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Ulysses S.Grant


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About the Author

Geoffrey Perret was educated at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. He was enlisted in the US Army for three years and is the author of the acclaimed books Ulysses S. Grant and Eisenhower. He lives in England with his wife.


Often dismissed as a butcher general who won his battles by force of numbers, Grant recently has found favor among historians who appreciate his genius in adapting Americans to modern war. Military historian Perret (Old Soldiers Never Die, LJ 3/15/96) joins the march. He paints Grant as a man of no show but much private passion who won by understanding how armies worked and by using the resources at hand. Perret offers some new information and insight into Grant's private life and character but does not advance much in terms of Grant's generalship, the nature of war, or an understanding of the age. Weak in political and social history but strong on the military side, Perret's readable book does not match up with William McFeely's largely negative biography, Grant (LJ 2/15/87), or Brooks Simpson's adulatory Let Us Have Peace (Univ. of North Carolina, 1991), but it does give a balanced view. For large public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/97.]‘Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia

Perret (Old Soldiers Never Die) regards Grant as the greatest soldier the U.S. has ever seen, and believes that his greatness has been obscured because of the lack of drama in his life. Unlike William Sherman, Grant did not suffer a nervous breakdown midway through the Civil War; unlike Robert E. Lee, he had no crisis of conscience over where his loyalties belonged. He was happily and conventionally married. Even his vices were undramatic: he was a sloppy drunk rather than a brooding alcoholic. Yet Perret's Grant is anything but ordinary. He emerges here as a rustic romantic who never settled down, but instead found his vital center in his personal relationships and in his own sense of identity. Grant was an unobtrusive master of the theory, history and craft of war, but he was unconcerned with showing off his knowledge for his own advantage. Grant knew who he was, and for him that was enough, although this inner directedness made it difficult for even close friends and associates to understand him. At times, Perret overstates his case, arguing that Grant was surrounded by dimwits and lackeys instead of the solid personal and professional supporters that in fact enabled his military talents. Perret's relentless stressing of Grant's wisdom results in an overly sympathetic biography. On balance, however, this volume stands among the finest comprehensive treatments of the man who did more than anyone except Lincoln to restore the Union. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)

" Thanks to Perret's own skill at exposing the inner dynamics of warfare, the reader comes to understand what actually happened on Civil War battlefields. His color-
ful and lucid accounts of military engagements, which constitute the bulk of the book, make Perret a worthy successor to Bruce Catton, James M. McPherson, and others who have captured the drama and tragedy of the Civil War."
--Eric Foner, The New York Times Book Review

" I was impressed by the sweep and power of the narrative. Readers will find a Grant they never before encountered . . . a compelling book."
--John Y. Simon, editor, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant " The Grant that emerges is astonishingly human. . . . In lively prose, Perret delivers a vivid portrait of a resolute man in a tumultuous century, courageously and cease-
lessly moving forward despite any setback."
--The Boston Globe " What distinguishes this narrative are Perret's bristling style and his skillful blend of tactical analysis and conventional biography. . . . Perret persuasively presents a man who endured and conquered all: binge drinking, rivals, false friends, and even the cancer that could not stop him from completing his memoirs."
--Kirkus Reviews Ulysses S. Grant's story is one of the great American adventures. Geoffrey Perret's account, based on extensive research and using new material, offers fresh insights into Grant the commander and Grant the president. Perret describes Grant's innovative military genius and his efforts to lead the rich, industrialized United States as the first modern president. From a frontier boyhood to West Point; from heroic feats in the Mexican War to electoral triumph; from his two-year journey around the world to his final battle to finish his Personal Memoirs; Grant is wholly captured in this absorbing and exciting account. Geoffrey Perret's other books include Old Soldiers Never Die: The Life of Douglas MacArthur and A Country Made by War. He was educated at Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley.

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