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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Saved the Union is a splendid HW Brands biography of General Ulysses S. Grant, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace (Hardcover)
"The Man Who Saved the Union" is a new biography by Dr. H.W. Brands. Brands is a professor of history at the University of Texas who is a prolific chronicler of the great men of American history. Among his many bestseller popular biographies are oones on the lives of Benjamin Franklin; Andrew Jackson; Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This new book is a wonderful edition to his oeuvre. Brands writes with clarity, deep understanding of his subject and an encyclopedia mastery of primary sources. This book on Grant is the kind of biography which could spark a young person's love of history and the role of heroic figures in our nation's history.
Grant was born on April 27, 1822 in a small village in southern Ohio. His father Jesse was a tanner. Jesse used his influence to win Grant appointment to West Point as a cadet. The lad graduated in 1843 being known there more for his equestrian skills than academic plaudits in the classroom. Grant served under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War. He later served in lonely posts in the West where he had a propensity to face life in an alcoholic haze. Grant wed Julia Dent the daughter of a Missouri slaveholder. The couple had a wonderful marriage and there children did well in life. Son Fred even graduated from West Point. Daughter Nellie married a British aristocrat! When the Civil War began Grant was working in his father's tanning shop in Galena, Illinois. His past attempts as a farmer and real estate agent in St. Louis had not done well.
Grant won fan in the Civil War. His Western victories at Belmont; Forts Henry and Donelson; Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga won him the attention of President Lincoln who called the little Ohioan east to take on Robert E. Lee in the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the siege of Petersburg and the triumph campaign of Appomattox. Grant and his loyal subordinates William Sherman and Phillip Sheridan broke the back of the Confederacy and led to Federal victory in the bloody Civil War.
Grant was elected President of the United States in 1868 serving two terms as chief executive. During his term:
a. Grant worked for the passage of the 14th Amendment granting African-Americans status as citizens
b. Grant was pro Native American working for reform in the Indian Bureau.
c. The Alabama claims were settled with Great Britain and peace prevailed during his presidency.
d. His efforts to annex the Dominican Republic did not succeed.
e. Grant supported the Cuban insurgency against Spain which was not successful.
f. Though Grant was personally honest his adminstration suffered charges of corruption.
g. An economic Depression ravaged the nation durin much of his tenure.
h. Grant waged a war against the Ku Klux Klan in the South where he sought to make reconstruction a success. Racial inequality would continue to plage the nation long after his administration had eneded.
Grant and Julia toured the world following his presidency. He died of throat cancer but not before completing his famous autobiography whose sales ensured financial security for his family. Grant was aided in his publishing of the book by his friend Mark Twain.
U.S. Grant is one of this reviewer's heroes. He was a quiet and brilliant man who rose from the depths of obscurity to become one of our nation's greatest generals. His story is well told in this Brands biography. Excellent and recommended!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 13, 2012 8:19:01 PM PDT
Henry Cohen says:
This sentence has an error: "Grant won fan in the Civil War."
Also, the 15th Amendment didn't give African-Americans status as citizens; the 14th Amendment did that. The 15th Amendment gave them the right to vote.

Posted on Mar 21, 2013 9:44:01 AM PDT
I love to learn new words. Oeuvre sent me to my dictionary (online of course). Thanks.
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