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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.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9780525521952
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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I’m writing this post during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope everyone is doing well, both physically and mentally. While library branches are currently closed, the eBook collection is still available! If you find yourself with a lot more free time at home, this post might be helpful to you, as it leans toward genres known for length. I have compiled all the titles in this post, along with a few… (more)

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Jan 07, 2021

Little to add to the detailed praise in other comments, but having just finished the print version I would add that all that praise is well deserved. An incredible, detailed, and yet highly readable account of the man who, with Lincoln, saved the nation. Others have commented on how partisans for the "Lost Cause" myth have maligned him, and how Chernow restores his reputation.

One other comment: Chernow rightly comments that the era of Reconstruction has been forgotten and misrepresented for over a century. "Grant" rips away that veil to show the horrors perpetrated on black citizens by their Southern neighbors. Understanding that history is essential to understanding how it still influences us today.

Jan 05, 2021

From: Michael R Brown and BEST SELLER'SBOOK CLUB our review of author Ron Chernow's epic book titled, "GRANT" impossible to give this title justice! The life and times of Ulysses S. Grant an American Hero, who saved a nation during it's horrible Civil War and then "saved America" as it's President! How did we get here?
"Fake News"! - "Racial Injustice"! - "Corrupt Economies"! and "Citizens In Denial"..!

The Missouri Compromise was a slap in the face for most citizens who couldn't take anymore. The inhuman bondage of 10 million souls, raped, murdered, dehumanized,
and exploited! People who had done nothing wrong except being black, or brown.
"The Life Style of the Rich and Famous was too much to bear and needed to end." The misunderstandings during this period were epic. The Supreme Court decision to allow Kansas to become a free state, while Missouri became a slave state was not a compromise, but a fire starter for progressives and the last straw for 1860!

U. S. Grant a hard working simple man, who checked his ego at the door, had
given up on his military career after being given the worst assignment ever at the end of the American frontier, suddenly founding himself becoming a super-star during the Civil War! The "Southern Way Of Life" versus the "Industrialized North"! U. S. Grant re-joined the military just when America needed him! His value system included hard work, thrifty spending, attention to detail, ending corruption, discipline among troops, and understanding the nature of his enemies. U.S. Grant saw all men as equals at a time when most "White Men" saw themselves as "superior". To be "Superior"... To be unquestioned.... To believe the hype...! To be a white supremacist was just the way it was and considered fashionable in the Southern States.
No one believed a Civil War would last. President Abe Lincoln couldn't believe it could happen in America! (American citizens fight each other, impossible!) It was much later after horrible defeats that President Lincoln discovered that this Civil War was real. Only then did he understand that a "two state solution" was not possible...! U.S. Grant would strengthen President Lincoln and President Lincoln would unleash a "pitbull" on the South, leaving much of it in ashes.

U.S. Grant would again be called upon to save the nation after the murderous assassination of President Lincoln and the disgusting presidency of President Andrew Jackson, (who wanted the war to end in favor of the South) and who caused his own "impeachment!" The first modern president of the United States, a healer,a peace maker, a civil rights activist, a world traveler, a budget balancer, and a job creator who brought 8 years of peace and bound up a nation! His fatal flaw? He was a complete innocent! (who was cheated several times). Too trusting! Too understanding of others corruption! Too forgiving of fools! Too middle-class for political elite! (He was not Harry Truman..)

A heart breaking story of romancing a nation gone wrong! A story of America's past that explains a great deal about where America is today...! A master work of truth that "claps back" on fools calling for civil war today", Ron Chernow has carried the ball for another great score for History!

Appreciated by the entire book club for it excellence in story telling. We all agree,
"GRANT" was worth the read...!

Michael R. Brown. Leader - BEST SELLER'S BOOK CLUB...
Check for upcoming titles at michael brown/ facebook and ghettostone /facebook

Nov 05, 2019

Ulysses S. Grant is a name that resonates with just about every American. A Civil War general and later President of the United States, his name is most often touted alongside some of the other great names that resounds through American history, like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Unlike those two, however, Grant's name has been mired and tarnished owing to the circumstances of the era he lived in. Many Lost Cause adherents have derided him as a drunken butcher, who only brought a Northern victory about in the Civil War because of the nigh-unlimited bodies and resources he had at his fingertips, and have held him up as wanting compared to the 'gallant genius' of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

In more recent decades, however, there has been a growing movement to restore Grant's reputation, to shine a light on his genuine military skill and success, as well as his fervent belief and commitment to equality for the African Americans freed from slavery in the Civil War and through the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and his own personal integrity. Ron Chernow is but one part of this movement, and he wrote an outstandingly well-researched account of this long-misunderstood man.

A well-researched, long account, but do not let its length deter you. Over a thousand pages (or 38 CDs, if you choose that format), and each one as engrossing as the next. Chernow's efforts cover the entire breadth of Grant's life, from his childhood to his first military career, from his woe-begotten days working various menial jobs to his reenlistment on the outbreak of the Civil War, from his rise to prominence as a General who fought against the Confederacy and won (something that was not exactly a normal sight in the early years of the war) to becoming the leader of the entirety of all Union forces that would lead down the road to Appomattox Courthouse and end the war, to his involvement in politics and rise to the Presidency, and to the later years of his life amid the pomp and circumstance of the Gilded Age. Chernow brings all of it to life. He highlights Grant's many successes, both as a general and a politician, but he does not flinch from writing about his failures, many of which stem from his own innate goodness and desire to think well of the people closest to him, no matter how undeserving so many of those people were.

I was engrossed with this book from start to finish. Chernow's style is very easy to stick with, and Mark Bramhall's narration was perfectly on-point. I learned so much about Grant. I had some familiarity with him before reading it, mostly of his military years, but I knew very little about his early life, or his Presidency other than it had been rife with scandal. But Chernow did a wonderful job exploring Grant's presidency in particular, reminding the reader that Grant did a great deal of good during this time, even amid the scandals that also rocked his administration on multiple occasions.

I highly recommend this book. Whether you choose a print copy or an audio, you will learn about one of the most fascinating yet misunderstood figures in American History, and you will enjoy every bit of it.

Feb 23, 2019

Nearly a thousand pages of text. So challenging to finish. But a terrific book. I already knew quite a bit about Grant's background and military career -- or rather two military careers: the rather undistinguished early career in Mexico, Vancouver, and Humboldt -- and the remarkable Civil War years, when he seemed truly indispensable. However, I knew little about the post-war and Presidential years, and some of what I "knew" was wrong. The details of the Reconstruction, when the Confederate states continued their resistance by all means available were especially revealing.

Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2017

Dec 29, 2018

This volume is a massive rehabilitation of Grant, the General, and to a somewhat lesser extent Grant the President. Chernow freely admits Grant's alcoholism, and his failings in bureaucratic and political infighting, as well as his manipulation of the truth while writing memoirs, but frequently refutes individual incidents or charges. The highlights of the picture that emerges include utter and dogged determinism, deep and caring humanity, and even a new side of Grant who Chernow dubs the most progressive American president on civil rights issues before the New Deal.

Dec 06, 2018

Brilliant. Likely Grant is the most underrated, unknown person in American history. He should best be known for keeping the former slaves from being re-enslaved. The ugly residue of slavery still rings loud in the south today. A must-read to understand American history.

Jul 29, 2018

The Wilderness, Vicksburg – like most Americans, I recognize these names from the Civil War, but this wonderful book brought them to life for me. Chernow has written history that reads like fiction, setting the context, describing the people and events, drawing one into the era so that it is very difficult to put the book down, always wanting to read just one more chapter. Considering the 900-plus pages, that was a difficulty that had to be overcome more than once. I was surprised by my emotional involvement, especially in the final chapter, which tells of Grant’s decline and death. This Grant was much more than the man I had previously thought he was. A book definitely worth reading.

Jun 28, 2018

Ron Chernow writes a well researched book on a famous American General and president I didn't really know much about. Emphasizing Grants problem with alcohol that was greatly over blown in the press that was largely controlled and went years hardly touching the drink.

A failure in life before the war and was hardly a businessmen, I believe providence was at work when the civil war broke out and he did what he was best at doing, leading an army.
Not one for showmanship he even apologized to Lee at Appomattox for his appearance with mud caked clothes and boots while Lee was dressed to the nine's.

Grant was often overlooked in a crowded room as he was rather short and unassuming, not one to draw attention to himself. Lincoln didn't know grant was in the same room with him as he was quiet and stood off in a corner whilst the others were seeking attention for themselves.

Jun 16, 2018

I read somewhere that Gen. Grant was an alcoholic. This was the most salient feature mentioned. As for Gen. Lee, in the book of Dale Carnegie, titled: "How To Make Friends And Influence People", Carnegie writes that after the death of the assassinated President Lincoln, a letter was found in his desk drawer, a letter he never sent. In that letter, addressed to Gen. Lee, Lincoln reproached Lee for allowing the South's armies, after beating them in battle, to escape to the other side of a river. Lincoln said: "Now that you allowed them to escape, the war will go on for a long time." Now, what a genius was that Lee, to allow the enemy to escape, instead of destroying it? Carnegie in his book said: "Maybe Lee was tired of seeing so much blood flowing..." Well, I guess Lee was not a dummy or a sensitive soul. He was an agent of those bankers who in fact financed both sides of the Civil War - those bankers wanted the war to go on, and they profited from it. Because this way they drove Lincoln into deep debt, and, as Lincoln was unable to pay his soldiers, those international bankers blackmailed him into passing a bill, allowing those foreign bankers to print the American money and lend it at an interest to the Government. Cornered, Lincoln had the bill passed and so he got a loan of 250M US$ to pay his soldiers. (The bankers could decide, in other occasions as well, who should win wars, by just withholding financing from one side.) Lincoln was known to be planning to revoke the bill, and then, according to many books, the bankers sent an agent, a "lone killer" (Wilkes Booth) to remove Lincoln. Booth escaped and was helped by the bankers to go to England. I guess Lee was a tool in the plot, which gave control of the American money to an international banking group, called "Federal Reserve."

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Jan 15, 2019

Wonderful book, bought for personal library


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