by Ron Chernow
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Grant by Ron Chernow

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594204876
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/10/2017
Pages: 1104
Sales rank: 1,305
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

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 American History Book Prize. A past president of PEN America, Chernow has been the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.


Brooklyn, NY

Date of Birth:

March 3, 1949

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, NY


Yale University; Cambridge University

Table of Contents

Author's Note 13

Introduction: The Sphinx Talks 15

Maps 24

Part 1 A Life of Struggle

1 Country Bumpkin 37

2 The Darling Young Lieutenant 58

3 Rough and Ready 82

4 The Son of Temperance 110

5 Payday 139

Part 2 A Life of War

6 The Store Clerk 179

7 The Quiet Man 205

8 Twin Forts 231

9 Dynamo 261

10 A Glittering Lie 286

11 Exodus 320

12 Man of Iron 348

13 Citadel 382

14 Deliverance 410

15 Above the Clouds 440

16 Idol of the Hour 470

17 Ulysses the Silent 496

18 Raging Storm 521

19 Heavens Hung in Black 550

20 Caldron of Hell 578

21 Chew & Choke 605

22 Her Satanic Majesty 635

23 Dirty Boots 671

24 A Singular, Indescribable Vessel 713

Part 3 A Life of Peace

25 Soldierly Good Faith 747

26 Swing Around the Circle 775

27 Volcanic Passion 809

28 Trading Places 835

29 Spoils of War 862

30 We Are All Americans 888

31 Sin Against Humanity 911

32 The Darkest Blot 934

33 A Dance of Blood 963

34 Vindication 984

35 A Butchery of Citizens 1021

36 The Bravest Battle 1045

37 Let No Guilty Man Escape 1071

38 Saddest of the Falls 1100

39 Redeemers 1125

Part 4 A Life of Reflection

40 The Wanderer 1155

41 Master Spirit 1193

42 A Miserable Dirty Reptile 1216

43 Taps 1241

Acknowledgments 1283

Notes 1291

Bibliography 1451

Illustration Credits 1475

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Grant 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful read! Excellent sentence structure and eminently readable. Love his diction and as a semanticist, his nuanced sentences are not too pedantic, but perfectly syntaxed. Read the 1,000 pages in five days. Thanks, Mr. Chernow. You spent six years researching and writing, I only had to spend five days reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in the style only Ron Chernow could compose this is a meticulously researched book covering a wealth of material encompassing the life of one of the most prolific and underrated presidents it is an easy read with great continuity and gripping facts including details that shed light on a polarizing figure in American history...well done Mr. Chernow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Certainly one of the best books of the year .
BKLaw More than 1 year ago
A great over all view of Grant. A very interesting read providing a comprehensive history of the man.
Mel-Loves-Books 12 days ago
Ulysses S. Grant is not a man I will soon forget. I admittedly knew a minimum amount about Grant before starting this book, but the more I read the more fascinated I became. He was a complex man, who had struggles, but sacrificed and brought a great deal to our country. I loved reading about all sides of this man and his life. The book was never dry or boring. There was a lot of detail, but it was presented in insightful and interesting ways. I give this book 5 full stars and recommend it to any person interested in history, or Grant specifically.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Well worth the read. A bit slow at times and too much time spent on how he worked to control his drinking. Go out and buy it.
Anonymous 9 months ago
scottydback 12 months ago
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Anonymous 11 months ago
I did not like the narrator of the audiobook.
RicoRB More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago