On Our Shelves Now
Ulysses S. Grant reflects on the crucial moments of his life as a husband, a father, a general, and a president while writing his memoirs and reckoning with his complicated legacy in this epic and intimate work of “superb historical fiction” (Booklist, starred review).
Barely able to walk and rendered mute by the cancer metastasizing in his throat, Ulysses S. Grant is scratching out words, hour after hour, day after day. Desperate to complete his memoirs before his death so his family might have some financial security and he some redemption, Grant journeys back in time.
He had once been the savior of the Union, the general to whom Lee surrendered at Appomattox, a twice-elected president who fought for the civil rights of Black Americans and against the rising Ku Klux Klan, a plain farmer-turned-business magnate who lost everything to a Wall Street swindler, a devoted husband to his wife Julia, and a loving father to four children. In this gorgeously rendered and moving novel, Grant rises from the page in all of his contradictions and foibles, his failures and triumphs.
Moving from blood-stained battlefields to Gilded Age New York, the novel explores how Grant’s own views on race and Reconstruction changed over time. “A graceful, moving narrative” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) from historical fiction master Jon Clinch, this evocatively crafted novel breathes fresh life into an American icon.
About the Author
Jon Clinch is the author of the acclaimed novels Finn, Kings of the Earth, The Thief of Auschwitz, Belzoni Dreams of Egypt, Marley, and The General and Julia. A native of upstate New York, Jon lives with his wife in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Find out more at JonClinch.com.
“Affecting...As the story shifts between Grant’s arduous final days penning his memoirs and scenes from his life as war hero and president, a portrait emerges of realization, regret, and newfound humility.” –Christian Science Monitor, a Best Book of the Month Pick
“Clinch’s compelling study conveys the complicated legacy of Grant, who had no pretense for pageantry, deeply loved his wife and children, and treated everyone with decent human kindness. A remarkable novel, utterly gripping.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Epic in perspective and feeling…sublime prose…Superb historical fiction.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Every once in a while I read a book that is so utterly fascinating that I can’t stop talking about it. Jon Clinch’s The General and Julia is that book. We meet Ulysses S. Grant as we’ve never seen him before—not just an American hero, but a loving husband, and a somewhat reluctant celebrity caught up in the razzamatazz of Gilded Age America. A love story, a compelling piece of American history, a page-turner, with a star-studded cast of characters—not since All the Light We Cannot See have I read such a perfect example of what historical fiction should be. I predict that every book club will soon be reading this book.” —Elizabeth Letts, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of A Perfect Horse and The Ride of Her Life
“A graceful, moving narrative…affecting…an empathetic portrait of a towering figure.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A sweeping, monumental portrait of Ulysses S. Grant…Paired with Clinch’s elegant, assured prose, the result is dazzlingly good, evocatively crafted and emotionally resonant. Perfect for lovers of American history and historical fiction fans alike.” —Bookreporter
“In a deft dialogue between the past and present, Jon Clinch presents General Grant as a humble man of deep integrity, who in the depth of grave illness revisits his many sacrifices, financial struggles, perceived failures and perilous triumphs as he writes his memoirs in a quest to save his family from financial ruin before he dies. My God, Jon Clinch can write. This story is luminous and palpable, and made me fall in love with the mastery of Jon Clinch, the writer, but also with Grant, just as a grateful nation once did. This is the best book I’ve read in an age. “ —Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter, the bestselling novel and winner of the Michael Shaara Award for excellence in Civil War Fiction