100 books like Grant Moves South

By Bruce Catton,

Here are 100 books that Grant Moves South fans have personally recommended if you like Grant Moves South. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Craig Fehrman Author Of Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote

From my list on written by American presidents.

Who am I?

Craig Fehrman spent ten years writing Author in Chief, his book on presidents and the books they wrote. When readers would learn about his research, they'd always ask -- "Are any of them worth reading?" The answer turned out to be a definitive yes! Presidential books have won elections, redefined careers, and shaped America's place in the world. It's easy to eye-roll at modern political volumes, but for most of American history, books have been our popular culture -- and presidential books have changed our nation. Here are a few of the books that will reward readers today. 

Craig's book list on written by American presidents

Craig Fehrman Why did Craig love this book?

Grant’s book is deservingly celebrated as the best presidential book, even if it's mostly a work of military history. Still, my favorite parts are the character descriptions. They show a surprising side of Grant: as a reader, he was America’s first full-blown fiction-loving president, and his obsession with novels clearly influenced his own writing. If you have the Library of America edition, you can quickly turn to the book’s sketch of Lincoln (page 469), which captures that president’s graciousness, and the sketch of Robert E. Lee (page 732), which captures Grant’s.

By John F. Marszalek, Ulysses S. Grant,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This fine volume leaps straight onto the roster of essential reading for anyone even vaguely interested in Grant and the Civil War. The book is deeply researched, but it introduces its scholarship with a light touch that never interferes with the reader's enjoyment of Grant's fluent narrative."-Ron Chernow, author of Grant

Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs, sold door-to-door by former Union soldiers, were once as ubiquitous in American households as the Bible. Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein, Henry James, and Edmund Wilson hailed them as great literature, and countless presidents, including Clinton and George W. Bush, credit Grant with influencing their own…


Book cover of Campaigning with Grant

Donald L. Miller Author Of Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

From my list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant.

Who am I?

I’ve written ten books, four of them prize-winning best sellers, but this is my first book on the Civil War. Fortunately, it’s been generously received. The Wall Street Journal declared it “an epic story” and “rattling good history,” while Pulitzer Prize-winning James M. McPherson declared it “the fullest and best history of the Vicksburg campaign.“ Another Pulitzer receipient, David Blight, praised it for its “sizzling and persuasive prose. Miller has found the way,” he said, “to write both military and emancipation history in one profound package.”

Donald's book list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant

Donald L. Miller Why did Donald love this book?

Horace Porter’s Campaigning With Grant is exactly that—a close-up, “you are there” account of Grant’s titanic campaign against Lee, as seen through the eyes of one of the General-in-Chief’s most trusted military aides. Captain (later General) Porter worshipped his commander and presents him here without disabling flaws. But in flowing prose, he gives us a richly-realized portrait of the general as he commands with authority in the field, and later in the day, meets informally with his young staff—his military family— around a blazing fire in front of his headquarters at City Point, Virginia, just outside besieged Petersburg. On several occasions, Lincoln slips down by steamer from Washington to confer with Grant and joins the fireside conclaves. Seated on a low campstool, dressed all in black, he stretches out and expounds, with surprising erudition, upon military ordnance before capping the evening with hilarious tales of his Illinois youth.

Porter gives…

By Horace Porter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Campaigning with Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Horace Porter (1837-1921) graduated from West Point in 1860 and was skilled enough to rise through the ranks of the Union army to become a brigadier general during the Civil War. Porter also won the Medal of Honor for rallying troops at the Battle of Chickamauga, allowing wagon trains and guns to escape. But Porter is remembered today for his service during the last year of the war, becoming one of the staff members for General Ulysses S. Grant. Porter earned the general’s admiration and ended up being President Grant’s chief of staff. Porter later wrote a captivating account in…


Book cover of Ulysses S. Grant; His Life and Character

Donald L. Miller Author Of Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

From my list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant.

Who am I?

I’ve written ten books, four of them prize-winning best sellers, but this is my first book on the Civil War. Fortunately, it’s been generously received. The Wall Street Journal declared it “an epic story” and “rattling good history,” while Pulitzer Prize-winning James M. McPherson declared it “the fullest and best history of the Vicksburg campaign.“ Another Pulitzer receipient, David Blight, praised it for its “sizzling and persuasive prose. Miller has found the way,” he said, “to write both military and emancipation history in one profound package.”

Donald's book list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant

Donald L. Miller Why did Donald love this book?

Published in 1898 and now largely forgotten, this book is the only oral history we have of Grant. Garland, a substantial nineteenth-century literary figure, spent two years locating and interviewing people who knew Grant—generals and privates, family and neighbors in St. Louis and Galena, Illinois. Grant was a self-enclosed man, but he opened up to those he knew and trusted. It would be impossible to write a reliable life study of him without consulting Garland’s superb biography, or reading the transcripts of his interviews, which can be found in his papers at the University of Southern California’s Doheny Memorial Library.

By Hamlin Garland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ulysses S. Grant; His Life and Character as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on American presidents who left their mark on history.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!

Lindsay's book list on American presidents who left their mark on history

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

There are so many fantastic new biographies of Ulysses S. Grant. U.S. Grant is particularly good for a one-volume biography. It’s an incredibly fair treatment and does a great job of showing Grant’s cultural importance as a symbol for national reunification after the war. Waugh also demonstrates why Grant has been underappreciated by previous historians and generations, and why he deserves more recognition.

By Joan Waugh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked U. S. Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the time of his death, Ulysses S. Grant was the most famous person in America, considered by most citizens to be equal in stature to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Yet today his monuments are rarely visited, his military reputation is overshadowed by that of Robert E. Lee, and his presidency is permanently mired at the bottom of historical rankings. In an insightful blend of biography and cultural history, Joan Waugh traces Grant's shifting national and international reputation, illuminating the role of memory in our understanding of American history. Using a wide range of written and visual sources--newspaper articles,…


Book cover of The Last Full Measure

Philip Duke Author Of The Village: A Novel of Wartime Crete

From my list on wartime historical fiction.

Who am I?

I am a retired professor of anthropology. I was first drawn to archaeology after a high-school presentation by a Classics master on the ruins of Paestum. I have enjoyed exploring the past but have a special passion for Greece. Because of my working-class origin in Liverpool, England, class struggle and the fight for human dignity has been a leitmotif of first my academic and now my fiction writing. My books explore how war inevitably changes the lives of the characters. I have bachelors and graduate degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Calgary. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities. I hope you enjoy the books on my list!

Philip's book list on wartime historical fiction

Philip Duke Why did Philip love this book?

I actually think that Shaara has outdone his father. Both, of course, weave the story around actual historical events, although Shaara Junior’s introduction of fictional characters livens the narrative up. I’ve enjoyed all of Shaara’s books, regardless of their historical setting, but I chose this one because it was a good way for me to learn more about the Civil War post-Gettysburg and also have a really good read.

By Jeff Shaara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Full Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Pulitzer prize–winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. In the bestselling Gods and Generals, Shaara’s son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father’s vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.
 
As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians…


Book cover of A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Author Of Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

From my list on the naval history of the American Civil War.

Who am I?

I’m a lover of the sea, ships, seamen, and their histories, particularly of navies in the Civil War. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy (1967) with a history major, I served twenty years as a surface warfare officer (ship driver) on most oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam. I earned an M.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Systems Management. Now as a historian, author, and speaker, I’m committed to communicating our naval heritage in an educational and entertaining manner for old hands and new generations. Writing about ships is the next best thing to driving them.

Dwight's book list on the naval history of the American Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Why did Dwight love this book?

Although the Civil War was principally a land conflict, naval contributions were fundamental, not just peripheral or supporting. This excellent operational and campaign overview examines social, political, and technological revolutions in Western warfare leading to and through the struggle. It deals primarily with terrestrial warfare, but unlike many such works, places waterborne operations in context and gives the navy its due. Steam propulsion and industrial superiority produced massive Union naval power for a strangling blockade, fortress-busting warship squadrons, and an unprecedented riverine fleet. The Confederacy’s coasts and seaports constituted a third major theater while in the west, rivers were avenues of invasion and conquest. Chapter 5 contains a cogent discussion of “The Unfulfilled Promise of Joint [Army-Navy] Operations.” Highly recommended as a well-integrated military-naval history.

By Williamson Murray, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Savage War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the Civil War changed the face of war

The Civil War represented a momentous change in the character of war. It combined the projection of military might across a continent on a scale never before seen with an unprecedented mass mobilization of peoples. Yet despite the revolutionizing aspects of the Civil War, its leaders faced the same uncertainties and vagaries of chance that have vexed combatants since the days of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. A Savage War sheds critical new light on this defining chapter in military history.

In a masterful narrative that propels readers from the first…


Book cover of Grant

Ron McFarland Author Of Edward J. Steptoe and the Indian Wars: Life on the Frontier, 1815-1865

From my list on biographies of army officers who wrested the West.

Who am I?

I’m a retired English prof with a lifelong interest in history. My father fostered my fascination with Civil War battlefields, and growing up in Florida, I studied the Seminole wars in school and later at FSU. While teaching at the University of Idaho (nearly 50 years), I pursued my interest in the Indian wars of the mid-19th century and developed a curiosity about tribes in the inland Northwest, notably the Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, and Nez Perce. My critical biography of Blackfeet novelist James Welch occasioned reading and research on the Plains tribes. I recommend his nonfiction book, Killing Custer: The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate the Plains Indians.

Ron's book list on biographies of army officers who wrested the West

Ron McFarland Why did Ron love this book?

I’m admittedly self-impressed, having read this volume of nearly a thousand papers, poky reader that I am. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer strikes me as little short of brilliant with this masterpiece on Ulysses S. Grant, whose military career began with distinguished service in the Mexican War and overlaps with that of Steptoe, subject of my biography. Chernow focuses much of his book on Grant’s Civil War service, but his relevance to my theme is the subject of Grant’s presidency, taken up in later pages. Like many officers who served in the West before and after the Civil War, Grant recognized that white incursions on Indian lands were largely to blame for the violence out West, and he was sympathetic to their plight. Custer’s defeat occurred during Grant’s second administration.

By Ron Chernow,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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 Coates, The 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…


Book cover of The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848

Nick Vulich Author Of 1861

From my list on capturing the essence of the Civil War.

Who am I?

What could be cooler to a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s than the Civil War? TV spoon-fed us westerns—Bonanza, F-Troop, The Lone Ranger, and The Wild, Wild West. Many of the stories were set during the Civil War or had characters molded by it. And then, somewhere in the mid-1960s, my parents took me to a civil war reenactment. Guns cracked. Cannons boomed, and men fell. I was hooked. I’ve devoured every Civil War book I could get my hands on for the past fifty years and watched every movie remotely connected to the subject. So, it’s only natural I wrote a book about it.

Nick's book list on capturing the essence of the Civil War

Nick Vulich Why did Nick love this book?

The Mexican War molded the generals who fought in it. They formed lifelong friendships that ceased for a short while during the Civil War, then resumed as soon as it was over. Clever men, like Ulysses S. Grant, remembered how their opponents acted during the Mexican War, then used that information to formulate their battle plans.

Grant was cocky and overconfident going into the Fort Donelson campaign. His experiences in Mexico told him General Pillow would play it safe and let him march up to the fort with any size force. And later, when he assumed command of all the Union armies, Grant shifted the paradigm. While most Union commanders saw Robert E. Lee as unbeatable, Grant knew he was mortal. That was the secret sauce that carried him through the Wilderness campaign.

I loved the writing style on this one. If you’re unfamiliar with Martin Dugard, he is co-author…

By Martin Dugard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Training Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For four years during the Civil War, Generals Grant and Lee clashed as bitter enemies in a war that bloodied and scorched the American landscape. Yet in an earlier time, they had worn the same uniform and fought together. In The Training Ground, acclaimed historian Martin Dugard presents the saga of how, two decades before the Civil War, a group of West Point graduates-including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and William Tecumseh Sherman-fought together as brothers. Drawing on a range of primary sources and original research, Dugard paints a gripping narrative of the Mexican War,…


Book cover of Grant Takes Command

Lance Weller Author Of Wilderness

From my list on American Civil War history reads like literature.

Who am I?

I came to Civil War studies fairly late in life but still relatively callow, by a route too roundabout to explain. But after reading James McPherson’s, Battle Cry of Freedom (there’s a bonus book!), I found I had a love of every facet of the era. The only thing I’d ever wanted to be was a writer and, as I delved deeper into the vast body of literature on the American Civil War, I finally felt as if I’d found the subject I could pour all my passion into (that and my enduring love of dogs). My novel Wilderness, along with a few novels published in French, was the result.

Lance's book list on American Civil War history reads like literature

Lance Weller Why did Lance love this book?

Bruce Catton wrote extensively about the noble but ill-starred Army of the Potomac and is widely known for his wonderful trilogy recounting that army’s path through the American Civil War. With Grant Takes Command, Catton looks west for a time toward General Ulysses S. Grant and how he came east to lead all the Union armies toward eventual victory. Recounting Grant’s (and the country’s) journey from the opening of the cracker line in Chattanooga in 1863, through the Battle of the Wilderness (a subject that captured my imagination!) and the Overland Campaign and on to Appomattox Courthouse and the surrender of the Confederacy, Catton’s book moves through its narrative with a style and verve to match any piece of gripping fiction. 

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grant Takes Command as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forming the second part in Grant's biography, the sequel to "Grant Moves South" follows his victory at Chattanooga and subsequent promotion to Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces. The book also provides information as to how the Civil War was won and follows Grant as he directs military operations throughout the last year of the war. The author has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.


Book cover of A Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists

Ruth Brandon Author Of Surreal Lives: The Surrealists 1917-1945

From my list on group biographies.

Who am I?

I love writing group biographies (I‘ve written four and my next book, Spellbound by Marcel: Duchamp, Love, and Art, will be another). I enjoy the intellectual scope they offer, the way they let you explore a world. I’m less interested in the details of individual lives than in the opportunity biography offers to explore social history, and group biography is particularly suited to that. They’re not easy to do, it’s no good putting down just one damn life after another, but I enjoy the challenge of finding the shape that will let me fit everyone’s personalities and ideas into a coherent story. 

Ruth's book list on group biographies

Ruth Brandon Why did Ruth love this book?

Cohen spent a year driving through America accompanied only by two crates of books. She realised, reading them, how many of their authors had met, more or less significantly, one another, from Mark Twain and Henry James to James Baldwin and Elizabeth Bishop. The result was this daisy-chain book. It’s fascinating, illuminating, and utterly charming.

By Rachel Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Chance Meeting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Each chapter of A Chance Meeting takes up an actual encounter between two historical figures. As Rachel Cohen writes in her introduction: 'They met in ordinary ways - a careful arrangement after long admiration, a friend's casual introduction, or because they both just happened to be standing near the drinks. They talked to each other for a few hours or for forty years, and later it seemed to them impossible that they could have missed each other.' A Chance Meeting opens with a young Henry James in the studio of the great Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, and captures the…


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