Grant book reviews

With the 120th anniversary of the publication of Grant's autobiography, some reviews are accompanying the reissue, as reported here last month.

This particular report is written by an enthusiast who begins his piece by saying "Mark Twain called it a masterpiece..." Well, indeed, Twain might do that if he were publishing the book and if it were the flagship release of his new trade press and if he personally edited the tome. Not to be cynical about a good read, but please find an endorsement not connected with the project.

There's more of the same wide-eyed stuff where that came from.

Elsewhere, the Civil War author Michael Aubrecht reviews the new Grant book by Michael Ballard and spoils his piece with little disclosures like "One revelation I found startling was the constant back-stabbing that occurred among generals of the same army..." Good grief, Aubrecht.

His other disclosures stir up the legend a little bit [emphasis added]:
Grant was unfairly held responsible for multiple stalemates and defeats that left his service record tarnished in the eyes of the War Department. [...] Only through his own tenacity and perseverance was Grant able to escape retribution from the leaders in Washington.
Oh my, where did "Lincoln finds a general" go?

The excesses of Centennial Doctrine have left many readers vulnerable to that kind of information. And what can they make of the reviewer's remarks when he writes, "Despite having a reputation for indecisiveness and erratic decision-making ..."

Grant, indecisive and erratic. Persecuted by Washington bigs. These are sidelines in a meandering piece, which suggests that Aubrecht's review may have missed the central points of interest offered in Ballard's new book.