Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Lardas

Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Lardas

U.S. Grant was the most successful Union general of the American Civil War, and arguably the most successful on either side, winning the first clear-cut Union victories of the war, securing Union control of the Mississippi and this cutting the Confederacy in half and saving a Union army that was trapped at Chattanooga, before moving on to become General commanding the United States Army during the last phase of the war, when he pinned Lee's army around Richmond and Petersburg while other Union armies dismantled the Confederacy.

This may be a short work, but I found it to be a successful biography of this crucial general. The section on Grant as General commanding the United States Army is particularly strong, recognising that Grant was responsible for the entire Union campaign and not just the Virginia campaign. It was his orders that sent Sherman in motion, eliminated the Shenandoah Valley as a source of Confederate supplies and pinned Lee down in the defence of Richmond and Petersburg. I also liked the early section on the many names of US Grant, from his early nicknames, to Useless Grant then up to Unconditional Surrender Grant and finally President Grant - this summed up in a short section the varied career of Grant. As always the text is supported by excellent maps, contemporary photographs and good modern illustrations.

This work comes from the pro-Grant school, looking at Grant as the successful commander and eventual victor in the Civil War. Despite that the author does cover Grant's pre-war failures and his less than successful post-war life, which included two generally poor terms as President and continued business and financial failures. Grant's main post-war achievement was his outstanding autobiography, written while he was terminally ill in an attempt to provide financial security for his family. Despite these circumstances Grant managed to produce one of the best military autobiographies, a readable and modest account of his life that provides us with a truly invaluable insight into his actions. 

The Early Years
The Military Life
Hour of Destiny
Opposing Commanders
Inside the Mind
When war is done
A life in words

Author: Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Lardas
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2012

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