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Ron Chernow Penguin, Oct 10, 2017 - Biography & Autobiography - 1104 pages 12 Reviews The #1 New York Times bestseller.

New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

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 Preview this book »

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User Review  - Jthierer -

I appreciate that Chernow was trying to push back on characterizations of Grant as a drunk and a butcher, but at times he goes to far in trying to prove that Grant was not those things that he ignores ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - haloedrain -

There are lots of interesting tidbits here, but the book is pretty exhaustive so there are lots of other bits that make me wonder why anyone ever wrote about them in the first place for the author to include. The tone of the book is strange, too, excessively defensive and almost fawning at times. Read full review

Selected pages

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A LIFE OF STRUGGLE 19 A LIFE OF 113 A Glittering Lie 195 Exodus 221 Man of Iron 242 Citadel 268 Deliverance 289 Above the Clouds 312 Ulysses the Silent 355 Raging Storm 374 Heavens Hung in Black 396 Caldron of Hell 417 Chew Choke 4 38 460 Dirty Boots 487 A Singular Indescribable Vessel 519 A LiFE OF PEACE 545

MoreIdol of the Hour 335 Copyright


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Ron Chernow
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Limited preview - 2017
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About the author (2017)

Ron Chernow is the prizewinning author of six previous books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton—the inspiration for the Broadway musical—won the George Washington Book Prize. A past president of PEN America, Chernow has been the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic information

Title Grant Author Ron Chernow Edition illustrated Publisher Penguin, 2017 ISBN 052552195X, 9780525521952 Length 1104 pages Subjects History  › United States  › Civil War Period (1850-1877)

Biography & Autobiography / Military
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
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