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Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian


Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian is a comprehensive, multi-theater, war-long comparison of the commanding general skills of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Unlike most analyses, Bonekemper clarifies the impact both generals had on the outcome of the Civil War - namely, the assistance that Lee provided to Grant by Lee's excessive casualties in Virginia, the consequent drain of Confederate resources from Grant's battlefronts, and Lee's refusal and delay of reinforcements to the combat...

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Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian

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Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian is a comprehensive, multi-theater, war-long comparison of the commanding general skills of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Unlike most analyses, Bonekemper clarifies the impact both generals had on the outcome of the Civil War - namely, the assistance that Lee provided to Grant by Lee's excessive casualties in Virginia, the consequent drain of Confederate resources from Grant's battlefronts, and Lee's refusal and delay of reinforcements to the combat areas where Grant was operating. The reader will be left astounded by the level of aggression both generals employed to secure victory for their respective causes, demonstrating that Grant was a national general whose tactics were consistent with achieving Union victory, whereas Lee's own priorities constantly undermined the Confederacy's chances of winning the war.

Building on the detailed accounts of both generals' major campaigns and battles, this book provides a detailed comparison of the primary military and personal traits of the two generals. That analysis supports the preface discussion and the chapter-by-chapter conclusions that Grant did what the North needed to do to win the war: be aggressive, eliminate enemy armies, and do so with minimal casualties (154,000), while Lee was too offensive for the undermanned Confederacy, suffered intolerable casualties (209,000), and allowed his obsession with the Commonwealth of Virginia to obscure the broader interests of the Confederacy. In addition, readers will find interest in the 18 clean-cut and lucid battle maps as well as a comprehensive set of appendices that describes the casualties incurred by each army, battle by battle.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For those interested in Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee (and really, what Civil War addict isn't?), this book is a must read. Bonekemper convincingly demonstrates that Grant was the better general and has conducted some ground breaking analyses of Lee's performance….This is a very well thought-out work."


The NYMAS Review

"Bonekemper has pulled together an impressive narrative. He writes easily and readers will no doubt enjoy his barbed analysis throughout."


America's Civil War

"[A] remarkably concise and coherent narrative of the war that sweeps aside the irrelevancies and focuses on the campaigns that decided the war."


Civil War Book Review

"A surprisingly interesting new perspective to the ever-burgeoning scholarship on these Civil War icons….this rigorously researched book will serve as a useful launching point for intellectual discussion regarding the legacies of these legendary commanders."


The Journal of Military History

"To his credit, Bonekemper cites a number of prominent historians to lend credence to the various schools surrounding the merits of Grant's and Lee's generalship. Readers will find the detailed appendices and notes well worth the cost of the book. Two appendices specifically address conflicting casualty rates in every major battle and campaign fought by Grant and Lee. In addition, superior maps throughout the text add to the readers compension of the various campaigns."



"This careful, thoughtful examination of the wartime careers of Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee is a testimonial to a scholar at the height of his powers. In this brilliant extension of his 2004 book on the generalship of Grant (A Victor, Not a Butcher, CH, May'05, 42-5456), Bonekemper convincingly demolishes the long-held belief by many writers that Grant was a butcher of men, that he carelessly and heartlessly threw away his soldiers in an almost mindless series of battles from Shiloh to his relentless campaign against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in the closing months of war. The author carefully examines the campaigns of both men, looking at casualty rates and results, and provides a clear context for his observations. Both men were aggressive, but Lee's narrow vision of the war and reckless expenditure of men made him the real butcher and ultimately cost the South any hope of victory. The last chapter comparing the strengths and weaknesses of Grant and Lee is alone worth the price of the book. A remarkable addition to the literature on the Civil War that will endure for years to come. Essential. All levels/libraries."



". . . this most recent work is the strongest of his previous three. He has sharpened his controversial argument to a fine point. Passionately and accurately, he makes point after point in favor of his notion that Grant was the superior strategist . . . This work is sure to rile the most ardent supporters of Robert E. Lee, but it is a worthwhile read. The book not only provides new perspectives on the two generals as adversaries, it also makes the reader think and rethink about his perceptions of the two generals. . . . Bonekemper's book is filled with excellent maps that reinforce what the reader is focusing on. . . . The author doesn't just dangle a carrot and expect the reader to know every detail. The chapters are well-written and analytical. . . . If you give Grant and Lee a fair chance, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. If for nothing else, the book is a great, thought-provoking conversation piece for any Civil War buff."


The Free Lance-Star

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313349713
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 460
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWARD H. BONEKEMPER, III is an adjunct lecturer of U.S. military history at Muhlenberg College. For over 34 years he served as a Federal Government attorney , including 11 years of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and 17 as the senior hazardous materials transportation attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He is a retired commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He is the author of How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War (1998), A Victor, Not a Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant's Overlooked Military Genius (2004), and McClellan and Failure: A Study of Civil War Fear, Incompetence and Worse (2007).

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Table of Contents

List of Maps

Introduction Why Grant Won and Lee Lost

1 Tough Beginnings and Mexican War Experience 1

2 1861: Open and Closed Doors to Civil War Command 11

3 Late 1861 / Early 1862: Lee's First Loss and Grant's Early Victories 17

4 March-June 1862: Grant Wins at Shiloh While Lee Stymies McClellan 29

5 1862-63: Lee Conducts a Costly Offensive While Grant Aims for Vicksburg 60

6 May-July 1863: Lee Loses Gettysburg as Grant Captures Vicksburg 96

7 Autumn 1863: Lee Lends an Assist as Grant Saves Chattanooga and a Union Army 153

8 Early 1864: Both Generals Prepare for Confrontation 167

9 Spring 1864: Grant Attacks and Besieges Lee 177

10 Late 1864: Grant and Sherman Move Toward Victory 199

11 Early 1865: Lee Surrenders to Grant 215

12 A Comparison of Grant and Lee 233

App. 1 Casualties in Grant's Battles and Campaigns 267

App. 2 Casualties in Lee's Battles and Campaigns 302

Notes 323

Selected Bibliography 407

Index 417

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