American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America's greatest generals--and most misunderstood presidents

Finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Military History Book Prize

In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the "Trinity of Great American Leaders." But the battlefield commander-turned-commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.

Based on seven years of research with primary documents--some of them never examined by previous Grant scholars--this is destined to become the Grant biography of our time. White, a biographer exceptionally skilled at writing momentous history from the inside out, shows Grant to be a generous, curious, introspective man and leader--a willing delegator with a natural gift for managing the rampaging egos of his fellow officers. His wife, Julia Dent Grant, long marginalized in the historic record, emerges in her own right as a spirited and influential partner.

Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government's policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs. Published by Mark Twain, it is widely considered to be the greatest autobiography by an American leader, but its place in Grant's life story has never been fully explored--until now.

One of those rare books that successfully recast our impression of an iconic historical figure, American Ulysses gives us a finely honed, three-dimensional portrait of Grant the man--husband, father, leader, writer--that should set the standard by which all future biographies of him will be measured.

Praise for American Ulysses

"[Ronald C. White] portrays a deeply introspective man of ideals, a man of measured thought and careful action who found himself in the crosshairs of American history at its most crucial moment."--USA Today

"White delineates Grant's virtues better than any author before. . . . By the end, readers will see how fortunate the nation was that Grant went into the world--to save the Union, to lead it and, on his deathbed, to write one of the finest memoirs in all of American letters."--The New York Times Book Review

"Ronald White has restored Ulysses S. Grant to his proper place in history with a biography whose breadth and tone suit the man perfectly. Like Grant himself, this book will have staying power."--The Wall Street Journal

"Magisterial . . . Grant's esteem in the eyes of historians has increased significantly in the last generation. . . . [American Ulysses] is the newest heavyweight champion in this movement."--The Boston Globe

"Superb . . . illuminating, inspiring and deeply moving . . . The Grant we meet in American Ulysses is richly deserving of a fuller understanding and of celebration for the man he was and the legacy he left us."--Chicago Tribune

"In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior."--Newsday

Title:American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
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    American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Grant ‘moves with his shoulders thrown a little forward of the perpendicular, his left hand in the pocket of his pantaloons, an unlighted cigar in his mouth, his eyes thrown straight forward, whi...

  • Matt

    Another thought-provoking book during this forty days of biography reading takes me into the life and times of Ulysses S. Grant. Deemed one of the three greatest presidents at the turn of the 20th cen...

  • Mike

    I had high hopes going into this book, as White is a respected historian and Grant is an underappreciated president. Unfortunately, I walked away feeling somewhat disappointed by the experience. White...

  • Bill Powers

    A first-rate and refreshing new look at one of the greatest leaders in American history - Ulysses S. Grant. White focuses on Grant's pre-Civil War life, his life as one of America's great military lea...

  • Kate

    A fine biography of a man who is both modest and audacious. A fascinating bio of an unusual person.This is a very thorough bio of Grant, which covers both his personal life and his life as a war gener...

  • Sean Chick

    Ethan Sepp Rafuse recently wrote that studies of Ulysses S. Grant are bordering on hagiography. Rafuse is too kind. Where once Robert E. Lee was the "marble man" of perfect morals, now Grant has been ...

  • David

    Any review of this book has to be a review of Grant too, because the opinion you bring to this book will largely influence whether you enjoy it.I'm a Yankee. I want to think well of Grant (I actually ...

  • Steve White’s “American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant” was published in 2016, two years after I spent eight weeks reading six other biographies of ...

  • Steven Peterson

    This is a really fine biography of Ulysses S. Grant [sic]. That was not his real name, but in a clerical error, that is how we know him today. This is a well written book that reads nicely. We see the...

  • Carol Storm

    Loved the details on Grant's reading as young man, and also his relationship with his wife Julia and his friendship with Mark Twain!...