Best Biography on Grant

shermans_march

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#1
I read Jean Edward Smith's book on Ulysses S. Grant a few years back. I thought that it was very well done. The descriptions of the Battle of shiloh had me sweating. It felt so real. The only weakness of Smith's book, in my opinion, was the last few chapters where it described his presidential years, which, were pretty dry and uninteresting.

I am finishing Ronald C White's book American Ulysses. It is good but I feel as though it is not as gripping of a read as I want it to be. It might be because I have read about Grant before and it takes the surprise out of the experience. One aspect that really surprised me is how interesting the post Civil War chapters are. The feuds with Johnson, his protection for the freedmen and indians were very enlightening.

I am anticipating Ron Chernow's book coming out in October. Does anyone think that this book will be able to add much new material to the books already put about Grant? Given his previous books, it shall be a treat for anyone that admires Grant.
 

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#2
The first Grant book I read was Smith's treatment, and I concur that it was excellent. I also would recommend the Lewis/Catton trilogy, though it only covers Grant's military career, and ends with Lincoln's assassination. I am also eagerly awaiting Mr. Chernow's biography, especially for his treatment of Grant's presidency, having read two previous works by him. Specifically, his books on Washington and Hamilton, both of which I thought were excellent. Others can better say whether there will actually be new material covered by Chernow. I'll get it regardless.
 
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#4
The best biography of Grant from birth to the end of the Civil War is Brooks Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity. He's working on the second volume now, which takes us from the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction and Grant's presidency all the way to Grant's death.
Simpson keeps coming up also for this topic. I have seen a few of his talks posted on here, and I was very impressed. I'll add him to the list.
 

shermans_march

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#6

shermans_march

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#7
The best biography of Grant from birth to the end of the Civil War is Brooks Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity. He's working on the second volume now, which takes us from the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction and Grant's presidency all the way to Grant's death.
Looks like the hardcover is out of print. Ebay has a few copies in good condition. Do you think it's worth the read if I have read 2 biographies about Grant already? What are the best aspects of the book that I couldn't get elsewhere?
 

cash

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#8
Looks like the hardcover is out of print. Ebay has a few copies in good condition. Do you think it's worth the read if I have read 2 biographies about Grant already? What are the best aspects of the book that I couldn't get elsewhere?
Simpson is better on military aspects as well as political aspects. He's also a Lincoln expert, so his analysis of the relationship with Lincoln is excellent.
 

Bee

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#9
The best biography of Grant from birth to the end of the Civil War is Brooks Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity. He's working on the second volume now, which takes us from the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction and Grant's presidency all the way to Grant's death.
Simpson keeps coming up also for this topic. I have seen a few of his talks posted on here, and I was very impressed. I'll add him to the list.
Simpson is better on military aspects as well as political aspects. He's also a Lincoln expert, so his analysis of the relationship with Lincoln is excellent.
I cannot say enough about Triumph Over Adversity, in praise of this book. The reason is as mentioned above: professor Simpson is unique in that his expertise is quite broad, and contrary to what some may believe - he is not a Grant cheerleader. The cast of characters in Grant's life was large and dense, so that prof. Simpson's broad knowledge base is indispensable for this undertaking.
 

shermans_march

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#10
I cannot say enough about Triumph Over Adversity, in praise of this book. The reason is as mentioned above: professor Simpson is unique in that his expertise is quite broad, and contrary to what some may believe - he is not a Grant cheerleader. The cast of characters in Grant's life was large and dense, so that prof. Simpson's broad knowledge base is indispensable for this undertaking.
Simpson is better on military aspects as well as political aspects. He's also a Lincoln expert, so his analysis of the relationship with Lincoln is excellent.
That's the information I needed to hear. Thanks, both of you, for the recommendation!
 
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#11
I am anticipating Ron Chernow's book coming out in October. Does anyone think that this book will be able to add much new material to the books already put about Grant? Given his previous books, it shall be a treat for anyone that admires Grant.
I'm on Penguin's list to receive an advance review copy. I look forward to posting my review here at CWT.
 
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#12
Others can better say whether there will actually be new material covered by Chernow. I'll get it regardless.
As I understand it, the Grant papers (31 volumes so far, I believe), housed at Mississippi State University, are a work in progress. More of them are made accessible as time goes by. So, I think that means that Chernow had more of them available for research than previous biographers did. Of course, how much of the mountain of material he chose to examine, and which parts, are a different matter.
 
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#13
The best biography of Grant from birth to the end of the Civil War is Brooks Simpson's Triumph Over Adversity. He's working on the second volume now, which takes us from the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction and Grant's presidency all the way to Grant's death.
I think Let Us Have Peace, the second volume, covers through 1868. What we're waiting for is the third volume.

EDIT (since we can't just delete posts anymore): I was wrong on this. See Bee's post below.
 
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#15
I know that Geoffrey Perrett is the guy everyone here loves to hate, but for all the flaws in his book, there are three things I really liked:
1. Perrett helped me understand battlefield movements. I have a tough time with 3-dimensional spatial visualization, but Perrett explains things so well that I finally started to understand some things that had mystified and confused me before.
2. I also have a very weak grip on how financial things work, but Perrett, God bless him, explains the financial scandals during Grant's presidency in a way that even I could understand.
3. Perrett's writing style, at least in this book, is very lively and engaging. I just love clear, bold prose, and the book was as readable as a good novel.
 
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#18
The Fruits of Victory -- the name of the second volume -- will be written as a continuation of Triumph Over Adversity, whereas Let Us Have Peace is a stand alone work.
Any word on when Brooks's new one will be coming out? We Grantophiles are gonna have our hands full trying to keep up with them all!
 

Bee

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#19
Any word on when Brooks's new one will be coming out? We Grantophiles are gonna have our hands full trying to keep up with them all!
Ha! I have been inserting little impatient remarks whenever possible regarding the second volume :wink: I will see professor Simpson in a couple of months: I will plead our case :smile:
 

shermans_march

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#20
Any word on when Brooks's new one will be coming out? We Grantophiles are gonna have our hands full trying to keep up with them all!
Ha! I have been inserting little impatient remarks whenever possible regarding the second volume :wink: I will see professor Simpson in a couple of months: I will plead our case :smile:
I found this and it's from November last year. He talks about Fruits of Victory 35:03 into the video.

 

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