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The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peaceby H W Brands
Synopses & Reviews
From respected historian John S. D. Eisenhower comes a surprising portrait of William Tecumseh Sherman, the Civil War general whose path of destruction cut the Confederacy in two, broke the will of the Southern population, and earned him a place in history as the first modern general.” Yet behind his reputation as a fierce warrior was a sympathetic man of complex character.
A century and a half after the Civil War, Sherman remains one of its most controversial figures—the soldier who brought the fight not only to the Confederate Army, but to Confederate civilians as well. Yet Eisenhower, a West Point graduate and a retired brigadier general (Army Reserves), finds in Sherman a man of startling contrasts, not at all defined by the implications of total war.” His scruffy, disheveled appearance belied an unconventional and unyielding intellect. Intensely loyal to superior officers, especially Ulysses S. Grant, he was also a stalwart individualist. Confident enough to make demands face-to-face with President Lincoln, he sympathetically listened to the problems of newly freed slaves on his famed march from Atlanta to Savannah. Dubbed no soldier” during his years at West Point, Sherman later rose to the rank of General of the Army, and though deeply committed to the Union cause, he held the people of the South in great affection.
In this remarkable reassessment of Shermans life and career, Eisenhower takes readers from Shermans Ohio origins and his fledgling first stint in the Army, to his years as a businessman in California and his hurried return to uniform at the outbreak of the war. From Bull Run through Shermans epic March to the Sea, Eisenhower offers up a fascinating narrative of a military genius whose influence helped preserve the Union—and forever changed war.
"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. The first infused Grant's military leadership with decisiveness, confidence in his own judgment, and a usually well-calculated willingness to gamble men's lives on risky maneuvers. The second inspired his presidency to a principled and effective support of the rights of freedmen in the South (sometimes at bayonet point) that politically consolidated the war's fragile verdict. Unfortunately, Grant's judgment failed him on business matters, from bad horse trades in his youth to the loss of his fortune in old age to a Wall Street ponzi scheme — and failed the nation's economy when his tight money policies exacerbated the depression of the 1870s. This new biography by University of Texas — Austin history professor Brands (Traitor to His Class) is comprehensive but well-paced and vividly readable; his 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 — though except for a wartime outburst of anti-Semitism, later repented, which the author relates — with a keen mind, stout character, and unpretentious manner. The result is a fine portrait of the quintessential American hero. Photos. Agent: req. (Oct. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From New York Times bestselling 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's 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 bestseller; 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.
About the Author
H. W. BRANDS is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and again for Traitor to His Class. His website is www.hwbrands.com.
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