Don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I’m sensing a theme.Civil War book reviews are rare - it's unusual to get three high profile such. When they do appear, as in this case, they can end up addressing a book of no merit.
Bonds, WSJ: “. . . the book provides little analysis of Grant’s generalship. Battles are described but not dissected, and Mr. Brands presents no new sources or revelations.”
Foner, WaPo: “What Brands does not do, however, is present new interpretive insights on questions that have engaged generations of historians. . . .”
Sears(!), MHQ: “There is . . . a lack of critical analysis, especially in Grant's often complex relationship with the Lincoln administration, and little explication of just what Grant possessed that was so lacking in other Civil War generals.”
BTW, Sears needs new authors to stress that special something that validates Grant and invalidates his predecessors or his storylines fall apart. The complexity-relationship comment, meanwhile, is a nod to Brooks Simpson.
A lack of critical analysis? Hallmark of pop history.