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Ulysses S. Grant by Josiah Bunting
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This is a relatively weak entry in this series. The author is a military man who is far too interested in analyzing Grant's generalship; in a short-format series such as this, one needs to cut to the chase and not waste two chapters on a career with only a tangential relationship to evaluating a president--as though anybody could analyze Grant as a commander in two chapters anyway. The author also thinks that Grant was a fine president, which is his prerogative, but to be a revisionist, a historian needs to do a much better job than Bunting does of explaining why the conventional wisdom is wrong. He does enumerate the scandals, in a formulaic, dry section, but the voices of the old-time historians who considered the scandals disqualifying in their evaluation of Grant's administration are very muted. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 7, 2013 |
Grant possessed that rarest quality among American presidents: nobility of character. As a military strategist he possessed quiet compassion, firm judgment and humanity. Then, where other historians hold Grant's administration responsible for many of the failures of Reconstruction, the author believes Grant was in his era "the central force in the achievement of civil rights for blacks, the most stalwart and most reliable among all American presidents for the next eighty years." What's more, Bunting does as good a job as possible in making sense of Grant's difficult presidency.
  USGrant | Mar 9, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805069496, Hardcover)

The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the man who turned the tide of the Civil War, who accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and who had the stomach to see the war through to final victory. But his presidency is another matter-the most common word used to characterize it is "scandal." Grant is routinely portrayed as a man out of his depth, whose trusting nature and hands-off management style opened the federal coffers to unprecedented plunder. But that caricature does not do justice to the realities of Grant's term in office, as Josiah Bunting III shows in this provocative assessment of our eighteenth president.

Grant came to Washington in 1869 to lead a capital and a country still bitterly divided by four years of civil war. His predecessor, Andrew Johnson, had been impeached and nearly driven from office, and the radical Republicans in Congress were intent on imposing harsh conditions on the Southern states before allowing them back into the Union. Grant made it his priority to forge the states into a single nation, and Bunting shows that despite the troubles that characterized Grant's terms in office, he was able to accomplish this most important task-very often through the skillful use of his own popularity with the American people. Grant was indeed a military man of the highest order, and he was a better president than he is often given credit for.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:30 -0400)

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Traces the life and presidency of Ulyssses S. Grant and discusses why he was undervalued as a president.

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