by Ron Chernow


by Ron Chernow


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Notes From Your Bookseller

One of the kings of historical biographies takes on one of the most misunderstood historical figures. Ulysses S. Grant is known for a great many things but Ron Chernow is here to set the record straight and ensure that readers know what the Union general turned President of the United States was really all about.

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 CoatesThe Atlantic

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143110637
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Pages: 1104
Sales rank: 15,778
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.50(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Ron Chernow is the prizewinning author of six previous books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton—the inspiration for the Broadway musical—won the George Washington Book Prize. A past president of PEN America, Chernow has been the recipient of eight honorary doctorates. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.


Brooklyn, NY

Date of Birth:

March 3, 1949

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, NY


Yale University; Cambridge University

Table of Contents

Author's Note 13

Introduction: The Sphinx Talks 15

Maps 24

Part 1 A Life of Struggle

1 Country Bumpkin 37

2 The Darling Young Lieutenant 58

3 Rough and Ready 82

4 The Son of Temperance 110

5 Payday 139

Part 2 A Life of War

6 The Store Clerk 179

7 The Quiet Man 205

8 Twin Forts 231

9 Dynamo 261

10 A Glittering Lie 286

11 Exodus 320

12 Man of Iron 348

13 Citadel 382

14 Deliverance 410

15 Above the Clouds 440

16 Idol of the Hour 470

17 Ulysses the Silent 496

18 Raging Storm 521

19 Heavens Hung in Black 550

20 Caldron of Hell 578

21 Chew & Choke 605

22 Her Satanic Majesty 635

23 Dirty Boots 671

24 A Singular, Indescribable Vessel 713

Part 3 A Life of Peace

25 Soldierly Good Faith 747

26 Swing Around the Circle 775

27 Volcanic Passion 809

28 Trading Places 835

29 Spoils of War 862

30 We Are All Americans 888

31 Sin Against Humanity 911

32 The Darkest Blot 934

33 A Dance of Blood 963

34 Vindication 984

35 A Butchery of Citizens 1021

36 The Bravest Battle 1045

37 Let No Guilty Man Escape 1071

38 Saddest of the Falls 1100

39 Redeemers 1125

Part 4 A Life of Reflection

40 The Wanderer 1155

41 Master Spirit 1193

42 A Miserable Dirty Reptile 1216

43 Taps 1241

Acknowledgments 1283

Notes 1291

Bibliography 1451

Illustration Credits 1475

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