Critical Review of Ulysses S Grant: the Soldier and the Man

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Joshua Desrosiers

Professor Paquette

American History from 1877

17 February 2012

General Ulysses S. Grant: The Soldier and The Man

The book I selected to write a critical review essay about is Edward G. Longacre’s General Ulysses S. Grant: The Soldier and The Man. It was published in Cambridge, MA by Da Capo Press, a subsidiary of the Perseus Books Group, in 2006. The author’s main goal in writing this biography of General Grant was to offer some insight into his mind and try to give evidence to support how he acted and why he did so. He sought to examine the effects Grant’s moral, ethical and religious views and to make the life and the decisions of General Grant more understandable to the general public.

The book is a historic account of General Ulysses S. Grant’s life, from birth up until the end of the Civil War and into his resignation from the army. It places heavy influence on his childhood, his parents, and his wife Julia Grant. It seeks to discuss and examine the influences these people of these, as well as his upbringing, had throughout his life and how they affected his actions and the decisions he made during the Civil War. The book is organized chronologically and has effective support and evidence for the arguments it makes by citing numerous interviews with officers who served alongside Grant, as well as Grant’s personal memoirs themselves.

In this book, notable Civil War historian Edward G. Longacre investigates Grant’s life and the various relationships he had with superior officers, his subordinates, and with his wife. In discussing these relationships, a primary focus is placed on one aspect of General Grant’s life: his “heavy” alcoholism, as well as its conjunction and confliction with his devout religious affiliations and beliefs within the Methodist Church. He asserts that many of the behaviors and rash decisions Grant made, he did so under the influence of alcohol, and that alcoholism plagued Grant’s life on and off...
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