From New York Times best-selling author H. W. Brands, a masterful biography of the Civil War general and two-term president who saved the Union twice, on the battlefield and in the White House, holding the country together at two critical turning points in our history.
Ulysses Grant rose from obscurity to discover he had a genius for battle, and he propelled the Union to victory in the Civil War. After Abraham Lincoln's assassination and the disastrous brief presidency of Andrew Johnson, America turned to Grant again to unite the country, this time as president. In Brands' sweeping, majestic full biography, Grant emerges as a heroic figure who was fearlessly on the side of right. He was a beloved commander in the field but willing to make the troop sacrifices necessary to win the war, even in the face of storms of criticism. He worked valiantly to protect the rights of freedmen in the South; Brands calls him the last presidential defender of black civil rights for nearly a century. He played it straight with the American Indians, allowing them to shape their own fate even as the realities of Manifest Destiny meant the end of their way of life. He was an enormously popular president whose memoirs were a huge best seller; yet within decades of his death his reputation was in tatters, the victim of Southerners who resented his policies on Reconstruction. In this page-turning biography, Brands now reconsiders Grant's legacy and provides a compelling and intimate portrait of a man who saved the Union on the battlefield and consolidated that victory as a resolute and principled political leader.
©2012 H. W. Brands; 2012 Random House Audio
"Once again, H. W. Brands has crafted a wonderful portrait of a great leader who endured and prevailed in hours of stress and strain. Brands' U. S. Grant is a compelling figure, a man too often overlooked by history. This book rectifies that with grace and insight." (Jon Meacham, author of American Lion, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for biography)
"This authoritative biography of an obscure failure and occasional drunkard who became a Civil War generalissimo and the 18th U.S. president is a study in two kinds of moral courage.... [Brands'] narrative of Grant's military campaigns in particular is lucid, colorful, and focused on telling moments of decision. His Grant emerges as an immensely appealing figure...with a keen mind, stout character, and unpretentious manner. The result is a fine portrait of the quintessential American hero." (Publishers Weekly)
"Too frequently overshadowed or overlooked, U. S. Grant finally gets his due in H. W. Brands' splendid new biography. With verve and his trademark scholarship, Brands vividly brings Grant to life. Here, rendered in all his humanity, is the soldier, statesman, president. Here, too, is a man as much for our time as for his." (Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval)
Yes if they have 27 hours to listen.
The whole story was memborable as I knew nothing of his life.
A genuinely caring and calm voice. much as l you would have imagined a great leader to sound.
When he talked about meeting Lincoln and how much he respected him.
Made me want to learn more about the civil war time period and what followed for the country.
The core of Grant's Civil War years are well known from the many excellent Civil War book (Caton, McPherson, Foote, etc.) and Brands provides a good run-through of that here. There is not much about his very youth, and a smattering of West Point. The new (for me) information begins with details of courting Julia Dent, pre-Mexican War, the Oregon years, Galena IL, Rawlins and Washburn, through Belmont. There is an unexpected but welcome digression for background on Sherman.
Most welcome is discussion of the Reconstruction years, about which so very little is available in popular writings. Coverage of the Presidential years are for the same reason much valued in this book.
Stephen Hoye is one of my "go to" narrators. Every word clearly pronounced, and generally even levels of volume and pitch. These are essential for listening against background noise, and for retention of non-fiction information. (As contrasted with a reading of "Night Terror of the Swamp Monsters" where some emotionalism is expected.) In this book, Hoye's rendition is sometimes overly "emotional," for which I subtracted one star. But we forgive you, Stephen. The book is that good.
It was tough going and I had to stop listening to it but after the war started it became very interesting. I enjoyed learning about the General and I do think his scandals where overblown and his accomplishments as President were undervalued. This biography helped me understand all of this, in detail. The performance was just fine. Not sure how it could have been improved but it did seem to "drone" on and on. It was the book that kept me listening and perhaps the performer was trying to accomplish this by his performance overshadowing the story.
Civil War buffs can fill in some necessarily tangential areas; those not as familiar will learn a great deal.
Economical yet superb treatment of his presidency.
Not written on a 5th grade level as one complained but rather sharply and mercifully written in plain English, free of jargon and bloated prose.
It was not. I have read Shelby Foot's three volume civil war masterpiece. I have read two other US Grant biographies, one being his own autobiography. And of course watched the Civil War documentary by Mr. Foote, I mean Burns... I even listened to the online and free lectures from Yale University. All those I listed contained insight and emotions that moved me and only got me more interesting
I learned absolutely nothing new from this entire book. No insights into his personality and more than that at least a third of the book is about other people... Sherman, Lincoln, and Grant etc. Written on a fifth grade level, I would let my teenage nieces and nephews and the like read it as an introduction. But if one has any kind of working knowledge of the US Civil War, I believe one would be disappointed like I was.
I could not find one part interesting or uninteresting. The book reads like a shopping list... Grant was born. Grant loved horses and was a good rider. Grant goes to West Point. Grant leaves the army after the US and Mexican war. Grant had troubles with money.The Civil War happens and Grant re-joins the army. Grant is the most successful Union General and 'wins' the war. He becomes President. He trusts people and does not do that great of a job. Grant after two terms leaves the presidency. He travels around the world. Grant comes back to the US and struggles with money. Grant writes his autobiography so his family has money after he is gone. The end.
I find a lot of things in common with U.S Grant the more I read about him. He was honest and sincere and loved his wife and children. On his farm he named his animals. He trusted people too much and in the political world often looked like a fool because of that. So of course it is Mr. Grant. With this book I gained no new insight into a man I respect.
No. Please, no. Biographies I believe are best when they have some insight into a woman or man's character and are not just a list of the human being's actions, which this book is. Again, for a young woman or man as an introduction to the president this book may facilitate a general understanding of the man on a completely superficial and plot based version of a man's life.
If one wants to understand the man better, which is why I believe we read biographies, his personal memoirs bring so much more to enlighten a reader to the man's insides. Again, if you even have a general understanding of the American Civil War, have seen the documentary more than once, or read Foote's brilliant retelling of the war, reading this book will just be a lesser re-hash of information you already know. That was my experience and if you disagree I wholeheartedly accept that and will listen to your points with an open mind. I just know not how that conversation could take place in the world of fire and forget reviews. Thank you for reading!
TOO MANY AUDIBLE BOOKS YET TO HEAR.
ALL OF H. W. BRANDS WORKS; HE LIVES AND TEACHES HERE IN AUSTIN.
MAKES IT MORE INTERESTING.
I DO A LOT OF WORK ON MY LAWNS AND GARDENS; WHILE I WORK, I LISTEN.
WAITING FOR THE NOVEMBER CROP OF NEW MYSTERY THRILLERS.
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