Randy's Reviews > Grant Takes Command 1863-1865

Grant Takes Command 1863-1865 by Bruce Catton
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's review
Dec 09, 09

Read in November, 2009

This is an excellent second-half of Mr. Catton’s military biography of Grant. In the first half, Grant Moves South, we experience Grant evolving as a General. In Grant Takes Command we still experience Grant’s evolution, but also his stubborn determination to win the war against many obstacles: Lee, the Washington bureaucracy, and the petty in-fighting between Union generals.

Grant, we see, was a great diplomat, and only a great diplomat could have balanced so many opposing forces and held the Union army together.
And so, Mr. Catton brings Grant, a humble likeable man, to life, partly by reprinting many of his important letters and telegrams, including some to his loving wife. Page after page we feel we are alongside Grant and know him as an often-underrated military strategist, and also a husband and father.

But it’s not just Grant who comes to life. So do most of the other major characters. Mr. Catton, therefore, never allows us to forget that war, for better or worse, is not just about strategy, but also about personalities and character.

All the battles in the eastern theatre are well described, though not in great depth. (If they had been the book would have probably lost its focus.)

To me, the only weakness of the book is a lack of maps and of photographs of the main characters.

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Reading Progress

11/13/2009 page 170
30.58% "Excellent so far. A worthy second half of Catton's Military biography of Grant."
11/13/2009 page 170
30.58% "A worthy second-half of Catton's military biography of Grant. Characters come to life."

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