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Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President (Modern Library Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

Geoffrey Perret
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

An acclaimed biography of Ulysses S. Grant traces the life of the Civil War general and eighteenth president of the United States and assesses his major accomplishments.

Editorial Reviews Review

Ulysses S. Grant worked with Red Cloud, chief of the Lakota Sioux, to create an arguably more humane Indian policy--"no president could have done more," argues Geoffrey Perret, whose reassessment of Grant as a politician is his biography's finest achievement. Not that he scants his subject's military genius; the relentless, aggressive campaigns that won the Civil War are skillfully outlined and analyzed. Grant emerges in this nuanced portrait as a quintessential American: he is depicted as a restless rover perpetually in search of "movement, drama, adventure." Firmly situated in his time, he nonetheless seems a strikingly modern man.

From Library Journal

Often dismissed as a butcher general who won his battles by force of numbers, Grant recently has found favor among historians who appreciate his genius in adapting Americans to modern war. Military historian Perret (Old Soldiers Never Die, LJ 3/15/96) joins the march. He paints Grant as a man of no show but much private passion who won by understanding how armies worked and by using the resources at hand. Perret offers some new information and insight into Grant's private life and character but does not advance much in terms of Grant's generalship, the nature of war, or an understanding of the age. Weak in political and social history but strong on the military side, Perret's readable book does not match up with William McFeely's largely negative biography, Grant (LJ 2/15/87), or Brooks Simpson's adulatory Let Us Have Peace (Univ. of North Carolina, 1991), but it does give a balanced view. For large public and academic libraries.
-?Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6605 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (April 23, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002DNZGF6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the very best biographies that I have ever rea November 22, 2000
This is one of the very best biographies that I have ever read. In addition to being written in a lyrical prose, it offers a much needed corrective to the withering, and unfair, historical portrait that Grant has been stuck with. Let's face it, here's what most of us know about Grant: he didn't do much at West Point, was a failure in business, drank his way through the Civil War, winning only because he was willing to kill his own soldiers, oversaw one of the most corrupt Presidential administrations ever and died. The most important previous biography, William McFeely's Pulitzer Prizewinning Grant (1981), took a sufficiently negative view of Grant that it did little to change, and even reinforced, these received truths. Like almost all misrepresentations in History, there are kernels of truth in the portrait, but it leaves out much and Perret is able to convincingly challenge much of the rest of it.
Missing from that portrayal are Grant's fundamental decency as a man, his exemplary service in the Mexican War, his genuine strategic insight and at times nearly prophetic foresight (as when he offered to have a Cabinet member put his personal wealth in a blind trust), and his authorship of perhaps the best book written by a U. S. President (only Teddy Roosevelt can really challenge for the title), one of the great books of the 19th Century, his Personal Memoirs. Perret gives each of these the full treatment that it deserves and Grant's exceptional character and his control over his emotions and ego run like a leit motif throughout the book.
Perhaps more importantly, Perret takes on each of the negative characterizations that has accrued to Grant's reputation over the years.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of history's most enigmatic personalities. February 18, 2001
This life of Grant is written with grace and verve and it sweeps the reader along from the first page - indeed it is hard to see how any single volume biography could accomplish more. At the end of it however - as at the end of all writings on and by Grant - one is still left bemused by the contradictions in this ostensibly simple, but in reality enormously complex personality. Grant did no less than win the most complex war yet fought by humanity, managing (a word that immediately comes to mind in regard to Grant) in the process unprecedented numbers of troops and mastering the deployment of new weapons systems - such as the river gun-boats - that emerged during the conflict. His tactical abilities grew to cope with exponentially rising sizes of forces and his strategic thinking was distinguished by clarity, courage and ruthlessness. His leadership was such as to carry both officers and men with him in acceptance of brutal solutions to terrible dilemmas. His embodiment of the Churchillian ideal of magnanimity in victory laid the foundations for the re-United States. Few men have carried such a heavy burden with such decency and generosity: power did not make him arrogant nor success dehumanise him. The Mexican War had already given indications of these qualities and yet after it Grant lapsed into virtual failure and demoralisation. The section of this book dealing with the years immediately preceding the Civil War are painful to read, offering an almost too-close insight into the near despair of a decent man unable - perhaps too proud - to find a role in a thrusting, money-grubbing and cut-throat civilian society. Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relax! It's Not That Bad! August 14, 2000
You know, many people love to read about History, but we all can't be such incredible experets like our fellow critics here at Amazon. Do you like a great story? Well this one is for you. You don't have to be "Mr. Historian" to enjoy it, and you're not lost in the sometimes tedious and yawn-prevoking details history can provide. This is about an intriging real-life character named Ulysses Grant. What an incredible adventure through the 1800's his life was. The book flows and give you an idea of the type of person Grant was and the time in America he grew up in. The author is certainly a fan of Grant, but does point out all his shortcomings. Bottom line, if you're starting to get to know the Civil War, Mexican War, Lincoln and that time period in History, then you'll enjoy seeing some of it through the eyes of Ulysses Grant. Read the book, you'll like it. I've read many Civil War books and biographies and I did. You can always go back later after you've read the other 45 Grant books and say how much you hated it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Great Ulysses June 13, 2000
I greatly enjoyed this one volume account of Grant's life, though I found the flippant prose to a little unsettling for a work of history. Author Perret is genearlly sympathetic to his subject (even Grant's presidency, which he concludes was no worse than numerous others from the nineteenth century). In a few spots, I found Perret's generalizations to be a bit too general. Nevertheless, the writing is lively and highly readable. For that I would recommend this book to anyone with a general interest in American History, especially the Civil War period. Grant remains a somewhat misunderstood figure. This book at least helps to provide his memory with some clarity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars U S Grant - Soldier & President
Thank you so much for the efficiency sending this book to me. I loved it, very good book, now resides in my library of over 1600 books. Karen
Published 12 months ago by Karen
4.0 out of 5 stars Why the vehemence?
I consider the Amazon reviews of this book more telling than the book itself! Seems like there are just some people utterly determined to hate, detest, and malign U.S. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by J. R. Neumiller
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor, give it a wide berth
I cannot but agree wholeheartedly with all the perceptive reviewers who have given this book a low rating. Read more
Published on August 30, 2010 by Erik
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Grant bio out there
Bio's of Grant get no better than this fine book. A truly balanced book...a real rarity especially considering the plethora of Civil War trash available.
Published on March 6, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Ulyssis S Grant - a Soldier and President
I ordered the book for my husband. General Grant is one of his favorite military history figures.
Published on September 22, 2009 by Ruth Mcdougall
3.0 out of 5 stars Lee Couldn't Hold a Candle to Him
By far the finest field commander produced by the North or South during the US Civil War, US Grant saved the Union and delivered our country as we know it today. Read more
Published on December 9, 2007 by Michael E. Fitzgerald
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, workmanlike biography of U. S. Grant
He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822 (how he became Ulysses S. Grant is a story in itself). This book, by Geoffrey Perret, is a good workmanlike biography of Grant. Read more
Published on July 12, 2007 by Steven A. Peterson
1.0 out of 5 stars Facts? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Facts!
This book is truly an astonishing piece of work. Considering its grotesque factual errors and bizarre misreadings of source material (more than I have ever seen in a single work... Read more
Published on July 9, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Biography
There are already several reviews of this book printed here, with which I agree heartily, so I'll keep my comments brief. Perret's "Ulysses S. Read more
Published on March 12, 2003 by L. Byzewski
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography by American Military Historian Adds Perspective!
Geoffrey Perret's previous work, "A Country Made By War," which is a general military history of the United States, gives him the background to put the military career of... Read more
Published on August 28, 2002 by Q. Publius
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