Grant Ulysses S Grant was the first four star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White

  • Title: Grant
  • Author: Jean Edward Smith
  • ISBN: 9780684849263
  • Page: 203
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Ulysses S Grant was the first four star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House As general in chief, Grant revolutionized modern warfare Rather than capture enemy territory or march on Southern cities, he concentrated on engaging and defeating thUlysses S Grant was the first four star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House As general in chief, Grant revolutionized modern warfare Rather than capture enemy territory or march on Southern cities, he concentrated on engaging and defeating the Confederate armies in the field, and he pursued that strategy relentlessly As president, he brought stability to the country after years of war and upheaval He tried to carry out the policies of Abraham Lincoln, the man he admired above all others, and to a considerable degree he succeeded Yet today, Grant is remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president In this comprehensive biography, Jean Edward Smith reconciles these conflicting assessments of Grant s life He argues convincingly that Grant is greatly underrated as a president Following the turmoil of Andrew Johnson s administration, Grant guided the nation through the post Civil War era, overseeing Reconstruction of the South and enforcing the freedoms of new African American citizens His presidential accomplishments were as considerable as his military victories, says Smith, for the same strength of character that made him successful on the battlefield also characterized his years in the White House.Grant was the most unlikely of military heroes a great soldier who disliked the army and longed for a civilian career After graduating from West Point, he served with distinction in the Mexican War Following the war he grew stale on frontier garrison postings, despaired for his absent wife and children, and began drinking heavily Heresigned from the army in 1854, failed at farming and other business endeavors, and was working as a clerk in the family leathergoods store when the Civil War began Denied a place in the regular army, he was commissioned a colonel of volunteers and, as victory followed victory, moved steadily up the Union chain of command Lincoln saw in Grant the general he had been looking for, and in the spring of 1864 the president brought him east to take command of all the Union armies.Smith dispels the myth that Grant was a brutal general who willingly sacrificed his soldiers, pointing out that Grant s casualty ratio was consistently lower than Lee s At the end of the war, Grant s generous terms to the Confederates at Appomattox foreshadowed his generosity to the South as president But, as Smith notes, Grant also had his weaknesses He was too trusting of his friends, some of whom schemed to profit through their association with him Though Grant himself always acted honorably, his presidential administration was rocked by scandals He was the steadfast center about and on which everything else turned, Philip Sheridan wrote, and others who served under Grant felt the same way It was this aura of stability and integrity that allowed Grant as president to override a growing sectionalism and to navigate such national crises as the Panic of 1873 and the disputed Hayes Tilden election of 1876.At the end of his life, dying of cancer, Grant composed his memoirs, which are still regarded by historians as perhaps the finest military memoirs ever written They sold phenomenally well, and Grant the failed businessman left his widow a fortune in royalties from sales of the book His funeralprocession through the streets of Manhattan closed the city, and behind his pallbearers, who included both Confederate and Union generals, marched thousands of veterans from both sides of the war.

    One thought on “Grant”

    1. I picked an interesting moment to read this book. Right now, all across America, people are subverting history to their own political ends. Some - I'm looking at you Rick Perry - are actually advocating succession, as though treason is some kind of joke. Others are wrapping themselves in the banner of our nation's revolutionaries, though I'm pretty sure most of them couldn't tell me the difference between the Battle of Princeton and the Battle of Brandywine Creek for all the tea in their tea par [...]

    2. Jean Edward Smith's Grant is an impressive achievement in biography. Smith is a thorough researcher, thoughtful writer, and a first-class prose stylist. With this biography, he expanded the conventional picture of Grant, revealing him as a heroic figure who was strong, dedicated, resilient and persevering, yet also flawed. Grant was a tight-lipped stoic who seldom showed his feelings – but beneath that shell was a warm and sensitive man with artistic sensibilities, dedicated to his family, loy [...]

    3. I have read other biographies of U. S. Grant, but this ranks very high. The most important difference between this version and others is the more nuanced treatment of his presidency.The book follows a pretty standard path. The guiding theme can be summarized thus (Page 15): "The biography emphasizes the continuity in Grant's life. The common thread is strength of character--an indomitable will that never flagged in the face of adversity."The book adopts a chronological approach: It begins with h [...]

    4. bestpresidentialbios/2014/“Grant” is Jean Edward Smith’s 2001 biography of the eighteenth U.S. president. It was the 2002 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Smith taught at the University of Toronto for 35 years before joining the faculty of Marshall University where he is Professor of Political Science. The most recent of his dozen books are FDR and Eisenhower in War and Peace.Smith’s biography is the most widely read of all the Ulysses S. Grant biographies and with good reas [...]

    5. Ulysses S. Grant may not have been a great president, but he was far better a president than I had ever before recognized, and he was unquestionably a great general, great American, and perhaps a great human being. I don't write off moral shortcomings of historical figures by claiming that "you can't hold them accountable to today's standards" - the heck we can't! We should indeed hold past leaders accountable to today's standards, just as we should have to answer to future generations. But even [...]

    6. What, another one? Yes friends, every time I find a noteworthy biography of Grant, it leads me to another. This is not a recent release; I found it on an annual pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books in my old hometown, Portland, Oregon. I always swing through the American Civil War shelves of their history section, and I make a pass through the military history area as well. I found this treasure, originally published in 2001 when I was too busy to read much of anything. It was a finalist for t [...]

    7. Engaging, it reads more like narrative history than biography. Grant was a man of strong character, modesty,formidable intellect, and rock-solid self-confidence. Although littered with typos, and the fact that many passages actually read almost verbatim like other books on Grant and the Civil War, in all I enjoyed the book.Grant's military genius is indisputable , as is Smith's strong appreciation for it. Some of it was actually simple ( such as that instead of concentrating on the advantages he [...]

    8. This was one of the most enjoyable biographies I've read. This is how biographies should be written: in such a way that the narrative flows and doesn't get bogged down in minutiae; further information about certain events or people mentioned in the main text is supplied through concise & pertinent footnotes. The only thing I regret about this book is that I didn't read it sooner - it sat on my book shelf for over a year!While it was interesting to learn about U.S. Grant and his remarkable li [...]

    9. All he really wanted to be was a mathematics professor. Had the life plan Ulysses S. Grant made while at West Point came true, the world would have never heard of the man who would become our eighteenth president. Moreover, the whole world would have been worse place then it is today. Grant's life is in itself a remarkable story that sparks an interest form the curious: a compassionate man who becomes one of world's most feared generals. Smith brings to life an incredible Grant, one who is so ea [...]

    10. I do not know much about Grant. Well not in the great depth that author, Jean Edward Smith provided in this book. At over seven hundred pages, there is a ton of information. A good portion of the book starts out in very detail about the Civil War and the role and type of leader that Grant grew up to become. This played a strong part later in his life when he would become President. As I stated, there is lots of information in this book. A history buff will enjoy this thoughtful book. If you didn [...]

    11. After reading David McCullough's biographies of Truman and Adams, every other bio I read suffers by comparison. In this case, I feel as though I knew nothing of Grant's relationship with his wife and children. Nor do I understand much about the beginnings of his life. I now understand why McCullough spends so much time on these topics with JA & HT. Smith basically picks up during Grant's time at West Point, at which point he is already an established man. These were two large shortcomings fo [...]

    12. A splendid biography of America’s least-appreciated leader. Like the subject himself, Smith does a masterful job of telling the story without stepping in and inserting himself when unnecessary. A quick and engaging read, you are transported back to the confusion of the first day at Shiloh, the triumph of Vicksburg, the final victory at Appomattox. Smith takes you along nearly in first person perspective through so many familiar battlefields, a refreshing change from many older works on the Civ [...]

    13. This is a really good biography of a great general and an under-rated president. The writing is clear and concise - much like Grant's own writings were. Smith, unlike William McFeely in his earlier biography of Grant, does not engage in psychoanalysis. Grant's boyhood is dispatched with quickly, as is his time spent at West Point. The chapter on the War with Mexico is good - focusing on what Grant learned from Generals Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor, as well as his keen observations of the fe [...]

    14. Sadly, this is another book that sat on my shelf a little too long, and with Ron Chernow’s massive new biography just being published – a book I hope to read in the near future – I thought I’d better get busy reading Jean Edward Smith’s bio of the man who won the Civil War and then went on to be President. And having read it, I must confess to some shame at having too long passed by a great book that gives us an in depth look at Ulysses S. Grant, one that goes against some of the harsh [...]

    15. The very first presidential biography I read was one on Grant when I was ten years old. While historically ranked near the bottom in lists of effective presidents, Grant was the only man re-elected between Lincoln and Wilson. He even came close to being nominated for a third term. What is most surprising is that the presidency was Grant's first forray in elected office. Smith provides a good, readable overview of Grant. However, he falls into the easiest trap for a biography. I can appreicate ad [...]

    16. Ulysses S. Grant has always been one of my favourite Civil War-era historical figures, along with Lincoln and Sherman. I always admired his courage and his honesty, his iron will and determination, his willingness to try unorthodox strategies, and most of all, his magnanimity to his defeated foe at Appomattox.History has remembered him as a truly great general, a man who revolutionized modern warfare, the man who more than anyone else won the Civil War for the Union. But he also been remembered [...]

    17. "Grant" is a wonderful biography of an amazing figure in American history. Jean Edward Smith has written a book that should appeal to everyone, not just history scholars. It is easy to read, flows well, and without a doubt paints a lucid and favorable portrait of Ulysses S. Grant. He was an amazing soldier, a respected president, and a loyal to a fault.Liked: Besides covering his military campaigns and career, Smith expresses clearly and gives the reader a true sense of his personal character, c [...]

    18. General Grant is moving up the ranks as one of my favorite historical people. This was an amazing book covering the full life of Grant from his early days, through the Civil War, his presidency, and his death. The narrative style is superbly done, and you can't help but respect and admire Grant throughout his life. The Civil War years probably take up about half of the book and these were easily the best parts. His presidency is covered topically and while interesting, it is not as fascinating a [...]

    19. Without a doubt, this is one of the most surprisingly good books I've ever come across. I wasn't all that interested in the post-Civil War period in our history. And I know a lot about the war. And we all know Grant was a failure as President. What did I know, or care?I am exactly the kind of person for whom this book is the perfect read. It will blow away any notions you have about Grant, and he will become so real to you that you'll very nearly be able to hear his quiet, honest voice next to y [...]

    20. Very solid telling of General Grant's life. I've read this author before and found his treatment of FDR and Eisenhower to be well balanced and not preachy or suffering from biography worship. The majority of this book however focuses on the civil war which is fine but i was hoping for a bit more on his presidency. I did learn about that time and how many of the scandals that befell his presidency were without his knowledge. A worthwhile read on a forgotten president. His exploits during the civi [...]

    21. Very much enjoyed itJean Edward Smith is a capital biographer and his writing style is lively and engaging. I also really enjoyed FDR by JES. The strongest part of the book for me were the sections devoted to Grant's Civil War record. I thought some of his presidency seemed very glossed over, almost as if he were rushing to finish all though it makes a very compelling case that Grant's presidency was very much underrated and under-appreciated. I would highly recommend the book to anyone who enjo [...]

    22. This well researched, insightfully written biography has introduced me to a man I now consider to have been among our nation's greatest presidents. Again and again I found myself thinking, "Wow! I had no idea." Smith has done a great service for anyone interested in reading about American history in general, and specifically about the difference that a single resourceful and morally courageous individual can make in the course it takes. I highly recommend this book.

    23. This book is well worth a read. Very interesting to read about Grant's successes & his many lesser known failures

    24. "Grant." No subtitle, nothing; the title of Jean Edward Smith's outstanding biography (a Pulitzer finalist) is as straightforward as the man himself. Fortunately, like Ulysses Grant, there is great depth and strength here beneath the seemingly simple exterior.Smith's work is in the middle of a flood of recent Grant biographies, with Ronald C. White's just out in trade paperback and Ron Chernow's coming soon as of this writing. (And there's H.W. Brands' "The Man Who Saved the Union," Bonekemper's [...]

    25. "Lick 'em tomorrow"After reading this biography I have a new found respect for this great general and man who would not quit. There is no question that Grant was a superb leader. The calm, steady, unflagging mentality he brought to the field instilled trust throughout the ranks. Though perhaps lacking the Southern class of Robert E. Lee or the genius of Stonewall Jackson--Ulysses S. Grant more than made up for it by his sheer fight. His directness in battle was often criticized by his peers (goi [...]

    26. I found this a commendable book, but having just read "Team of Rivals" I can see the difference between a good biography an a great one. The first half of the book is the better of the two as it focuses quite deeply on Grant's role in the Civil War. Smith does an excellent job recreating the famous battles and really explaining to the reader the different battle options available and why one course was chosen over another. For those with little military knowledge, this was very helpful.The secon [...]

    27. For some reason, I did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would. The first Jean Edward Smith book I read was his recently published 'Bush' - I was quite impressed with that one but not as much with this one. My feeling after reading it was that it focused too much on his Civil War career. Perhaps that is fitting because the war really does characterize and define Grant in many ways but I personally have a tough time envisioning the nuanced troop movements that Smith writes about in great deta [...]

    28. Jean Edward Smith is perhaps considered the best biographer of presidents and you can see his talents on display in this one. I've wanted to read about Grant for some time and Smith does a great breakdown of his life and times that is thorough but not dense. The chronicling of his Mexican War career taught me a lot about that detestable conflict, as did the Civil War part, the outline of which I knew well but not specifically Grant's role outside of the big battles. The main reason I read this w [...]

    29. Fantastic! Another thoroughly researched, beautifully and clearly composed biography by Jean Edward Smith. Like his work on FDR, Smith's Grant is filled with well-researched and footnote-sourced detail interwoven with Smith's highlighting of Grant's character, clarity of vision and decisive choices, civic values, his impact and importance, as well as his moments of significant set-backs, ineffective choices.Grant was acclaimed and revered for his leadership in the Civil War, twice elected Presid [...]

    30. For me to enjoy military history, the story must be well told. I found the account of Grant's life to be fascinating, and I learned a lot about Reconstruction. The author is clearly admires Grant, but he also recognizes Grant's limitations. He compares Grant's shortcomings as a military leader with those as President. Yet some of Grant's strengths as a military leader are weaknesses in a President. Above all, Grant was a man of principle even though that is not the generally-held impression of h [...]

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