Best biography of Ulysses S. Grant?

O' Be Joyful

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:wink: Happy to take the hint!

In fact, it's definitely worth it's own thread.

Any help, at the same time, is greatly appreciated :D

Another thought, I would enjoy seeing Scaturro's efforts concentrated in one thread, in more detail.

And, @GrantCottage1885 would likey be able to add much value as well. :smile:
 

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James N.

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Here you go James.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1568331320/?tag=civilwartalkc-20

As well as a search of the archives where Scaturro's work has been commented upon.

https://civilwartalk.com/threadloom/search?query=Frank Scaturro&tab=207
Ah, I see... Since it's about President Grant rather than General Grant (or "both" of them) that explains my ignorance of the author. (Nothing wrong with that, by the way; I just tend to gravitate toward the military side of things.)
 
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I was surprised to see this one is 20yrs old already, making the Chernow and Simpson biographies more recent. Which also makes me wonder sometimes what more there is to add! I'm guessing they're dealing in different ways with the different aspects of Grant's life, and sometimes not even all the aspects of his life. Right now I am finding Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity an easy and enjoyable read which has definitely given me more insights into Grant. And plenty of fodder for new threads as well :smile:
With 32 volumes in The Papers of U.S. Grant and many more Grant-related documents swimming around there certainly should be "more to add." It's certainly one thing that makes studying Grant interesting, that there is an abundance of material to provide fresh perspective on him. One reason I am disappointed with most US Grant biographies is because of the scope of the project they are trying to cover they are forced to gloss over and often fail to provide enough perspective. There is also a lot of repetition of themes, sometimes unsubstantiated or misleading, within the biographies. Grant led a complex life through a transformative period in American history. Like many people of the era, his perspectives changed with the times and through experiences. Perpetuating misleading generalizations for the sake of entertainment and expediency only serves to diminish a true understanding of the man.

Frank Scaturro is a knowledgeable Grant researcher and President of the Grant Monument Association. He led efforts in the 1990's to restore Grant's Tomb in NYC. His book on Grant's Presidency is well-focused and therefore more effective. I'm happy to say we are arranging a panel discussion at Grant Cottage in August with Frank as one of our panelists this year. The basis of the discussion is separating myth from reality in regard to US Grant, should be a good program. As usual we will try to broadcast the event on Facebook Live with the permission of the participants.

Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity and Let Us Have Peace have been great resources for my research as well. Simpson approaches his work in a healthy way and it results in more balanced, objective work.

Of course I am biased in my reviews of biographies as I'm more interested in accuracy and fresh information than I am with a "good story."
 

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I will add that just this past week I found and purchased a paperback copy of one of the truly old (1929) "classics", British military author J. F. C. Fuller's The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant which I plan on reading and reviewing here next after I finish the book on the Vicksburg-Gettysburg Campaigns I'm currently reading. (Boning up for Vicksburg this October, you know!)
 
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Cavalry Charger

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I will add that just this past week I found and purchased a paperback copy of one of the truly old (1929) "classics", British military author J. F. C. Fuller's The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant which I plan on reading and reviewing here next after I finish the book on the Vicksburg-Gettysburg Campaigns I'm currently reading. (Boning up for Vicksburg this October, you know!)
That one also came up in a thread recently ... maybe it was this one! There was good feedback on it and I'll be interested to read your review, James, when the time comes.
 

Canadian

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Looks like @Canadian has read this one and may be able to provide some insight.
I agree with those who have said that Scaturro's work deserves a thread of its own. There are a number of things that impress me about his book. One is that he approached the presidency of U.S. Grant as a lawyer would, taking down much of the traditional tropes as if he were cross examining someone, looking for contradictions and ulterior motives, finding many. Second, that he did so very early, when Grant was without question (to most people) a terrible president. As Brooks Simpson once said, it's easy to be a Grant scholar now but it would have been far more difficult then. Another is that he wrote this book at a relatively young age, as an amateur historian without the funding and support that professional scholars get.
 

Canadian

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With 32 volumes in The Papers of U.S. Grant and many more Grant-related documents swimming around there certainly should be "more to add." It's certainly one thing that makes studying Grant interesting, that there is an abundance of material to provide fresh perspective on him. One reason I am disappointed with most US Grant biographies is because of the scope of the project they are trying to cover they are forced to gloss over and often fail to provide enough perspective. There is also a lot of repetition of themes, sometimes unsubstantiated or misleading, within the biographies. Grant led a complex life through a transformative period in American history. Like many people of the era, his perspectives changed with the times and through experiences. Perpetuating misleading generalizations for the sake of entertainment and expediency only serves to diminish a true understanding of the man.

Frank Scaturro is a knowledgeable Grant researcher and President of the Grant Monument Association. He led efforts in the 1990's to restore Grant's Tomb in NYC. His book on Grant's Presidency is well-focused and therefore more effective. I'm happy to say we are arranging a panel discussion at Grant Cottage in August with Frank as one of our panelists this year. The basis of the discussion is separating myth from reality in regard to US Grant, should be a good program. As usual we will try to broadcast the event on Facebook Live with the permission of the participants.

Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity and Let Us Have Peace have been great resources for my research as well. Simpson approaches his work in a healthy way and it results in more balanced, objective work.

Of course I am biased in my reviews of biographies as I'm more interested in accuracy and fresh information than I am with a "good story."
Please alert us when the talk gets posted.
 

Canadian

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Somehow I missed seeing this thread before - or else was put off by the antagonistic way it began so never followed it. At any rate, for the record - and admittedly without reading all the pages that make up the thread so have undoubtedly missed mentions of these before - I'll recommend Bruce Catton's two books on Grant's generalship Grant Moves South and Grant Takes Command. I also read the McFeely biography but remember relatively little about it other than the criticisms of Grant as President; it's information about the war added little or nothing to Catton.
I've begun reading Bruce Catton, as my acquaintance with Grant biographies seems to be going in reverse chronological order. Catton was a very gifted writer and is a great pleasure to read. It's no surprise that he inspired so many of today's historians. David Blight talks about him with great affection.
 

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…. As Brooks Simpson once said, it's easy to be a Grant scholar now but it would have been far more difficult then...
I've begun reading Bruce Catton, as my acquaintance with Grant biographies seems to be going in reverse chronological order. Catton was a very gifted writer and is a great pleasure to read. It's no surprise that he inspired so many of today's historians. David Blight talks about him with great affection.
Catton was a wartime (WWII) newspaperman who said he grew up in Michigan listening to the stories told by the veterans down at the local Old Soldiers' Home. The combination of facts led him to approach history as human stories that needed to be told in a manner understandable to the common reader but based on fact. He emerged by the time of the Civil War Centennial as the dean of writers about the war and should be compared with Shelby Foote who was just getting started in the field. His first book was called War Lords of Washington and I forget whether it was contemporary to WWII, but his first about Grant was a short volume titled U. S. Grant and the American Military Tradition, which I don't now remember whether I read or not back in high school in the 1960's when I first discovered his books. Catton must've had a particularly hard time when he started writing about Grant in the immediate post-WWII era of the 1940's and 50's when Lee eclipsed Grant in popular consciousness and Grant was still considered the Butcher and failed president.
 
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Dead Parrott

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I thought 'Crucible of Command' was excellent. I was a big fan of Catton long ago, and I found 'Grant Moves South' and 'Grant Takes Command' were both eminently readable (a strength of Catton's, IMHO). I'm just now reading 'American Ulysses' and will reserve opinion on it until finished.
 

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I thought 'Crucible of Command' was excellent. I was a big fan of Catton long ago, and I found 'Grant Moves South' and 'Grant Takes Command' were both eminently readable (a strength of Catton's, IMHO). I'm just now reading 'American Ulysses' and will reserve opinion on it until finished.
I'm currently rereading the two Catton books; before that, I read the Lloyd Lewis: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/captain-sam-grant-by-lloyd-lewis.159173/ then Grant Moves South: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/grant-moves-south-by-bruce-catton.160304/ and have only begun Grant Takes Command. Welcome to the forums from the host of the Stonewall Jackson Forum but also a Grant admirer!
 


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