The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace

  • Title: The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace
  • Author: H.W. Brands
  • ISBN: 9780385532419
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Man Who Saved the Union Ulysses Grant in War and Peace From New York Times bestselling author H W Brands a masterful biography of the Civil War general and two term president who saved the Union twice on the battlefield and in the White House holding t
    From New York Times bestselling author H W Brands, a masterful biography of the Civil War general and two term president who saved the Union twice, on the battlefield and in the White House, holding the country together at two critical turning points in our history.Ulysses Grant rose from obscurity to discover he had a genius for battle, and he propelled the Union to vicFrom New York Times bestselling author H W Brands, a masterful biography of the Civil War general and two term president who saved the Union twice, on the battlefield and in the White House, holding the country together at two critical turning points in our history.Ulysses Grant rose from obscurity to discover he had a genius for battle, and he propelled the Union to victory in the Civil War After Abraham Lincoln s assassination and the disastrous brief presidency of Andrew Johnson, America turned to Grant again to unite the country, this time as president In Brands s sweeping, majestic full biography, Grant emerges as a heroic figure who was fearlessly on the side of right He was a beloved commander in the field but willing to make the troop sacrifices necessary to win the war, even in the face of storms of criticism He worked valiantly to protect the rights of freedmen in the South Brands calls him the last presidential defender of black civil rights for nearly a century He played it straight with the American Indians, allowing them to shape their own fate even as the realities of Manifest Destiny meant the end of their way of life He was an enormously popular president whose memoirs were a huge bestseller yet within decades of his death his reputation was in tatters, the victim of Southerners who resented his policies on Reconstruction In this page turning biography, Brands now reconsiders Grant s legacy and provides a compelling and intimate portrait of a man who saved the Union on the battlefield and consolidated that victory as a resolute and principled political leader.

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    About H.W. Brands


    1. Henry William Brands was born in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he went to California for college He attended Stanford University and studied history and mathematics After graduating he became a traveling salesman, with a territory that spanned the West from the Pacific to Colorado His wanderlust diminished after several trips across the Great Basin, and he turned to sales of a different sort, namely teaching For nine years he taught mathematics and history in high school and community college Meanwhile he resumed his formal education, earning graduate degrees in mathematics and history, concluding with a doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin He worked as an oral historian at the University of Texas Law School for a year, then became a visiting professor of history at Vanderbilt University In 1987 he joined the history faculty at Texas AM University, where he taught for seventeen years In 2005 he returned to the University of Texas, where he is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History and Professor of Government He has written twenty two books, coauthored or edited five others, and published dozens of articles and scores of reviews His books include Traitor to His Class, The Money Men, Andrew Jackson, The Age of Gold, The First American, TR, The Strange Death of American Liberalism, What America Owes the World, and The Devil We Knew His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Atlantic Monthly, the Smithsonian, the National Interest, the American Historical Review, the Journal of American History, the Political Science Quarterly, American History, and many other newspapers, magazines and journals His writings have received critical and popular acclaim The First American was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Prize, as well as a New York Times bestseller The Age of Gold was a Washington Post Best Book of 2002 and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller Andrew Jackson was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2005 and a Washington Post bestseller What America Owes the World was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize in international affairs The Wages of Globalism was a Choice Outstanding Academic Book winner Lone Star Nation won the Deolece Parmelee Award He is a member of various honorary societies, including the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas He is a regular guest on national radio and television programs, and is frequently interviewed by the American and foreign press His writings have been published in several countries and translated into German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.


    918 Comments


    1. “A lackluster clerk from Galena, Illinois, a failure in everything except marriage and war…”- From the introduction to U.S. Grant, in Ken Burns’ The Civil War“Grant was an uncommon fellow – the most modest, the most disinterested, and the most honest man I ever knew, with a temper that nothing could disturb, and a judgment that was judicial in its comprehensiveness and wisdom…Not a great man, except morally; not an original or brilliant man, but sincere, thoughtful, deep, and gifte [...]

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    2. Book seventeen of my Presidential Challenge.Prior to reading this book, I had only heard negative things about President/General Grant: He was a drunk, he ran a corrupt administration, he messed up Reconstruction, he liked to kick puppies (okay, I made up that last one but I wouldn't have been surprised).Obviously, H.W. Brands wanted to use this book to make a case for Grant, and I've got to admit, he did a real good job of it. Okay, elephant in the room, was he a drunk? Yep, that's a big yep wi [...]

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    3. Recently, I read a biography of Ulysses S. Grant authored by Jean Edward Smith. The end result was quite good. There was a nuanced analysis of the problems with ethics by some of his Administration while he was President. This work, too, does a fine job of giving us a view of U. S. Grant's life. Some preliminary comments.Those with some familiarity with Grant will not necessarily find new revelations here. However, one will get a solid treatment of his life and his contributions.His early life i [...]

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    4. I knew very little about Ulysses S Grant before reading this book. I knew he was the main general on the Union side during the Civil War and that he later became president, but I seemed to recall that he wasn't a particularly good president. In a way The Man Who Saved the Union is working against that popular misconception to burnish Grant's somewhat tarnished legacy. H.W. Brands is known for his sweeping presidential biographies - he penned the Wilson biography in the Times Books ambitious Amer [...]

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    5. I'm definitely not qualified to say this is the best single volume treatment of Grant's life (I doubt anyone could agree on which book gets that honor), but it certainly was admirably thorough without becoming obsessively minute about trivial details. Brands knows which research to keep in the final draft, and he doesn't go far afield for that word-count suckage called "unnecessary context," which seems to infest so much historical nonfiction nowadays.Grant is probably one of the most likable mi [...]

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    6. H.W. Brands has written a both a very readable and very favorable biography of one the most important military figures in our countries history. Dr Brands looks a US Grants life from his boyhood in Ohio through to his death from cancer in New York, with obvious emphasis on his Civil War record and post Civil War career.In his coverage of the Civil War, Dr Brands concentrates on the personalities and overall strategy of the war, rather than tactics of the battles. He does not shed much new light [...]

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    7. This is a sizable time investment, but worth it. I knew Grant's battle record, but American history classes, even in college, generally wash away with the decades after the Civil War as: "Johnson was terrible, Reconstruction was a disaster, the KKK were rampant, there were economic crises, and Garfield was shot. Here's some stuff about the Gilded Age, and oh, along comes Teddy Roosevelt." What we're taught is not very thorough. This was not exactly the high point of American history. That said, [...]

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    8. It is typical in times of war and crisis that people, like Ulysses Grant, destined for a life in obscurity, suddenly rise up out of nowhere, take the lead and save their country. Brilliant in battle, compassionate in victory, loved by his soldiers, respected by his enemies, Grant became the great American hero. No wonder he was pushed to become president. He didn't like politics, but he accepted it as a call of duty.In the footsteps of President Lincoln, he became the man who restored the Union, [...]

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    9. The Man Who Saved the Union portrays Ulysses S. Grant as a great leader not only of the civil war but also of the fight for civil rights. Grant’s character was shaped by integrity, confidence and persistence. These traits propelled him to success in the war and to recognition as a national hero. Scandals and the first U. S. industrial age depression exposed his limitations as president; however he continued to be held in high regard. After his death revisionist historians sullied his reputatio [...]

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    10. This is a very readable and informative biography of one of our greatest presidents. Ulysses S. Grant accomplished two things that earned a nation's gratitude: he saved the Union by winning The Civil War; and he saved the country by winning the peace. The book is divided into three parts, a prologue setting the scene and then Grant at War (The Rage of Achilles) and finally Grant as president (And Give the Peace). Brands is very adept in the war sections to tell Grant's story while filling in the [...]

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    11. A rich and evenhanded biography of Grant. Brands provides little interpretation or analysis here, letting things speak for themselves. I didn’t find this to be a major problem, however. The book is well-written and engaging, and reads more like a work of narrative history than biography.The biography was refreshing for me. Many biographies of American military figures are too often characterized by either hero worship or merciless criticism. The foremost example is Confederate Gen. Robert E. L [...]

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    12. bestpresidentialbios/2014/“The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace” is H.W. Brands’s 2012 biography of the eighteenth president. Brands is a professor at the University of Texas and a prolific author. He has written nearly thirty books on a wide range of historical topics including biographies of Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and Aaron Burr. He is currently working on “Reagan: A Life” which is due to be published in mid-2015.Brands’s biography is the sixth [...]

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    13. Very good one-volume biography of Ulysses S. Grant. Not quite up to the standards of those produced by Brooks Simpson and Jean Edward Smithbut not far behind. Vastly superior to the error riddled work by Geoffrey Perret or the technically competent, but interpretively flawed biography of Grant by William McFeely.Brands demonstrates again that U.S. Grant is perhaps the most underrated figure in American history. His reputation trashed through the efforts of "lost cause" historians and their enabl [...]

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    14. In 1996 American historians ranked Grant the fourth worst president, 38th out of 42. Now he is ranked 28th out of 44, a huge increase in regard and the most dramatic presidential opinion turn around ever. The Man Who Saved the Union, by H. W. Brands, helps us understand why. The short version is that the defeated South won the opinion debate after the Civil War. Why? Because they still cared, could not get over being defeated, and saw U.S. Grant (and his arch-partner W. T. Sherman) as a man bene [...]

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    15. Excellent one volume review of Grant's contribution to our country's history. The 3-volume set (Lloyd Lewis/Bruce Catton)remains the standard for Grant's life through the end of the Civil War but if you want a one volume work Brands' effort is a tad better than Jean Edward Smith's. The bugger has always been Grant's presidency - though it has to be admitted that governing the post Civil War States was hugely difficult. Racism and class warfare fired up immediately. Amazing how reading the histor [...]

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    16. “The Man Who Saved the Union, Ulysses Grant in War and Peace” by H.W. Brands, published by Doubleday Books.Category – BiographyAlthough this book is a biography of Ulysses Grant, I found it to be one of the best books I have read on the Civil War. H.W. Brands gives a stunning overall view of the war without going into details about each individual battle. Brands gives a concise view of the major battles and their results.As a biography, the book puts a totally different perspective on Gran [...]

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    17. H. W. Brands , "The Man Who Saved the Union" is more than a biography of General and President U.S. Grant. The book details the political, economic, and social environment during Grant's time in public life. Mr. Brands allows the reader to understand Grant's actions during the Civil War and during his Presidency. He details both Grant's triumphs and failures; all major events receive attention. The biography is compelling, well written, and full of quotes which add flavor to the narrative.As the [...]

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    18. Reading the life of 'The Man Who Saved The Union' is one of the best things I ever did. There are a lot of perceptions of Ulysses Grant that I have heard over the years ranging from his drinking to the careless loss of life in battles he had commanded and all the way down to his corrupt presidency. While there is some truth in all of these, it was great to read for the first time a book devoted to him and understand him much better. He opposed the Mexican-American war and yet served bravely in i [...]

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    19. This is a great, well researched book about Ulysses Grant. One of the best presidents the U.S. had, who was marginalized by later literature for propaganda reasons that were pretty much forgotten 100 years ago. However his name was never taken out of the mud, and modern history text books still parrot the propaganda.He took over the U.S. at a time when people in the South were shooting people that voted for Republicans. And he had to handle it. He had to deal with 2 factions fighting for control [...]

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    20. This was my first H. W. Brands read and it certainly won't be my last. It took a while to get used to his writing style which includes far more quotes from primary sources that I am used to. At first it made the text seem chopped up, but before half way through the book I got the hang of it. This is a book I definitely wouldn't mind revisiting sometime in the future.

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    21. Grant has always fascinated me. My interest in the Civil War has led to reading a number of biographies of Grant as well as the accounts of his campaigns in various histories. (His Personal Memoirs, still in print today, are required reading.) Most intriguing is the contrast between Grant's life up to the war and his life after. Up to the war Grant showed no signs of success, certainly nothing he did foretold the brilliance he exhibited throughout the war. He came from modest origins; his father [...]

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    22. Ulysses S. Grant was once one of the most popular men in America, and reading THE MAN WHO SAVED THE UNION, it's not hard to figure out why. It's not just his historic role as the general who led the Northern forces to victory in the Civil War. Grant was apparently just a likable, quietly charismatic person, and H.W. Brands is best when he is bringing that aspect to life. From his laconic self-deprecating reflections on the Mexican War (including one funny recollection about leading a heroic char [...]

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    23. Truly an amazing book. One of the best biographies I've read. I am planning to write a full review of this book.

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    24. The book proves that US Grant got a bad rap as President. The evidence presented by HW Brands demonstrates that Grant was a thoughtful, intelligent Chief Executive during an extremely difficult time in our history—the era of Reconstruction, where elements in the South wanted to continue without change. Grant walked a tightrope in his decision making, reluctantly sending Federal troops to S. Carolina and later Louisianna to suppress the activities of the KKK and other recalcitrants. He was invo [...]

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    25. For an account of his Civil War years, Grant's own memoirs are unlikely to be bettered. But Brands does a good job with his life as a whole. He manages to admire his subject without being ostentatiously hagiographic. As the war years are so familiar, the greater interest for me was in the coverage of Grant's period of service under Andrew Johnson, and then as President himself. Lincoln's greatness is further highlighted in contrast to the use that his successor attempted to make of Grant to shor [...]

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    26. My interest in Ulysses Grant was piqued while reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I read that President Grant had actually appointed Ely S. Parker, the first Native American to head the BIA. Parker seemed to be the perfect choice for the job. (Although he was subsequently replaced by the traditional corrupt BIA leaders.) I had been led to believe that Grant was a weak, alcoholic President whose administration was marked by scandal. I began to wonder about his reputation, so I decided to read [...]

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    27. I won a copy of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace from a firstreads giveaway, and I kind of get the idea that H.W. Brands is a good go-to when you want to read an historical biography. In this one, he takes on the life of Ulysses S. Grant from cradle to grave (spoilers, Grant dies at the end).Not that Brands doesn't have some prime material to work with in the life of Grant. He's a West Point grad, a failure at a number of business endeavors, General who wins the Civil [...]

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    28. The title is incorrect because it was Lincoln who saved the Union, not Grant. Grant was a good general, but not a great general. He was tenacious, but it was Lincoln's determination that won the war and preserved the Union.The title really should be "The War that Saved a Man." Grant had failed at everything he tried before he found his role in the war.The book mainly deals with the civil war years, which was not new material for me, but the coverage of Grant in the Mexican war was new and intere [...]

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    29. While extremely informative, I guess I was spoiled by reading through Teddy Roosevelt's bios (and also the tremendous "Destiny of the Republic") where the subject of the book was a larger than life personality who actually enjoyed every minute of his term in office.Grant, while very popular with the people and tried to do right by everyone he served and who served under him, took the job mostly out of obligation to his country rather than any strong desire to enter the political machine. The acc [...]

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    30. I have read several books about Grant and I very much enjoyed this one. The author did extensive research and provided interesting side facts that made the reading much more interesting, such as Grants's family knew John Brown when be was a boy in Ohio. I agree with the author that Grant was the man that saved the Union. Grant was truly a great general, but also we see many other admirable traits: his compassion for others, in his surrender terms at Appomattox, his honesty, his truthfulness and [...]

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