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Preeminent Civil War historian Bruce Catton narrows his focus on commander Ulysses S. Grant, whose bold tactics and relentless dedication to the Union ultimately ensured a Northern victory in the nation's bloodiest conflict.
While a succession of Union generals - from McClellan to Burnside to Hooker to Meade - were losing battles and sacrificing troops due to ego, egregious errors, and incompetence, an unassuming Federal Army commander was excelling in the Western theater of operations. Though unskilled in military power politics and disregarded by his peers, Colonel Grant, commander of the Twenty-First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was proving to be an unstoppable force. He won victory after victory at Belmont, Fort Henry, and Fort Donelson, while brilliantly avoiding near-catastrophe and ultimately triumphing at Shiloh. And Grant's bold maneuvers at Vicksburg would cost the Confederacy its invaluable lifeline: the Mississippi River. But destiny and President Lincoln had even loftier plans for Grant, placing nothing less than the future of an entire nation in the capable hands of the North's most valuable military leader.
Based in large part on military communiqués, personal eyewitness accounts, and Grant's own writings, Catton's extraordinary history offers listeners an insightful look at arguably the most innovative Civil War battlefield strategist, unmatched by even the South's legendary Robert E. Lee.
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By Jonathan and Mary Kennedy on 06-14-18
A follow up to Lloyd Lewis's Captain Sam Grant, Bruce Catton focuses on Ulysses Grant during the first two years of the American Civil War--from his becoming a Colonel of Volunteers all the way to the fall of Vicksburg. In that time, Grant is consistently underestimated by his superiors.
Unlike Chernow's gradle-to-the-grave biography, this books does spend too much time on Grant's drinking. Yes, it is established that Grant left the Army in disgrace because of his love of liquor, and Catton quickly dispels such stories as rumor. Whether they were or not is irrelevant, as Catton is more focused on the War. He doesn't get much into the politics of the era, except where necessary, but that is neither a benefit, nor a hindrance, to the work.
All-in-all, this is a book well worth the time.