Grant - Ron Chernow


By Ron Chernow

  • Release Date: 2017-10-10
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 91 Ratings


The #1 New York Times bestseller.

Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review.

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 shows 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.

Named one of the best books of the year by Goodreads • Amazon • The New York Times • Newsday BookPage Barnes and Noble • Wall Street Journal

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    By juliusa
    Based on all the five star reviews I gave this a go. It is 500 pages too long in my opinion. Do we really need to know every time Grant picked up a glass to drink, or speculate how Lincoln may have stood with his hands behind his back fuming in his office? Not sure how much of this is real and how much is fluff. Grant is made to look like a hero of some sort, yet history says otherwise. Sorry, but despite all the hype this was a long slog with littel payoff. There has been better written on the subject.
  • Very Enlightening

    By mtdNJ
    This book provides great insight into Grant, the person. While I always knew he was a great general, I had very little understanding of Grant as a person outside the Civil War. The book also opened up my eyes to the political situation that Blacks and Grant had to contend with during Reconstruction. It was a tragedy the way Blacks were treated post Civil War through the Civil Rights movement after WWII. I used to think if only Lincoln had lived, but now I am not so sure if Lincoln could have done much better than Grant. Southern society was simply not willing to accept Blacks on any terms other than as inferior to whites.
  • Excellent

    By Mikoltz
    Wonderful detail of the life of US Grant. Fascinating read!! Mkoltz
  • Eye opening!

    By NY Taxdog
    I really had no idea of Grant’s backstory. Of being forced out of the army and struggling in civilian life. He really was a man where the times came to him. Unusual, or impossible in this day and age.
  • Superb!

    By drrogerb
    A beautifully written testament to a man often forgotten. It should be required reading for all students of American history as well as most citizens of this country.