Grant by Ron Chernow

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Ron Chernow’s 1,100-page biography may crown Grant’s restoration. The author of defining books on George Washington and Alexander Hamilton—the latter formed the basis for a hit Broadway musical, after Lin-Manuel Miranda read it on holiday—Mr Chernow argues persuasively that Grant has been badly misunderstood.
-The Economist

Synopsis

The #1 New York Times bestseller.

Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review.

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
 

About Ron Chernow

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Ron Chernow is the prize-winning author of five previous books. His first, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published October 10, 2017 by Penguin Press. 1098 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 07 2018
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Critic reviews for Grant
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Duchschere on Oct 06 2017

Chernow’s gracefully written biography, which promises to be the definitive work on Grant for years to come, is fully equal to the man’s remarkable story.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Bill Clinton on Oct 12 2017

This is a good time for Ron Chernow’s fine biography of Ulysses S. Grant to appear, as we live with the reality of Faulkner’s declaration, “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Oct 10 2017

Chernow’s indispensable book, which attempts to see Grant’s life as a triumph, is also steeped in tragedy.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Padraic Scanlan on Dec 06 2017

Chernow, the author of acclaimed biographies of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton (the latter inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical), is expert at explaining the friendships and antipathies of elite American politics. He is less nuanced when explaining the wider social and economic forces at work in American life in the 19th century.

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The Economist

Good
on Oct 05 2017

Ron Chernow’s 1,100-page biography may crown Grant’s restoration. The author of defining books on George Washington and Alexander Hamilton—the latter formed the basis for a hit Broadway musical, after Lin-Manuel Miranda read it on holiday—Mr Chernow argues persuasively that Grant has been badly misunderstood.

Read Full Review of Grant | See more reviews from The Economist

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