Lee and Grant: A Dual Biography

Open Road Media
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A biography of the two gifted Civil War commanders from a New York Times–bestselling author: “A great story . . . History at its best” (Publishers Weekly).

Their names are forever linked in the history of the Civil War, but Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant could not have been more dissimilar. Lee came from a world of Southern gentility and aristocratic privilege while Grant had coarser, more common roots in the Midwest. As a young officer trained in the classic mold, Lee graduated from West Point at the top of his class and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. Grant’s early military career was undistinguished and marred by rumors of drunkenness.
 
As commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Lee’s early victories demoralized the Union Army and cemented his reputation as a brilliant tactician. Meanwhile, Grant struggled mightily to reach the top of the Union command chain. His iron will eventually helped turn the tide of the war, however, and in April 1864, President Abraham Lincoln gave Grant command of all Union forces. A year later, he accepted Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox Court House.
 
With brilliance and deep feeling, New York Times–bestselling author Gene Smith brings the Civil War era to vivid life and tells the dramatic story of two remarkable men as they rise to glory and reckon with the bitter aftermath of the bloodiest conflict in American history. Never before have students of American history been treated to a more personal, comprehensive, and achingly human portrait of Lee and Grant.
 
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About the author

Gene Smith (1929–2012) was an acclaimed historian and biographer and the author of When the Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow Wilson (1964), a poignant portrait of the president’s final months in the White House that spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Born in Manhattan and educated at the University of Wisconsin, Smith was drafted into the army and served in Germany in the early 1950s. He began his career at Newsweek and reported for the Newark Star-Ledger and the New York Post before leaving journalism to write full-time. His popular biographies include The Shattered Dream: Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression (1970), Lee and Grant: A Dual Biography (1984), and American Gothic: The Story of America’s Legendary Theatrical Family—Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth (1992). For many years, Smith and his wife and daughter lived in a house built by a Revolutionary War veteran in Pine Plains, New York, and raised thoroughbred horses.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Oct 4, 2016
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Pages
412
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ISBN
9781504039758
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / Strategy
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A New York Times–bestselling author’s “lively” account of a family of famous actors—who became notorious after the assassination of President Lincoln (The New Yorker).

Junius Booth and his sons, Edwin and John Wilkes, were nineteenth-century America’s most famous theatrical family. Yet the Booth name is forever etched in the history books for one terrible reason: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.
 
In American Gothic, bestselling historian Gene Smith vividly chronicles the triumphs, scandals, and tragedies of this infamous family. The preeminent English tragedian of his day, Junius Booth was a madman and an alcoholic who abandoned his wife and young son to move to America and start a new family. His son Edwin became the most renowned Shakespearean actor in America, famously playing Hamlet for one hundred consecutive nights, but he suffered from depression and a crippling fear of inheriting his father’s insanity.
 
Blessed with extraordinary good looks and a gregarious nature, John Wilkes Booth seemed destined for spectacular fame and fortune. However, his sympathy for the Confederate cause unleashed a dangerous instability that brought permanent disgrace to his family and forever changed the course of American history.
 
Richly detailed and emotionally insightful, American Gothic is a “ripping good tale” that brings to life the true story behind a family tragedy of Shakespearean proportions (The New York Times).
The Art of War is a classic of military strategy. It is ascribed to Sun Tzu, also called Sunzi or Sun Wu, a quasi-legendary figure. The work has been dated from between the 6th to the 3rd century BCE. It is known worldwide and is considered required reading for students of political and military science.

As with other classics, many of its themes are timeless. Quotations from the work can be meaningful apart from the thousands of years which separate us from the time and place of its creation.

The Art of War is itself a brief work. However, it is generally packaged with extensive commentary and additional essays, so that it appears to be a book of around 200 pages or more. (This new modern edition is only 40 pages in length.)

Much of what is added to these editions is only interesting to academics or students of the minutiae of history. At the same time, the intentions of readers tends to be to find out what it is that makes this work such a classic, not learn about the history of its commentaries.

This new edition meant to address the needs of the modern reader. By honing the language down to clear formulations, The Art of War can be more readily understood, more enjoyable to read, and more relevant to today.

The English is based on the original translation by Lionel Giles. The 1910 English prose of Giles is awkward to our modern ears, and slows down our reading and appreciation of this classic.

The new modern edition of The Art of War is meant to communicate the authentic essence and meaning of this work in modern, accessible English prose. This version is an abridgement, a shortened form of a work which nevertheless retains the same meaning and upholds the unity of the original.

Abridgement is foremost a cutting away of the inessential parts, which ends up in condensing the work. The key to abridging is to ensure the prose is extremely clear and transparent in meaning, requiring little additional guidance or interpretation to reach understanding.
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