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Grant Paperback – September 17, 2002
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Clearsightedness, along with McFeely's unfailing intelligence and his existential sympathy...informs his entire biography. -- Justin Kaplan, The New Republic
Combines scholarly exactness with evocative passages....Biography at its best. -- Marcus Cunliffe, New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
Actually Grant was one of the most exquisitiely sensitive men ever born and was nothing like the 'butcher' that McFeely describes. However, the research in the book is oustanding and there are very few factual errors to be found. This contrasts markedly to Geoffrey Perret's recent 1997 Grant biography, which contained inaccuracies on nearly every page. McFeely is most solid in the period of Reconstruction, though he is usually overly prone to criticize the hapless Grant. Throughout many chapters, it seems the General can't buy a break.
McFeely's greatest admiration for Grant is contained in two areas of his life: his family relationships, specifically his loving marriage to wife Julia, and his abilities as a writer. McFeely leaves no doubt that he regards Grant's 1885 Memoirs as one of the great books ever written and the best part of this biography is in explaining the processes Grant used to produce such a masterpiece, while dying of throat cancer.
With its flaws and uneven treatment of Grant, McFeely's book cannot be considered definitive, but it is still the only complete biography of Grant written in the past 30 years. Perret's limping entry isn't even in the same league as this book, in accuracy, writing or research. To sum up: overly critical, but a must read for Civil War buffs.
--T.J. Stiles, author of IN THEIR OWN WORDS: ROBBER BARONS AND RADICALS
In his quest for objectivity, I think McFeely has overstepped his bounds just a bit. He greatly downplays Lincoln's affection for Grant, claiming that the President was never quite sure if he could trust the general. Early on, this may have been true, but the fact is that Lincoln many times defended Grant when rumors came to his ear, saying he liked Grant because "he fights." Also, McFeely calls Grant's wilderness campaign a "hideous disaster," and insinuates that Grant did not care much about the colossal loss of life at Cold Harbor. The overwhelming fact about the Wilderness Campaign is that it was, indeed, very costly in terms of human life. Still, Grant got things done. He defeated Lee--something McClellan and the other commanding officers could not do. Grant did what he had to do, terrible though it was.
Still, these are matters of opinion, and the book remains a wonderful treatment of Grant. One of the things I like most is that is gives equal treatment to all aspects of Grant's life, not just the Civil War. I learned a great deal about the Grant administration, which is usually regarded as one of the most corrupt in our nation's history.Read more ›
If this book is worthy of a Pulitzer, then I trust my next grocery shopping list will earn me a Nobel Prize for Literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just awful! Deliberate, flagrant mischaracterization of the man. Despicable the way he described Grant's feelings after Wilderness and Cold Harbor battles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rebecca Alcantara
did not like it he blamed everone for his problems that he bought on himeself were was to blame but did not like his constant companing
McFeely's interpretation of Grant could not be more wrong-headed, snarky or mean-spirited. It is an example of the absurdity of prizes and the ignorance of prize juries that this... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Liz Diggs
Having just finished this "definitive" biography of Grant, I was stunned to learn that the author won a Pulitzer Prize for this work. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Paul H.
This is a great book. The detail and conclusions Prof. McFeely reaches show the quality of his research. It totally deserves the Pulitzer Prize he received for it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eugene L. Dubow
I bought this book when it came out and started it with gusto, but the more I read the less I liked it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Eric Lee Smith