A dramatic portrait of one of America's most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant, by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow, author of the book on which the astonishing musical Hamilton is based. As late as April 1861, when the American Civil War broke out, Ulysses S. Grant was a dismal failure.
A competent officer in the war against Mexico, he had resigned from the army over his drinking and had sunk into poverty as a civilian, losing all his money in hopeless investments. He had failed to secure the command of a volunteer unit and was about to return to his abject life working in his family's leather-goods store when he was offered the colonelcy of an Illinois regiment. Less than four years later he was the commanding general of the victorious Union armies and was hailed as a military genius. He later served two terms as President of the United States.
This is the epic biography of a very unheroic American hero, a modest, reticent and principled man who surprised the world and changed it for the better.
About the Author
Ron Chernow is the million-copy bestselling author of Alexander Hamilton, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include the Pulitzer prize-winning Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Washington: A Life, nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.
'Undoubtedly the best biography of this deeply flawed man ... Chernow has produced a captivating book' The Times.
'As history, it is remarkable ... This book's greatest service is to remind us of Grant's significant achievements at the end of the war and after' International New York Times.
'A superb, compelling biography that redefines the alcoholic failure who became Abraham Lincoln's victorious general and a fine president' Simon Sebag Montefiore.
'Chernow rewards the reader with considerable life-and-times background, clear-eyed perspective, sympathy that stops short of sycophancy, and gritty and intimate details' Boston Globe.
'Chernow's 1,100-page biography may crown Grant's restoration ... Mr Chernow argues persuasively that Grant has been badly misunderstood' The Economist.
'A fascinating and comprehensive biography ... At a time of economic inequality reflecting the 19th century's Gilded Age and a renewed threat from white-supremacy groups, Chernow reminds us that Grant's courageous example is more valuable than ever, and in this sense, Grant is as much a mirror on our own time as a history lesson' New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017.
'A sensitive and nuanced account of a talented man struggling with addiction, at a time when American society was awash with alcohol, but pitiless towards alcoholics ... [He] is expert at explaining the friendships and antipathies of elite American politics' Guardian.
'Brings an eloquent voice to the ongoing work of rehabilitation [with] his rich, lively and well-paced narrative ... Grant could not have asked for a better or more winning advocate' Literary Review.
'Chernow is a great writer, a great historian, and, specifically, a great biographer. His book Grant is a gift' , Book of the Year.
'Chernow's genius lies in his unparalleled mastery of storytelling. Quite simply, he is a biographer's biographer who sets the standard for others to follow' Spectator.
'Reveals a far more readable life than Hamilton, heretical though that may be' Irish Examiner.
'[Chernow] restores him to the pantheon of great soldier-presidents ... a select company to which he has always rightfully belonged' History Today.
'[Chernow] is an indefatigable researcher with a wonderfully readable narrative style' TLS.
'[This book] is superbly written about a man labelled incompetent, a philistine, a boor and a drunkard, but who changed history' Irish Independent.
'While there have been numerous biographies of Grant [...] this is perhaps the best-researched and well-written volume of all' Military History Monthly, Book of the Month.
'A masterful combination of research and style' Signature.
'What a man! What a life!' Spectator.