Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chernow's Grant

Back in January 2016, I posted a brief note acknowledging a pair of upcoming major Grant biographies from a pair of Rons.

Ronald White's American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant was duly published in the fall of last year. I borrowed a copy from the local library and selectively read the chapters covering Grant's early life and also the Civil War years. I don't know if I should have expected much more from a popular biography, but I was disappointed enough with the war period coverage, which I found too safely conventional and critically underengaged, to not go any further with it.

Ron Chernow's tersely titled Grant will also be published by trade press giant Penguin Random House. Follow the link for details. It looks like a mid-October 2017 release. At nearly 1,000 total pages, it's an even heavier door stopper than White's biography. Aimed at grabbing the attention of the widest possible reading audience and (of course) selling copies, book descriptions are often breathlessly celebratory in tone, but the person who penned this one was in rare form!


  1. These days, "Grant" is to biographers what "Gettysburg" is to military historians and conflict simulation developers - a license to print money. I'd like to know what new, significant information is being provided by these recent entries in the Grant cascade. I know that I haven't learned a whole lot which is new and important regarding Little Round Top in the past 15 years. Time to cue Dimitri....

    1. I read maybe half the book. Unfortunately, there was never a significant stretch when I felt I wasn't wasting my time. It's a bit funny that the 'competing' bios come from different divisions of the same publishing giant (though more understandable given that White's project was already underway before the merger).

  2. I'm late in Grant's presidency with White's book. I'm enjoying it, but have a number of criticisms of my own. I'll probably write a review of it someplace


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