U. S. Grant
is a brilliant, important, and persuasive chronicle of how America's regard for one of its greatest leaders has evolved over the years. It describes superbly how Grant towered over the landscape of the latter part of the 19th century, how his reputation was diminished by revisionist historians during much of the 20th century, and how regard for Grant has begun to revive in recent decades. Joan Waugh provides an invaluable service in describing this evolution, masterfully combining social history and biography in exploring the various aspects of Grant's rise and fall--and rise again--in our public memory."--David H. Petraeus, General, United States Army (Retired)
"The definitive work detailing the eighteenth president's rise and fall in the American narrative."
-The Review of Politics
"It is rare for readers to wish books to be longer, but this, to its great credit, is one such book."
"The best kind of history: it is a search for truth, and one that deserves the widest possible readership."
"Elegant and wonderfully illustrated book. . . .Waugh's immersion in the literature of Civil War memory is considerable; she does not reinvent this historiography but rather pushes it into new territory with her subject. . . .Waugh's contribution is significant. She has fused the discussion of historical memory to biography and military history."
-The Journal of Southern History
"Excellent. . . . [Has] much of value to offer. . . . As those interested in U.S. history, American studies, cultural studies, and the study of historical memory will quickly discover, in this book [Waugh] has done both Grant and us a great and precious service."
-Civil War History
"The first two-thirds of the book are as impressively distilled a brief for Grant as one is likely to find."
-The Journal of American History
"Joan Waugh adds fresh perspective on Grant and fills an important void in the scholarship….Waugh has produced a first-rate work that will go alongside other important books on Civil War memory…"
"An outstanding book. Reminds us that 'cultural wars' are not a recent phenomenon. . . . By insightfully analyzing the myths, emotions, facts, and politics of the public memory of Grant, Waugh demonstrates the critical importance of defining the past."
"A fine book. General readers will find it engaging and enjoyable, and historians interested in the memory of the Civil War will find it essential."
-North Carolina Historical Review
"An impressive study using the techniques of history and memory. . . . Deserves to be at the top of anyone's list, scholar or general reader, interested in the Grant story. . . . Highly recommended."
"Waugh's love for her subject is palpable. Her story of Grant's last years of life, where he raced to complete his Memoirs
before dying, is visceral."
"The publication of this book is a major event in Civil War historiography. . . . Masterfully intertwines historical fact about Grant's life with the development of his reputation. . . . A wonderful book."
-The Journal of Mississippi History
"In an insightful blend of biography and cultural history, Joan Waugh's U.S. Grant
traces Grant's shifting national and international reputation, illuminating the role of memory in our understanding of American history."
"This is a book that should be in any serious Civil War enthusiast's collection. Ms. Waugh writes in flowing prose that makes the pages fly by. There is plenty to learn for the casual reader and more than enough material to satisfy serious scholars of Ulysses S. Grant."
-This Mighty Scourge
"Brings to vivid life a highly contentious political landscape. . . . A readable, worthwhile book which will be interesting to anyone with a desire to learn more about the process of historical memory--and about a forgotten man who deserves to be remembered."
-Journal of Military History
"A well-written and thoroughly researched examination of Ulysses S. Grant's place in public memory. . . . Waugh's enthusiasm for her subject is evident, resulting in an informative and richly detailed study. . . . An invaluable addition to the studies of our eighteenth president."
-Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"Throughout, Waugh's narrative is a sensitive and humane account that reveals the strength of combining biography and history, where the depth available in the former compellingly illuminates the larger trends and issues that define the latter."
-Civil War Book Review
"Engrossing. . . . Grant's full vindication . . . still awaits. But when it comes, we will better understand our complicated history, and historians and citizens will have Joan Waugh to thank for helping to make this belated illumination possible."
-Sean Wilentz, The New Republic
"An excellent, tightly concise but full-life biography of Grant. . . . This is not . . . traditional history, or revisionist history, but rather an exquisite act of recounting and balancing those and other perspectives while drawing them all toward a greater understanding."
-The Weekly Standard
"An engaging study of the making of Ulysses S. Grant's reputation. . . . Waugh convincingly interprets Grant as 'symboliz[ing] both the hopes and the lost dreams' of the Civil War."
"[A] vigorous and highly readable study"
-The Washington Times
"A well researched and scholarly work that Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy. "
"A Washington Post
Critic's Favorite Book of 2009"
"An impressive book that will engage both the general reader intrigued by the American Civil War, as well as scholars interested in questions of memory and commemoration."
-Journal of Illinois History
"Exceptionally thoughtful and valuable. . . . [Written in] clear prose that is readily accessible to the serious general reader. . . . [A] fine study."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Waugh finds an interesting range of answers to a simple question: Who was Grant?"
-The Associated Press
"Brilliant and unsettling. . . . Part biography, part military history, part social chronicle charting the rise and fall of Grant's reputation, U.S. Grant
is a sobering reminder of the vicissitudes of fame. . . . Waugh's well-researched and vibrantly written book . . . restores luster to a lost American hero."
-The Chicago Tribune
"Joan Waugh's eagerly awaited and important book on Grant is original and provocative. She writes with an astute perspective on how each contextual stop along the way in her history of Grant's memory is really all about the politics of that particular moment. This book will make a lasting mark in Civil War history."
-David W. Blight, Yale University