A West Point training and active service in the Mexican War meant that less than a year after joining the Union Army, Grant was already in command of the invasion of Tennessee. Thereafter, the milestones in his achievement are marked by some of the most memorable names in the war: Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Petersburg.
General Sir James Marshall-Cornwall's approach is illuminating from several points of view. As a student of the Napoleonic campaigns and as the author of military biographies of Massena and of Napoleon himself, Sir James is able to appraise Grant's achievement not merely in he context of the Civil War, but by comparison with the acknowledged masters of strategy and tactics. As a geographer, Sir James is constantly aware of the terrain over which Grant fought and so of the physical considerations by which he was bound. As a serving officer, Sir James shows and awareness - not always shared by armchair strategists - of what the command of troops and the presence of a resourceful enemy actually entail.
Ulysses S. Grant, Sir James Marshall-Cornwall believes, was one of he great military commanders of history. This book persuasively sets out the grounds upon which this conviction is based.