789
5
795
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Ronald C. White is the author of three bestselling books on Abraham Lincoln, including most recently A. Lincoln. White earned his Ph.D. at Princeton and has lectured on Lincoln at hundreds of universities and other organizations, and at Gettysburg and the White House. He is a Fellow at the Huntington Library and a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum of Washington, D.C. He lives with his wife, Cynthia, in La Cañada, California.

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