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The Washington PostBrands is essentially a storyteller, and a good one. His prose is lucid and colorful. He evokes the atmosphere of Grant's era by filling the book with lengthy excerpts from primary sources—letters, first-person observations and recollections…Brands presents vivid and compelling accounts of the complex battles of the Civil War. He explains clearly Grant's strengths as a general: his ability to visualize the entire battlefield in the midst of conflict when others could perceive only chaos, his willingness to take risks and his courage in the face of setbacks.