American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant (Hardcover)

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November 8th.  Election Day.  No, not 2016 but 1864.  If there ever was a need of a hero to help Abraham Lincoln gain a 2nd term, Ulysses S. Grant was it.  A rather uncivil war was raging.  The country was torn apart at the seams -- with its fate hanging in the balance.

Grant was living proof that heroism can spring from the most unlikely places.  Born next to nowhere in the American western frontier, Grant -- the little "tanner boy" -- lucked into an appointment to West Point, where he graduated 21st in a class of 39 students.  His personal invisibility as "a quiet man" and dislike for self-promotion, unlike so many others around him, molded him a man of uncommon character.  The Mexican War and defensive stints in Panama taught him leadership... and off he rode into life.
 
At every turn, Grant proved a talent for bringing people together in the most complicated situations to succeed .  How?  He was a brilliant and selfless strategist.  He could erase shortcomings, look through walls, imagine all scenarios on the fly, deal with dilettantes and smash adversaries -- simultaneously.  Rivals sought to paint him as a sot.  (While he was assuredly not.)  Where other generals proved inept, Grant bulldozed his forces through enemies who scattered around him.  He knew how to fight.  And if one could use the word "decency" in the same sentence as "war", Grant was in the room.
 
U.S. Grant was an unlikely candidate to become a hero.  He was only 5'8" in height.  Quiet, even pensive.  His normal attire was scruffy at best.  His somewhat plain wife for life was even a bit cross-eyed -- but Grant never saw her in a bad light.  Coming from homes with slaves, he matured to be passionately against slavery and unjust treatment of Native Americans.  The oppressed became his cause throughout life -- although he was surrounded by so many others who cared less.
 
If Grant had a fault, he trusted his loyal friends too much.  After the Civil War and when he was President, temptations of wealth ate away at morals of men close to him -- and resulted in tarring Grant himself.  He dabbled with shysters who lured him into what turned out to be "get poor quick" investments.  And he spent his waning days perilously close to poverty.  Fortunately, one devoted friend was Mark Twain -- who saw greatness in Grant and convinced him to write a memoir which was finished on Grant's death bed in 1885.
 
When he died, a column of mourners accompanied his body through New York City -- stretching seven miles long.  Today, he doesn't get "his due"... particularly in these times when we need legitimate heroes.  So, be a hero, read this book -- even though its over 650 pages.  Hey, it's apt to be a long winter.

— Bob Wells

Description


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America’s greatest generals—and most misunderstood presidents

Winner of the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography • Finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Military History Book Prize

In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the “Trinity of Great American Leaders.” But the battlefield commander–turned–commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.

Based on seven years of research with primary documents—some of them never examined by previous Grant scholars—this is destined to become the Grant biography of our time. White, a biographer exceptionally skilled at writing momentous history from the inside out, shows Grant to be a generous, curious, introspective man and leader—a willing delegator with a natural gift for managing the rampaging egos of his fellow officers. His wife, Julia Dent Grant, long marginalized in the historic record, emerges in her own right as a spirited and influential partner.

Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government’s policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs. Published by Mark Twain, it is widely considered to be the greatest autobiography by an American leader, but its place in Grant’s life story has never been fully explored—until now.

One of those rare books that successfully recast our impression of an iconic historical figure, American Ulysses gives us a finely honed, three-dimensional portrait of Grant the man—husband, father, leader, writer—that should set the standard by which all future biographies of him will be measured.

Praise for American Ulysses

“[Ronald C. White] portrays a deeply introspective man of ideals, a man of measured thought and careful action who found himself in the crosshairs of American history at its most crucial moment.”USA Today

“White delineates Grant’s virtues better than any author before. . . . By the end, readers will see how fortunate the nation was that Grant went into the world—to save the Union, to lead it and, on his deathbed, to write one of the finest memoirs in all of American letters.”The New York Times Book Review

“Ronald White has restored Ulysses S. Grant to his proper place in history with a biography whose breadth and tone suit the man perfectly. Like Grant himself, this book will have staying power.”The Wall Street Journal

“Magisterial . . . Grant’s esteem in the eyes of historians has increased significantly in the last generation. . . . [American Ulysses] is the newest heavyweight champion in this movement.”The Boston Globe 

“Superb . . . illuminating, inspiring and deeply moving.”Chicago Tribune

“In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior.”Newsday

About the Author


Ronald C. White is the author of three bestselling books on Abraham Lincoln, including most recently A. Lincoln. White earned his Ph.D. at Princeton and has lectured on Lincoln at hundreds of universities and other organizations, and at Gettysburg and the White House. He is a Fellow at the Huntington Library and a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum of Washington, D.C. He lives with his wife, Cynthia, in La Cañada, California.

Praise For…


“White delineates Grant’s virtues better than any author before. . . . By the end, readers will see how fortunate the nation was that Grant went into the world—to save the Union, to lead it and, on his deathbed, to write one of the finest memoirs in all of American letters.”—T.J. Stiles, The New York Times Book Review

“Ronald White has restored Ulysses S. Grant to his proper place in history with a biography whose breadth and tone suit the man perfectly. Like Grant himself, this book will have staying power.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Superb . . . illuminating, inspiring and deeply moving . . . The Grant we meet in American Ulysses is richly deserving of a fuller understanding and of celebration for the man he was and the legacy he left us.”Chicago Tribune

“American political thinking has a way of coalescing around concepts that hold the public’s attention for a time, then fade. ‘Temperament,’ for example, is on many tongues this election season, after years of not being much on anyone’s mind. That may be why [American Ulysses] seems especially relevant. . . . [Ronald C. White] portrays a deeply introspective man of ideals, a man of measured thought and careful action who found himself in the crosshairs of American history at its most crucial moment.”USA Today

“Magisterial . . . Grant’s esteem in the eyes of historians has increased significantly in the last generation. . . . [American Ulysses] is the newest heavyweight champion in this movement.”The Boston Globe 

“A game-changing biography . . . of one of the most consequential figures in American history.”The Christian Science Monitor

“In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior. . . . [Grant] deserved better from posterity, and from White he gets it.”Newsday

“With American Ulysses, White has made a bold new case for immediate reconsideration of its subject on many levels. . . . His effort more than pays off with a fresh, detailed look at a man who, in his lifetime, saw a medal cast with the images of Washington, Lincoln and himself. And that’s pretty damn good company.”Houston Press
 
“A fresh, friendly reassessment [of the] . . . military hero who became his country’s leader.”The Dallas Morning News

“Ronald C. White has written a biography for the ages.”Real Clear Books

“Certain to be recognized as the classic work on Ulysses S. Grant, American Ulysses is a monumental examination of one of the most compelling figures in American history.”—General David H. Petraeus (Ret.)
 
“In this thorough and engaging new book, Ronald C. White restores Ulysses S. Grant to the pantheon of great Americans. As a soldier and a president, Grant rendered his nation invaluable service, and White’s epic biography is invaluable as well.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author
 
“A fresh assessment of this enigmatic leader, who, like his Homeric namesake, failed at many things before he succeeded in life. . . . . [White] ably [portrays] a sense of the transformation of his subject from civilian to soldier and, from there, to reluctant hero. . . . An engaging resurrection of Grant featuring excellent maps and character sketches.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A remarkable biography of a remarkable life . . . [White’s] style is fluid and engaging. . . . His mastery of history is clear on every page.”Publishers Weekly
 
“This thoughtful and sympathetic portrayal will be appreciated by Civil War enthusiasts and readers of presidential history alike.”Library Journal

“[A] necessary and large-scale reevaluation of one of America’s greatest—and most underappreciated—presidents.”Brooklyn Magazine

“Bestselling author and historian Ronald C. White combines exemplary scholarship and storytelling in this monumental and well-illustrated re-evaluation of an extraordinary character, life and career. . . . [An] inspiring biography.”Shelf Awareness

“White at last solves the Grant Enigma—reconciling in character and ability the hero of Appomattox with the (allegedly) failed president. This is the biography that Grant deserves.”—Richard Norton Smith, former director of the Lincoln, Reagan, Eisenhower, Ford, and Hoover presidential libraries
 
“Ronald C. White is a master biographer, and his American Ulysses is the beautifully told culmination of a major revival of Grant studies; rarely has an epic life met so fruitfully with its talented author.”—David W. Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: A Life
 
“In the generations after his death in 1885, Grant’s reputation as a general and president spiraled downward until a current generation of biographers and historians has persuasively resurrected it. American Ulysses represents a culmination of that process.”—James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
 
“Ronald C. White’s superb new study of Ulysses S. Grant completes the vindication of one of the greatest Americans. More than biography, American Ulysses is a revelation.”—Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy
 
“With this sweeping, exhaustively researched biography, Ronald C. White has done justice to the remarkable life and turbulent times of Ulysses S. Grant.”—Joan Waugh, author of U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth
 
“Ronald C. White’s extensive earlier work on Lincoln prepared him to capture Lincolnian elements in Grant that many have missed: quiet charisma, measured confidence, concern for equal rights, and unusual literary skill. White’s own writing talent makes this book impossible to put down.”—Richard Wightman Fox, author of Lincoln’s Body
 
“This refreshingly new comprehensive study of a genuine American hero rises above overworked analyses of Ulysses S. Grant.”—Frank J. Williams, president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association

“No one reading this marvelously researched and superbly written book will ever again be able to see U. S. Grant as other than a great person.”—John F. Marszalek, executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association’s Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library
Product Details
ISBN: 9781400069026
ISBN-10: 1400069025
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 864
Language: English