Biography

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American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America's greatest generals--and most misunderstood presidents

Winner of the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography - Finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Military History Book Prize

In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the "Trinity of Great American Leaders." But the battlefield commander-turned-commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.

Based on seven years of research with primary documents--some of them never examined by previous Grant scholars--this is destined to become the Grant biography of our time. White, a biographer exceptionally skilled at writing momentous history from the inside out, shows Grant to be a generous, curious, introspective man and leader--a willing delegator with a natural gift for managing the rampaging egos of his fellow officers. His wife, Julia Dent Grant, long marginalized in the historic record, emerges in her own right as a spirited and influential partner.

Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government's policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs. Published by Mark Twain, it is widely considered to be the greatest autobiography by an American leader, but its place in Grant's life story has never been fully explored--until now.

One of those rare books that successfully recast our impression of an iconic historical figure, American Ulysses gives us a finely honed, three-dimensional portrait of Grant the man--husband, father, leader, writer--that should set the standard by which all future biographies of him will be measured.

Praise for American Ulysses

"[Ronald C. White] portrays a deeply introspective man of ideals, a man of measured thought and careful action who found himself in the crosshairs of American history at its most crucial moment."--USA Today

"White delineates Grant's virtues better than any author before. . . . By the end, readers will see how fortunate the nation was that Grant went into the world--to save the Union, to lead it and, on his deathbed, to write one of the finest memoirs in all of American letters."--The New York Times Book Review

"Ronald White has restored Ulysses S. Grant to his proper place in history with a biography whose breadth and tone suit the man perfectly. Like Grant himself, this book will have staying power."--The Wall Street Journal

"Magisterial . . . Grant's esteem in the eyes of historians has increased significantly in the last generation. . . . [American Ulysses] is the newest heavyweight champion in this movement."--The Boston Globe

"Superb . . . illuminating, inspiring and deeply moving."--Chicago Tribune

"In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior."--Newsday

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Echoes from a Pioneer Life

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The subject of this autobiography, Jared Maurice Arter, was born a slave Jan. 27, 1850. He first saw the light in a little one-room log cabin, on a small farm lying on both sides of the Winchester Turnpike and the Shepherdstown Highway, at their crossing. The Big House on this farm, located four miles from each, marked the half-way point between the now famous towns of Harper's Ferry and Charles Town both in Jefferson County, W. Va. Jared well remembers the John Brown Raid and the great excitement arising therefrom. The master of the Little plantation, William Schaeffer, of Pennsylvania Dutch extraction, was inspector of arms in the United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry. He was accustomed to rise and leave home on horseback at 5 o'clock of mornings, to eat breakfast with his mother and father in Bolivar, and to go from there to his work in the arsenal. On the morning of the John Brown Raid he left at 5 o'clock as usual. Soon the news spread that Brown and his men had made a raid through the county on the previous night, had taken into custody a number of the leading citizens, had captured Harper's Ferry and the arsenal and had barricaded himself and his men in the engine-house of the armory and was holding the captured citizens as prisoners or hostages.
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General A.P. Hill The Story of a Confederate Warrior

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A Confederate general who ranks with Lee, Jeb Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson but whose achievements have been unfairly neglected until now, finally receives his due in this invaluable biography by a noted historian of the Civil War. Drawing extensively on newly unearthed documents, this work provides a gripping battle-by-battle assessment of Hill's role in Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and other battles. 8 pages of photographs.
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Major General Robert E. Rodes of the Army of Northern Virginia

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FINALIST FOR BIOGRAPHY, 2008, ARMY HISTORICAL FOUNDATION DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARD

WINNER, 2009, THE DOUGLAS SOUTHALL FREEMAN AWARD FOR BEST BOOK ON SOUTHERN HISTORY

Jedediah Hotchkiss, Stonewall Jackson's renowned mapmaker, expressed the feelings of many contemporaries when he declared that Robert Rodes was the best division commander in the Army of Northern Virginia. This well-deserved accolade is all the more remarkable considering that Rodes, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a prewar railroad engineer, was one of a very few officers in Lee's army to rise so high without the benefit of a West Point education. Major General Robert E. Rodes of the Army of Northern Virginia: A Biography, is the first deeply researched scholarly biography on this remarkable Confederate officer.

From First Manassas in 1861 to Third Winchester in 1864, Rodes served in all the great battles and campaigns of the legendary Army of Northern Virginia. He quickly earned a reputation as a courageous and inspiring leader who delivered hard-hitting attacks and rock steady defensive efforts. His greatest moment came at Chancellorsville in the spring of 1863, when he spearheaded Stonewall Jackson's famous flank attack that crushed the left wing of General Hooker's Army of the Potomac.

Rodes began the conflict with a deep yearning for recognition and glory, coupled with an indifferent attitude toward religion and salvation. When he was killed at the height of his glorious career at Third Winchester on September 19, 1864, a trove of prayer books and testaments were found on his corpse.

Based upon exhaustive new research, Darrell Collins's new biography breathes life into a heretofore largely overlooked Southern soldier. Although Rodes' widow consigned his personal papers to the flames after the war, Collins has uncovered a substantial amount of firsthand information to complete this compelling portrait of one of Robert E. Lee's most dependable field generals.

Darrell L. Collins is the author of several books on the Civil War, including General William Averell's Salem Raid: Breaking the Knoxville Supply Line (1999) and Jackson's Valley Campaign: The Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic (The Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series, 1993). A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Darrell and his wife Judith recently relocated to Conifer, Colorado.

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Shadow of Shiloh Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War

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Thirty-two Years after the battle of Shiloh Lew Wallace returned to the battlefield, mapping the route of his April 1962 march. Ulysses S. Grant, Wallace's commander at Shiloh, attributed Wallace's late arrival to the battle to a failure to obey orders. Shiloh still defines Wallace's military reputation, overshadowing the rest of his stellar military career.

Wallace was devoted to the Union, but he was also pursuing glory, fame, and honor when he volunteered to serve in April 1861. Author Stephens specifically addresses Wallace's military career and its place in the larger context of Civil War military history.

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Sherman's March The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's

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Sherman's March is the vivid narrative of General William T. Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in the closing days of the Civil War. Weaving together hundreds of eyewitness stories, Burke Davis graphically brings to life the dramatic experiences of the 65,000 Federal troops who plundered their way through the South and those of the anguished -- and often defiant -- Confederate women and men who sought to protect themselves and their family treasures, usually in vain. Dominating these events is the general himself -- "Uncle Billy" to his troops, the devil incarnate to the Southerners he encountered.

"What gives this narrative its unusual richness is the author's collation of hundreds of eyewitness accounts...The actions are described in the words, often picturesque and often eloquent, of those who were there, either as participants -- Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers -- in the fighting and destruction or as victims of Sherman's frank vow to 'make Georgia howl.' Mr. Davis intercuts these scenes with closeups of the chief actors in this nightmarish drama, and he also manages to give us a coherent historical account of the whole episode. A powerful illustration of the proposition put forth in Sherman's most famous remark." -- The New Yorker

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Ulysses S. Grant Personal Memoirs Penguin Classics

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"The foremost military memoir in the English language, written in a clear, supple style . . . a masterpiece." --Ron Chernow, in Grant

Faced with cancer and financial ruin, Ulysses S. Grant wrote his personal memoirs to secure his family's future--and won himself a unique place in American letters. Acclaimed by writers as diverse as Mark Twain and Gertrude Stein, Grant's memoirs demonstrate the intelligence, intense determination, and laconic modesty that made him the Union's foremost commander. Personal Memoirs is devoted almost entirely to his life as a soldier, tracing the trajectory of his extraordinary career from West Point cadet to general-in-chief of all Union armies. With their directness and clarity, his writings on war are without rival in American literature.

This edition of Grant's Personal Memoirs includes an indispensable introduction and explanatory notes by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson.