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H. W. Brands - The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace 96 kbps, Unabridged, Read by Stephen Hoye http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-man-who-saved-the-union-h-w-brands/1110782551 Library Journal Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and two-term president, has been the subject of much historical scholarship, with historians often awarding Grant higher praise for his military than his political career. In this extremely sympathetic portrait, Pulitzer finalist Brands (Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History, Univ. of Texas at Austin; Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) treats Grant's entire life, showing its full arc. He breaks with earlier interpretations to give Grant good marks for his presidential leadership, concluding that Grant did the best he could in trying circumstances, particularly in the area of civil and minority rights. VERDICT This is a well-researched and comprehensive studyΓÇömuch broader in scope than, e.g., Edward H. Bonekemper's Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor, Not a Butcher: The Military Genius of the Man Who Won the Civil WarΓÇöas well as an engaging book. Essential for both popular readers and scholars. Kirkus Reviews An unabashed admirer of the great Civil War general portrays the most unlikely, reluctant American hero since George Washington. While there are moments of frustrating small-picture detail to veteran biographer Brands' (The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr, 2012, etc.) book, his portrayal of his subject's essential humanity proves truly compelling. The author sticks to Grant's own words, through letters and contemporary records, rather than relying on what later historians wrote. Since Grant was so unassuming and unprepossessing, this can be a torturous exercise. From his initial reluctance to consider himself a candidate for West Point, to his taking up farming in Illinois and business out of desperation to support a growing family, largely relying on filial indulgence and always uncomfortable managing his wife's slaves, Grant never displayed a sense of self-confidence, except in handling horses. The breakout of the war saved Grant from drifting, and he was soon swept up in preparing his local militia in Galena, Ill., where he was employed in his family's business. In his methodical fashion, Brands shows how Grant's quiet proficiency continually caught the attention of his superiors. His ability to organize, discipline and inspire his men gained him swift promotions and earned him accolades in a series of signal battles, especially Vicksburg. Though President Lincoln doubted some of his strategies, Grant was the general that Lincoln needed ("[H]e makes things git! Where he is, things move!" Lincoln declared), and with William Sherman as Grant's right-arm scourge, the Rebels were ground into the sea. Brands also considers Grant's reputation for drinking, his deep devotion to his wife, his aversion to speech-making and politics and his moral center. A direct, engaging approach to Grant's life that would have pleased him.
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