• by Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • 48 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.
Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow sows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.
Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and, despite distinguished service in the Mexican War, he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant's military fame translated into a two-term presidency but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members.
More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him "the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race". After his presidency he was again brought low by a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, only to resuscitate his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre.
With lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as "nothing heroic...and yet the greatest hero". Chernow's probing portrait of Grant's lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America's greatest biographer bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant, is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant's life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.


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Customer Reviews

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A captivating historical narrative, supported with a vast body of first-hand notes, letters, military orders, newspaper columns, witness accounts and reminisces. Clearly Grant has been resurrected from the dust bin of history and placed rightfully in the limited pantheon of great American presidents. The author systematically refutes the Southern narrative so dominant in the 20th century with an incisive view of Grant's life, not only during the Mexican War, peacetime failure, and the Civil War but more importantly in the often mis-represented Reconstruction Era and dawn of the Gilded Age. There is some occasional repetition and the author generally fawns over his subject while accurately detailing his struggles with alcohol and his overly trusting weakness for scurrilous assistants and business associates . A first class rebuttal of Grant the general and president. The narration is superlative with a artful mix of accents and intonation needed to give life to the range of characters, from Robert E. Lee and Mark Twain to Queen Victoria and Otto von Bismarck, among many, many others.
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- PDQ925

Incredible Biography!!

This is an incredible biography and the flow was perfect to keep my attention wanting more! This biography shows the untold story of one of American true heroes. It also reflects on the changes in America after the Civil War that continues to this day!
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- Charles Ryan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio