Grant

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Penguin, Oct 10, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 1104 pages
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - le.vert.galant - LibraryThing

Grant holds an interesting place in American history. While known as the victorious commander of Union for each durable the Civil War, his presidency is remembered as a failure, bedeviled by cronyism ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jthierer - LibraryThing

I appreciate that Chernow was trying to push back on characterizations of Grant as a drunk and a butcher, but at times he goes to far in trying to prove that Grant was not those things that he ignores ... Read full review

Contents

A LIFE OF STRUGGLE
19
A LIFE OF
113
A Glittering Lie
195
Exodus
221
Man of Iron
242
Citadel
268
Deliverance
289
Above the Clouds
312
Ulysses the Silent
355
Raging Storm
374
Heavens Hung in Black
396
Caldron of Hell
417
Chew Choke 4 38
460
Dirty Boots
487
A Singular Indescribable Vessel
519
A LiFE OF PEACE
545

Idol of the Hour
335

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About the author (2017)

Ron Chernow is the prizewinning author of six previous books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton—the inspiration for the Broadway musical—won the George Washington Book Prize. A past president of PEN America, Chernow has been the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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