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Ulysses S. Grant (American Presidents)

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Ulysses S. Grant (American Presidents) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well.

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter-the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grant's term in office, as Josiah Bunting III shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and nearly driven from office, and the radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the Southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grant's terms in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task-very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, and he was a better president than he is often given credit for.

Review:

"This study is among the best in the notable series of short presidential biographies presided over by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. While recent biographers have taken a more sympathetic view of Grant than formerly, Bunting goes further to show that Grant possessed that rarest quality among American presidents: nobility of character. He acknowledges Grant's youthful tippling and the defects of his presidency. But as a veteran military officer himself, Bunting (An Education for Our Time) captures Grant's brilliance as a strategist, his quiet compassion, his firm judgment and his humanity as the Union's principal military leader. Then, where other historians hold Grant's administration responsible for many of the failures of Reconstruction, Bunting believes Grant was in his era 'the central force in the achievement of civil rights for blacks, the most stalwart and most reliable among all American presidents for the next eighty years.' What's more, Bunting does as good a job as possible in making sense of Grant's difficult presidency. If at times the author excuses Grant too much for his handling of scandal and for the consequences of his unwavering loyalty to friends, his defense is well within the bounds of credibility. This superb book should support those who are gradually moving Grant from the lower to the upper half of rankings of chief executives. Agent, Tina Bennett. (Sept. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Bunting's Grant rehabilitates a reputation commonly besmirched with scandal, and also, in Grant's case, with drunkenness and military butchery....[This is] a richly written blow against ill-informed historical cynicism." Booklist

Review:

"A splendid, short-form introduction to Grant's life and career." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms—the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lees surrender at Appomattox, the man who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter—the most common word used to characterize it is “scandal.” Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grants term in office, as Josiah Bunting shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and the Radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states back into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grants term in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task—very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, he was also a better president than he is often given credit for.

Synopsis:

The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter-the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grant's term in office, as Josiah Bunting III shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and nearly driven from office, and the radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the Southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grant's terms in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task-very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, and he was a better president than he is often given credit for.

Josiah Bunting III is a former army officer who for eight years served as superintendent of his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute. His other books include The Lionheads, The Advent of Frederick Giles, An Education for Our Time, and All Loves Excelling. He serves currently as chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Delaware. He lives with his family in Newport, Rhode Island.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is the preeminent political historian of our time. The recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Humanities Medal, he published the first volume of his autobiography, A Life in the Twentieth Century, in 2000.

Ulysses S. Grant is commonly remembered as a general of fierce determination and strategic visionthe military leader who turned the tide of the Civil War and led the Union armies to victory, and who showed magnanimity and vision at Appomattox. His presidency is another matter. Here, the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth in the world of politics, whose eight years in office were without useful achievement and whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to plunder.

But this assessment, Josiah Bunting III argues, is both caricature and cliché. Grant came to Washington in March 1869 to lead a country still bitterly divided by the legacy of the Civil War. Andrew Johnson, his predecessor, had been impeached and almost driven from office, and radical Republicans in Congress had imposed harsh conditions on the states of the former Confederacy. Grant committed himself to reunite and reforge the Union, and to resurrect and strengthen Abraham Lincoln's greatest legacy: full citizenship for the former slaves and their posterity. In these missions he succeeded.

Bunting shows that Grant's presidency has been undervalued for generations; only now are his achievements being recognized for what they are.

"Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written."—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review

"I am fascinated by U.S. Grant for several reasons. First, because he seems to me the essential American of his time: a Westerner by birth and a doer, not an explainer; independent; inner-directed; always resourceful in adversity; canny and wise. Second, because his abilities were tested both as a military and a political leader of the Republic. Third, because with but two exceptions no American president faced more formidable challenges at his inauguration then Grant. Last, because generations of historians, out of bias or prejudice, have condescended to him and have generally gotten him all wrong."—Josiah Bunting III on Ulysses S. Grant
 
"Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written."—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] perceptive, well-written brief [study] . . . Understandably pays more attention to Grant's White House years [than his military service, and thus] probably puts Grant's life into more accurate perspective . . . Deeply sympathetic to Grant the human being . . . [The author] clearly (and properly) admires him . . . Bunting, who served in Vietnam and later was superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, says that 'Grant was willing to make decisions and live with their consequences, sustained, as William Tecumseh Sherman once said, by a constant faith in victory . . . Grant understood how to get men to do what he wanted them to do, and this quality led him to the victories that propelled him to his early fame' . . . [Bunting's book] analyses [Grant's presidency] far more thoroughly than [the recent biography by Michael] Korda does . . . [Bunting also] argues that 'after the war, during Reconstruction, and in the eight years of his presidency, Grant's commitment to the freedom of black Americans—and the hard-won privileges and rights of citizenship that such freedom implied for all Americans—sustained his work to preserve these gains long after most citizens in the North had lost interest in them or had given in to an indulged exasperation with their costs and difficulties' . . . The evidence leaves little doubt that Bunting is right."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

"Bunting's book, part of the American Presidents series, presents a more detailed portrait [than Michael Korda's biography of Grant does] in equally polished prose."—Mark Dunkelman, The Providence Journal

"Bunting's Grant rehabilitates a reputation commonly besmirched with scandal, and also, in Grant's case, with drunkenness and military butchery. Grant did drink too much—almost exclusively, however, when, after the Mexican War, he was stationed on the West Coast, far from his family. Grant waged war with unstinting force, which Bunting says was necessary against an enemy fighting on their home ground; this led to increased Union losses, but Confederate casualty rates were greater. Finally, neither Grant nor most of his officials were involved in any contemporary scandals, some of the biggest of which were congressional or entirely extragovernmental. He was a gifted, fearless soldier; a politician more dedicated to black citizenship and welfare than any other in the wake of Lincoln; a fiscal conservative; a humanitarian toward the Indians; the author of the finest memoirs by a public figure in American literature; and, at home and abroad, the most beloved American of his time. [This is] a richly written blow against ill-informed historical cynicism."—Ray Olson, Booklist

 
"Grant was renowned as a hero and savior of the Union in his day. Yet modern historians are likely to recall him as a president who barely survived one scandal after another. Call it a profile in courage: in this contribution to Arthur Schlesinger's American Presidents series (and the best written of the 32 volumes to have appeared thus far), novelist and historian Bunting attempts to rescue Grant from 'the clichés of the Grant Myth' by examining their origins . . . A splendid, short-form introduction to Grant's life and career."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

A Rhodes Scholar and a decorated army officer, Josiah Bunting III served in Vietnam and was superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute for eight years. He is the author of the novels All Loves Excelling, The Lionheads, The Advent of Frederick Giles, and An Education for Our Time. Bunting is also a classical pianist and a long-distance runner. He lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805069495
Editor:
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
Publisher:
Times Books
Author:
Bunting, Josiah, III
Author:
Rohan, Richard
Author:
Bunting, Josiah
Author:
Schlesinger, Arthur M.
Author:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
United States - Reconstruction Period (1865-1877)
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Grant, Ulysses S
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Biography-Presidents and Heads of State
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Times
Series:
American Presidents
Series Volume:
2
Publication Date:
20040931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 cds, 3.5 hours
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
1 in.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » US History » 1860 to 1920
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency

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Product details 208 pages Times Books - English 9780805069495 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This study is among the best in the notable series of short presidential biographies presided over by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. While recent biographers have taken a more sympathetic view of Grant than formerly, Bunting goes further to show that Grant possessed that rarest quality among American presidents: nobility of character. He acknowledges Grant's youthful tippling and the defects of his presidency. But as a veteran military officer himself, Bunting (An Education for Our Time) captures Grant's brilliance as a strategist, his quiet compassion, his firm judgment and his humanity as the Union's principal military leader. Then, where other historians hold Grant's administration responsible for many of the failures of Reconstruction, Bunting believes Grant was in his era 'the central force in the achievement of civil rights for blacks, the most stalwart and most reliable among all American presidents for the next eighty years.' What's more, Bunting does as good a job as possible in making sense of Grant's difficult presidency. If at times the author excuses Grant too much for his handling of scandal and for the consequences of his unwavering loyalty to friends, his defense is well within the bounds of credibility. This superb book should support those who are gradually moving Grant from the lower to the upper half of rankings of chief executives. Agent, Tina Bennett. (Sept. 8)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written."
"Review" by , "Bunting's Grant rehabilitates a reputation commonly besmirched with scandal, and also, in Grant's case, with drunkenness and military butchery....[This is] a richly written blow against ill-informed historical cynicism."
"Review" by , "A splendid, short-form introduction to Grant's life and career."
"Synopsis" by ,
The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms—the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lees surrender at Appomattox, the man who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter—the most common word used to characterize it is “scandal.” Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grants term in office, as Josiah Bunting shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and the Radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states back into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grants term in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task—very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, he was also a better president than he is often given credit for.

"Synopsis" by ,
The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter-the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grant's term in office, as Josiah Bunting III shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and nearly driven from office, and the radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the Southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grant's terms in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task-very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, and he was a better president than he is often given credit for.

Josiah Bunting III is a former army officer who for eight years served as superintendent of his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute. His other books include The Lionheads, The Advent of Frederick Giles, An Education for Our Time, and All Loves Excelling. He serves currently as chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Delaware. He lives with his family in Newport, Rhode Island.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is the preeminent political historian of our time. The recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Humanities Medal, he published the first volume of his autobiography, A Life in the Twentieth Century, in 2000.

Ulysses S. Grant is commonly remembered as a general of fierce determination and strategic visionthe military leader who turned the tide of the Civil War and led the Union armies to victory, and who showed magnanimity and vision at Appomattox. His presidency is another matter. Here, the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth in the world of politics, whose eight years in office were without useful achievement and whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to plunder.

But this assessment, Josiah Bunting III argues, is both caricature and cliché. Grant came to Washington in March 1869 to lead a country still bitterly divided by the legacy of the Civil War. Andrew Johnson, his predecessor, had been impeached and almost driven from office, and radical Republicans in Congress had imposed harsh conditions on the states of the former Confederacy. Grant committed himself to reunite and reforge the Union, and to resurrect and strengthen Abraham Lincoln's greatest legacy: full citizenship for the former slaves and their posterity. In these missions he succeeded.

Bunting shows that Grant's presidency has been undervalued for generations; only now are his achievements being recognized for what they are.

"Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written."—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review

"I am fascinated by U.S. Grant for several reasons. First, because he seems to me the essential American of his time: a Westerner by birth and a doer, not an explainer; independent; inner-directed; always resourceful in adversity; canny and wise. Second, because his abilities were tested both as a military and a political leader of the Republic. Third, because with but two exceptions no American president faced more formidable challenges at his inauguration then Grant. Last, because generations of historians, out of bias or prejudice, have condescended to him and have generally gotten him all wrong."—Josiah Bunting III on Ulysses S. Grant
 
"Vivid, enjoyable, and well-written."—Kevin Baker, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] perceptive, well-written brief [study] . . . Understandably pays more attention to Grant's White House years [than his military service, and thus] probably puts Grant's life into more accurate perspective . . . Deeply sympathetic to Grant the human being . . . [The author] clearly (and properly) admires him . . . Bunting, who served in Vietnam and later was superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, says that 'Grant was willing to make decisions and live with their consequences, sustained, as William Tecumseh Sherman once said, by a constant faith in victory . . . Grant understood how to get men to do what he wanted them to do, and this quality led him to the victories that propelled him to his early fame' . . . [Bunting's book] analyses [Grant's presidency] far more thoroughly than [the recent biography by Michael] Korda does . . . [Bunting also] argues that 'after the war, during Reconstruction, and in the eight years of his presidency, Grant's commitment to the freedom of black Americans—and the hard-won privileges and rights of citizenship that such freedom implied for all Americans—sustained his work to preserve these gains long after most citizens in the North had lost interest in them or had given in to an indulged exasperation with their costs and difficulties' . . . The evidence leaves little doubt that Bunting is right."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

"Bunting's book, part of the American Presidents series, presents a more detailed portrait [than Michael Korda's biography of Grant does] in equally polished prose."—Mark Dunkelman, The Providence Journal

"Bunting's Grant rehabilitates a reputation commonly besmirched with scandal, and also, in Grant's case, with drunkenness and military butchery. Grant did drink too much—almost exclusively, however, when, after the Mexican War, he was stationed on the West Coast, far from his family. Grant waged war with unstinting force, which Bunting says was necessary against an enemy fighting on their home ground; this led to increased Union losses, but Confederate casualty rates were greater. Finally, neither Grant nor most of his officials were involved in any contemporary scandals, some of the biggest of which were congressional or entirely extragovernmental. He was a gifted, fearless soldier; a politician more dedicated to black citizenship and welfare than any other in the wake of Lincoln; a fiscal conservative; a humanitarian toward the Indians; the author of the finest memoirs by a public figure in American literature; and, at home and abroad, the most beloved American of his time. [This is] a richly written blow against ill-informed historical cynicism."—Ray Olson, Booklist

 
"Grant was renowned as a hero and savior of the Union in his day. Yet modern historians are likely to recall him as a president who barely survived one scandal after another. Call it a profile in courage: in this contribution to Arthur Schlesinger's American Presidents series (and the best written of the 32 volumes to have appeared thus far), novelist and historian Bunting attempts to rescue Grant from 'the clichés of the Grant Myth' by examining their origins . . . A splendid, short-form introduction to Grant's life and career."—Kirkus Reviews

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