10 books like Ulysses S. Grant; His Life and Character

By Hamlin Garland,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Ulysses S. Grant; His Life and Character. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

By John F. Marszalek, Ulysses S. Grant,

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 the 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

Discover why each book is one of Craig's favorite books.

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.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

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…


Grant Moves South

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of Grant Moves South

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

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Donald's favorite books.

Why did Donald love this book?

The war’s greatest military historian takes on its greatest military figure in Bruce Catton’s spirited two-volume classic: Grant Moves South and Grant Takes Command. Written decades ago, these paired volumes remain the finest historical account of Grant’s triumphant Civil War career. In the opening volume, we meet the recently minted brigadier in September 1861 as he prepares to join his army at desolate Cairo, Illinois, having just recovered from a succession of crushing personal failures. In the concluding volume, we leave him at Petersburg Virginia in April 1865, after he demolishes R. E. Lee’s army in the climactic battle of the war. Wannabe revisionists think Catton is outdated. Don’t believe them.

Grant Moves South

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first part of the military biography of Ulysses S. Grant and follows Grant from the summer of 1861 when he takes on his first Civil War command through battles at Belmont, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg to the summer of 1863. The author has used letters, diaries and despatches in order to provide a rounded picture of this general's personality. "Grant Takes Command" forms the second part of this biography.


Campaigning with Grant

By Horace Porter,

Book cover of Campaigning with Grant

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

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Donald's favorite books.

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…

Campaigning with Grant

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…


U. S. Grant

By Joan Waugh,

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 the 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

Discover why each book is one of Lindsay's favorite books.

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.

U. S. Grant

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,…


Sherman's Civil War

By Brooks D. Simpson (editor), Jean V. Berlin (editor),

Book cover of Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865

Candice Shy Hooper Author Of Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War--For Better and for Worse

From the list on William Tecumseh Sherman.

Who am I?

I was fated to write about war. Born on Guam to a Navy hospital corpsman and his intrepid wife, I spent four years on tank-littered beaches of Saipan and sailed to Japan on a U.S. Navy LST at the age of seven. When I graduated from college with a major in journalism, a Navy man, the late great Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson hired me as his press secretary, and we talked military history even as he made it in Afghanistan. Thirty-three years later, I went back to school for an MA in History. As I write, my great grandfather’s bugle from the Spanish-American War and the flag that covered my father’s coffin at his Arlington Cemetery funeral sit atop my shelves of military history books.

Candice's book list on William Tecumseh Sherman

Discover why each book is one of Candice's favorite books.

Why did Candice love this book?

Who doesn’t like to read other people’s mail? And if you’re going to do it, why not read the best? Sherman was as prolific as he was eloquent. Brooks Simpson and Jean Berlin, two of our best Civil War scholars, compiled and annotated hundreds of Sherman’s wartime letters to his family, friends, and enemies.

Though he was often circumspect in his letters, fearing they might be stolen and published by the newspapers he hated, you can feel the emotion in his letters that you don’t find in his Memoirs. Every page contains a thought, a sentence, a phrase that stays in the reader’s mind.

“You remember what Polonius spoke to his son Laertes, ‘Beware a quarrel, but being in, bear it, that thy oppressor may beware of thee.’ What is true of a single man is equally true of a Nation.”

Sherman's Civil War

By Brooks D. Simpson (editor), Jean V. Berlin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherman's Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first major modern edition of the wartime correspondence of General William T. Sherman, this volume features more than 400 letters written between the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the day Sherman bade farewell to his troops in 1865. Together, they trace Sherman's rise from obscurity to become one of the Union's most famous and effective warriors.
Arranged chronologically and grouped into chapters that correspond to significant phases in Sherman's life, the letters--many of which have never before been published--reveal Sherman's thoughts on politics, military operations, slavery and emancipation, the South, and daily life in the Union army,…


Lincoln As I Knew Him

By Harold Holzer (editor),

Book cover of Lincoln As I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies

Sam Rawlins Author Of Young Lincoln of New Salem

From the list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln.

Who am I?

From the age of ten, I became enthralled with Abraham Lincoln. The story of his life captured my imagination. I had to know more about him. Through the decades I searched out little-known stories, eyewitness accounts, and letters thought lost. Becoming fascinated how he went from an almost illiterate young man to becoming the person we know from history; I went to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield Illinois and to where he lived in New Salem to do additional research. After that, I started writing a three-year labor of love: my own Lincoln book, primarily focusing on one key period of his life. 

Sam's book list on fascinating information about Abraham Lincoln

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Why did Sam love this book?

An amazing collection of remembrances from both those who loved and hated him. I managed to read all of these first-hand recollections in one evening, feeling like I got to know the essence of Lincoln. Several who met him said, “No man living has a kinder heart.” From those who knew him best, you get the feeling that Lincoln was a sensitive, sincere man who never really knew one as a stranger. Harold Holzer, the author, did a brilliant job compiling and editing this book.

Lincoln As I Knew Him

By Harold Holzer (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln As I Knew Him as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forget what you think you know about Abraham Lincoln. Yes, he was a brilliant orator, a shrewd politician, and a determined leader who guided us through the bloodiest war in American history. But he also was a terrible dresser, rarely bothered to comb his hair, annoyed his colleagues by constantly reading out loud, loved raunchy stories, and let his kids run all over him.

Author and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sifted through nineteenth-century letters, diary entries, books, and speeches written by people who knew Lincoln and offers up the real skinny on the man who was arguably America's greatest president.…


Grant

By Ron Chernow,

Book cover of Grant

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

From the 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

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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.

Grant

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…


A Chance Meeting

By Rachel Cohen,

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

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

From the 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

Discover why each book is one of Ruth's favorite books.

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.

A Chance Meeting

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…


Grant Takes Command

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of Grant Takes Command

Lance Weller Author Of Wilderness

From the 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

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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. 

Grant Takes Command

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.


The Last Full Measure

By Jeff Shaara,

Book cover of The Last Full Measure

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

From the 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

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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.

The Last Full Measure

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…


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