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Book Overview: Grant

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

The #1 New York Times bestseller and New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

"Eminently readable but thick with import . . . Grant hits like a Mack truck of knowledge." --Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

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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PublisherPenguin Books
Publication Date2018-09-25
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Ron Chernow is a renowned American author and biographer acclaimed for his penchant for crafting comprehensive profiles of historical figures and his deep immersion into the American past. His writing, often rooted in exhaustive research, brings history alive, with a particular focus on the lives of the United States' founding fathers and notable American financial figures. Chernow's body of work, including seminal biographies on figures ranging from Alexander Hamilton to John D. Rockefeller, has yielded numerous best-selling books and considerable critical acclaim. His deep commitment to documenting history in an engaging and accessible manner culminated in his receipt of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2011 for "Washington: A Life." However, Chernow's most popular contribution to date is his biography of Alexander Hamilton, the basis for the award-winning Broadway musical, "Hamilton." Born in Brooklyn in 1949, Chernow studied English Literature at Yale University and later earned a degree in Modern European History from Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. His academic background, adept storytelling ability, and nuanced understanding of complex historical eras have cemented his place as one of the most respected biographers in contemporary American literature.

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