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Best book on Grant (as a commander)

Discussion in 'Ulysses S. Grant' started by Skarpskytten, Mar 8, 2018.

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  1. Skarpskytten

    Skarpskytten Private

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    If I were to read one book on Grant, which one should I read - and why that particlar book? (And reversely, are there any real stinkers that should be avioded?)

    I would prefer a book that focus on Grant's Civil war years, his generalship, G as a commander, but appreciate views on books with a broader scope.
     

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  3. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Let Grant speak for himself. Get the Grant Memoirs, if you can.
    Next in the list would be Brooks Simpsons' Triumph over Adversity.
     
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  4. Louieg2

    Louieg2 Private

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  5. James N.

    James N. Major Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    This is fudging your request a bit, but I'd recommend the three-volume "set", Captain Sam Grant by Lloyd Lewis and Grant Takes Command and Grant Moves South, both by Bruce Catton. To explain a bit: In the 1950's author and Sherman biographer Lloyd Lewis intended to produce a detailed multi-volume biography of Grant but unfortunately died after completing only the first book which dealt with Grant's life through the war with Mexico. Noted Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and editor of American Heritage Magazine Bruce Catton agreed to take up the challenge, producing the last two in the 1960's, one taking Grant through 1863 and the other to Appomattox. That was as far as the "biography" got, but Catton's work is probably the best overall study of Grant during the Civil War; I read them early in my Civil War "career" and gained my appreciation for Grant as a strategist, especially during the Vicksburg Campaign. I must admit to having not read the Lewis so can't vouch for it personally, but he enjoyed a good reputation; if you only wanted to read about Grant during the war, Catton's two volumes would be a good bet, and can be read independently.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  6. Dom71

    Dom71 Corporal

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    His memoirs and Bruce Catton's 2 books were the best for me. Others might have suffering opinions.
     
  7. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    The question itself cries out for J.F.C. Fuller's The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant.
     
  8. Skarpskytten

    Skarpskytten Private

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    Thank you all, so far.

    His memoirs were already on the reading list, I should have written that.

    I was aware of Fuller's book on Grant and Lee, I've even browsed it, but not that he had written one on only Grant, I'll might have to check that one out.

    Catton sounds great (and there is one (!) copy of it in the whole of Sweden, so I can get on inter-library loan), but I have to ask: those books are half a century old! Has there really hasn't been anything to surpass them since then? What is it that makes them so good? (This is not to question or provoke, but out of curiosity; half a-century old books can be the best on their topic).
     
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  9. Dom71

    Dom71 Corporal

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    That was supposed to be different not suffering. Auto correct fail.:D
     
  10. Michael W.

    Michael W. First Sergeant

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    Triumph Over Diversity.
     
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  11. Bee

    Bee Captain Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017

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    Adversity :smile:
     
  12. Michael W.

    Michael W. First Sergeant

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    :sleep: Sorry. I was half asleep when I posted...lol
     
  13. 67th Tigers

    67th Tigers 2nd Lieutenant

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    Tricky, because the last really balanced book was McFeely. Hence I'd recommend that.
     
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  14. Silverfox

    Silverfox Sergeant

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    On this date in time Grant was placed in command of all Union forces---check me on this. Lincoln finally had his General.
     
  15. cash

    cash Brev. Brig. Gen'l

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    McFeely was not in any way balanced. I'll grant it was beautifully written, but it had quite a few errors as well as being biased against Grant.
     
  16. DanSBHawk

    DanSBHawk Sergeant

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    I agree, and unfortunately some of McFeely's unsupported allegations have been swallowed hook, line, and sinker by other recent works. An example is the racist accusations against Fred Grant.
     
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  17. DRW

    DRW Sergeant

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    Well Fred did lead hazing of black cadets at West Point.
     
  18. Bee

    Bee Captain Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017

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    I love this quote from Frank Scaturro's President Grant Reconsidered:

    "Grant's contemporaries," asserts historian Brooks Simpson, "would have had a difficult time recognizing the man described in McFeely's book"
    That quote comes from a fabulous in-depth analysis that Prof. Simpson did on the McFeely book, in which he quotes passages, and uses primary source to refute them.
     
  19. DanSBHawk

    DanSBHawk Sergeant

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    Actually, that is the unsupported allegation against Fred that has been taken as gospel because of McFeely.

    Brooks Simpson wrote an essay called "Butcher? Racist? An Examination of William S. Mcfeely's Grant: A Biography" which exposed the thinness of the racist accusation against Fred.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  20. DanSBHawk

    DanSBHawk Sergeant

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    Bee, looks like we were thinking along the same lines.
     
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  21. Canadian

    Canadian Corporal

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    :bounce: Well typo-ed.
     
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