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Grant Paperback – April 9, 2002
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Recent history has been kinder to Grant than were the chroniclers of his day, not only for his undoubted abilities as a military leader, but also for his conduct as a president who sought to rebuild a shattered nation. Jean Edward Smith, the author of fine biographies of John Marshall and Lucius D. Clay, offers compelling reasons to accept this program of revision, while acknowledging the shortcomings of Grant's administration. Surely and thoughtfully written, this sprawling but swiftly moving book stands as a true hallmark in the literature that is devoted to Grant. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Second, felt that the subject matter was presented in a refreshing and exciting way, assessing Grants life and achievements with a different lens. I remember long ago reading the McFeely biography and coming away wondering how Grant could have possibly become a general, a president, or much of anything. The Grant of this earlier biography was practically a nonentity, depressed, alcoholic, bad at just about everything except killing great quantities of Confederates. Smith has painted a portrait of a much greater man. I believe this book would have won the Pulitzer Prize had it been written before McFeely's (which did win the Pulitzer). But I think two Grant Pulitzers would have been unlikely.
If anything, "Grant" may tend to gush a little too much about its subject.Read more ›
- Before the Civil War Grant actually chopped firewood in order to make enough money to help feed his family (can you ever imagine a current president actually doing such labor in order to make a living?)
- He was a master warrior who didn't like to hunt, or the sight of blood.
- He may have been the unluckiest man alive when it came to business enterproses.
Like many Americans I had been subjected to the propoganda of the Southern apologists and never realized how great Grant really was. He knew what he had to do to win, realized it would be hard, but once he set his course he finished the job.
JES inspired me to visit the battlefield at Shiloh on a warm Saturday afternoon. History was really brought to life as I looked around and envisioned all of the soldiers fighting and dying on American soil. Grant never seemed so alive.
JES also shows how Grant was underappreciated president who tried to keep Lincoln's dreams alive. While Grant was an excellent reader of men on the battlefield this skill did not follow him into politics or business. As a result, Grant's admistration was rocked by scandal - costing him dearly in the eyes of historians.
JES biography on Grant was a treasure to read. I used to wonder how Grant was able to land on the $50 bill... now I wonder why he is only on ONE bill.
The early chapters focus on Grant's experience at West Point, in the Mexican War, military outposts, and in his many varied and often failed commercial ventures. Throughout these early ups and downs, what emerges is the picture of a man of absolute integrity and humility... a man unwilling to solicit position or accept patronage, unfailing in his payment of peronsal or financial debt, and unflinching in his duty.
Not unexpectedly half the book addresses Grant's military service; most of the accounts are familiar. Smith, however, goes to considerable length to discuss Grant's relationships with subordinate and opposition leaders (e.g., Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sherman, Longstreet, Thomas). The author points to the Federal movements at Vicksburg (1863) and James River (1865) as among Grant's most inspired, while bringing perspective to the momentum gained and lives lost during the campaign of 1864 (e.g., Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor). Sometimes labeled a butcher, Grant's casualty ratio was consistently less than Robert E. Lee's and, unlike preceding Eastern commanders, Grant refused to pay for the same ground twice, choosing to defeat the Confederate Army rather than focus on "geographical trophies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good history lesson of the Civil War and Grant's presidency. For me it was an easy read.Published 20 days ago by Ed
Great book about a great man. Near the end, dying of cancer, he wrote the following note to a friend:
“It seems that man’s destiny in this world is quite as much a mystery as... Read more
I found this a commendable book, but having just read "Team of Rivals" I can see the difference between a good biography an a great one. Read morePublished 1 month ago by R Helen
An education in one of the least appreciated principals in American history, and very well done. A study in pride, love of country, and perseverance that are lessons that should be... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Just sayin'
This book is well written, and has lots of footnotes and references. The problem with the book is that Grant comes across as being almost perfect, with cigars being his greatest... Read morePublished 3 months ago by docdiamond