A major new biography of the Civil War general and American president, by the author of the New York Times bestseller A. Lincoln. The dramatic story of one of America's greatest and most misunderstood military leaders and presidents, this is a major new interpretation of Ulysses S. Grant. Based on 7 years of research with primary documents, some of them never tapped before, this is destined to become the Grant biography of our times.
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A New Campaign to Reasses Grant
Compelling, Penetrating, Fair
White has enough confidence in his research and ultimately his discernment to render the story in a straight-forward manner that might have pleased its subject. White doesn't besiege the reader with footnotes, counterpoints or what-ifs, instead placing the reader in that time and place, with Grant.
The breakout towards Jackson during the Vicksburg Campaign. White is able to capture the intensity and pressures bearing down on Grant, and when, at last, Grant's forces move east when their target lay west, the reader gains a sense of Grant's audacity, nerve and will.
I am very familiar with the details of Grant's life and times from other biographies and histories. Yet there is cumulative power in White's writing and his description of Grant's last "campaign" at the close of his life was more moving than any other treatment I had encountered.
Any author attempting a comprehensive biography of such a momentous figure has to make choices about length and depth of detail. White's concentration is on the prominent figures on the Union side, and there is a nutshell quality to his descriptions of Grant's adversaries (even Lee). Ultimately that's a justified treatment of the vanquished. White briefly discusses Grant's long banishment into the historical wilderness, as his reputation declined and languished after his death, but White misses an opportunity to explore the context of the ongoing struggle by many to preserve the most imperfect aspects of the United States that led to the war and which continue to trouble the nation on the low boil. The most eye-opening aspect of the book was the depth of Grant's commitment to the rights and protection of the freedmen. If he was late getting there, his absolute, unshakable resolve on this point caused me to seriously reassess his presidency, and gave me a greater appreciation of his remarkable character.
An Absolutely Superb Work
- Michael J. Nardotti, Jr.