Grant Takes Command Author:Bruce Catton BRUCE CATTON - WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE — GRANT TAKES COMMAND - 1863-65 — In the summer of 1863 after the climactic battle at Vicksburg, Lincoln's government was more interested in Ulysses Simpson Grant than any other man alive. Although he was their most successful soldier, few men in Washington had even met him. Over the next several months ... more »his face, his morals, his total conduct would become commonly known and discussed by a nation tragically divided by the Civil War. Richard Henry Dana, Jr., was later to describe him as having "no gait, no manner, and no station -- and as looking like "nobody at all." Yet as his close comrade-in-arms, General William T. Sherman, put it: "To me he is a mystery, and I believe he is a mystery to himself."
GRANT TAKES COMMAND gives us invaluable assistance in untangling the enigma of this remarkable Union warrior who has puzzled so many for so long. It gives a detailed and revealing portrait of Grant during the last year and a half of war. Because he was made commander in chief after his decisive victory at Chattanooga, the account of his activities becomes in essence the story of how the war was won. As any good history should, it thereby answers the crucial questions concerning its topic - why Lincoln concluded that this was the one general who could win the war for him; how Grant kept his footing amidst the tangle of political snares that had brought many of his predecessors to grief; and why Robert E. Lee was unable to break out of this Yankee's grip and frustrate his aim, as that courtly Confederate had done so successfully heretofore. Thus the book shows what sort of man it was whom Lincoln took into partnership and what that man did with his share of the responsibilities.
Bruce Catton has written that the Civil War "was the biggest thing that ever happened to us. It was our Illiad and our Odyssey -- and it remains our least understood war." The previous works of this extended Grant biography, Lloyd Lewis's CAPTAIN SAM GRANT and Mr. Catton's GRANT MOVES SOUTH, and the present third volume, GRANT TAKES COMMAND, have done much to end that misunderstanding by rendering a definitive account of the voyage and trials of America's own legendary Ulysses - the man and the paradox - during his epic struggle.« less