Best book on Grant (as a commander)

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#1
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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#4
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.
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.
 
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#7
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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#15
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.
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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#16
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.
Well Fred did lead hazing of black cadets at West Point.
 

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#17
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.
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.
 
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#18
Well Fred did lead hazing of black cadets at West Point.
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.
 
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