Grant - Ron Chernow


By Ron Chernow

  • Release Date: 2017-10-10
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 969 Ratings


The #1 New York Times bestseller and New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

“Eminently readable but thick with import . . . Grant hits like a Mack truck of knowledge.” Ta-Nehisi CoatesThe Atlantic

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.
Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.
Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant’s military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members.

More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him “the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race.” After his presidency, he was again brought low by a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, only to resuscitate his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre.
With lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as “nothing heroic... and yet the greatest hero.” Chernow’s probing portrait of Grant's lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America's greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant's life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.

Named one of the best books of the year by Goodreads • Amazon • The New York Times • Newsday BookPage Barnes and Noble • Wall Street Journal


  • My favorite biography book

    By drtgaither
    This is Ron Chernow’s magnum opus
  • Wonderful, well written book on Grant.

    By wolfbur
    This book brought me into the mind of Grant. His childhood and young adulthood seemed he might be aimless but when in the military as a young man, his genius for strategy and his ability to connect with soldiers was his success.
  • Meticulously written, easy to read

    By red white & blue x4
    Captivating story about an extraordinary human being that made a significant impact on America and the American people during his time as a general and president Today, we can learn from Grant thanks to the author who brought him to life for us. Grateful and appreciative of your hard work!
  • The General

    By Richard Bakare
    It’s shocking how the losers of the Civil War are more celebrated and memorialized in school names and statues than the General they lost to. A man under whose leadership a war was won, important constitutional amendments were enforced, and a persistent military presence in the South put the boot on the neck of white supremacy. For better or worse his story is hotly debated. Like with all things, context matters and no more so in this account. Coming from a family of devout abolitionist, perhaps no other President delivered so much in action, money, and support for Black America than Grant. Facts suspiciously overlooked on our textbooks. Instead his characterization is summarized as either the victorious General, a drunk, or misguided President. Even his name is not represented in its exact form. In truth, like all of us, he was more complex, intellectually and morally than history has remembered him. It is no surprise than that it would take this behemoth of a biography to capture all of the nuance of such a layered man. No stone unturned or detail left out, no matter what light it may cast Grant in. The added color of the outstanding feats and failings contrasted to his natural introvert demeanor, make for a fun and engaging journey through his life. The scope of which is encyclopedic in the periods covered and international reach it had. I recommend this one in audiobook format. The reading makes nearly 50-hour listening feel more like a live action documentary. Even in detailing his shortcomings, the biographer demonstrates that in Grant’s life story we are reminded that even the best of us are flawed. What we observe is a man who goes through a sort of hero’s journey to arrive at his true place. Along the way we get a meticulously detailed history of the civil war, politics, and culture of the Gilded Age. Parts of which mirror the drama and complexities of the Peloponnesian War as told by Thucydides.
  • Good book about the general, president and the man

    By dffyuytrc
    Excellent book and details of our complex history after the Civil War. This was a very good read.
  • History at its Finest

    By GregS96
    Very well written, engrossing, captivating. It has motivated me to learn more of Grant.
  • Grant

    By Vicksburg Guide
    Interesting and well written but a bit too tedious with details.
  • Grant

    By Readyreader123
  • One of the greatest books I’ve read

    By The blue dove
    Thorough, well-written and a balanced view of a man that present day America doesn’t know. Incredible insight into his thoughts and actions, his strengths and weaknesses, his brain and his heart. Grant was a man for all times...the type needed in our time.
  • Grant

    By lovemusic1234
    Every West Pointer and every US Army officer should be required to read this book. And then answer questions to gauge their understanding. Is Grant the best general the U.S. Army ever produced? Please indicate in one paragraph your response. What qualities made Grant successful? Do you possess these qualities? Do you think you can develop them? Do you think the current US Army structure fosters leaders like Grant? One paragraph, give your response. Do you feel that the existing U.S. Army senior officer schools promote these qualities?