Jean Edward Smith – Grant


Ulysses S. Grant was the first four-star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. As general in chief, Grant revolutionized modern warfare. Rather than capture enemy territory or march on Southern cities, he concentrated on engaging and defeating the Confederate armies in the field, and he pursued that strategy relentlessly. As president, he brought stability to the country after years of war and upheaval. He tried to carry out the policies of Abraham Lincoln, the man he admired above all others, and to a considerable degree he succeeded. Yet today, Grant is remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president.

In this comprehensive biography, Jean Edward Smith reconciles these conflicting assessments of Grant’s life, arguing that Grant is greatly underrated as a president. Following the turmoil of Andrew Johnson’s administration, Grant guided the nation through the post-Civil War era, overseeing Reconstruction of the South and enforcing the freedoms of new African-American citizens. His presidential accomplishments were as considerable as his military victories, says Smith, for the same strength of character that made him successful on the battlefield also characterized his years in the White House.

Author: Jean Edward Smith
Narrator: Keith Sellon-Wright
Duration: 29 hours 7 minutes
Released: 19 Oct 2009
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

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The glowing obituaries for Jean Edward Smith in the New York Times & Washington Post prompted me to read his Grant biography. So glad I did! It is outstanding & well-narrated. I had read Grant’s memoirs & was familiar with him from Civil War books, but this fine volume gave me a new appreciate & respect for his greatness. Grant’s ultimate success is remarkable given his struggles after leaving the Army after the Mexican War. It took a good many kindnesses, coincidences & strokes of good fortune. He also endured several brushes with disaster early in his Civil War command. His strength of character and fundamental decency come through clearly. I learned a lot about his progressive attitude toward freed slaves & Native Americans, his desire for national reconciliation & his clashes with Andrew Johnson. His failings, which were more than a few, often flowed from excessive loyalty & naive beliefs of the best about people. The book is beautifully-paced & finely balanced between a well-warranted positive revision of Grant history & a candor about this extraordinary man’s humanity & shortcomings. Highly recommend this study of an underappreciated giant in American history.