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Book reviews for "Edwards,_William" sorted by average review score:

The Wooden Horse
Published in Audio Cassette by Dh Audio (1985)
Authors: Eric Williams and Edward Woodward
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A Gripping True WWII POW Escape Story!!
A Gripping True WWII POW Escape Story!!

This book took me over until the very last page.

I usually don't care for reading as a past time and especially novels that take too long to get through.

I read this book over 20 years ago (and only did so by chance after finding it in the school library), because I had to submit a book report during my junior high school years.

I enjoyed the book so much I eagery and ultimately compiled a great book report and was awarded 9/10 as a grade.

Funny enough, I did so well with it that I took the liberty to re-submitted the same book report the following year and again was awarded another high mark (of course it was a different teacher and I had to re-write and date it).

In fact here I am over 20 years later I plan to get my very own copy. That's how much I enjoyed it!

"The Wooden Horse" by Eric Williams is a fabulous book and would make a perfect gift to that person who you think should read more...but doesn't.

They'll thank you for it!

One of the best prison breakout novels of all time
Don't be put off by the recent "out of print" status, this book is a great true story of a prison breakout in WW2. You can also easily pick it up through Amazons second hand bookstores for a relatively cheap price.

Written by the escapee himself, it retains all its charm and spirit since it first received rave reviews in the late 1940s to early 1950s.

The breakout came from a novel, yet brilliant idea inspired by the Legend of the Trojan Horse- ie to use a gym vaulting horse as cover to hide an inmate who dug a tunnel to the nearest concentration camp fence. It succeeded, but I won't ruin the story with all the details, you will have to read it yourself! Rest assured the book is well written, and as it is told by one of the escapees himself it has a certain charm, readability and authenticity about it.

Getting out was just the first part, the escapees still had to travel across most of Germany to reach home, right amidst the heartlessness and desparation of WW2. I found the description of the lives of everyday German people within a major war as soulful, revealing and harrowing as the concentration camp itself.

A remarkable story, a great and uplifting novel, sure to inspire for many years to come. No mundane "political correctness" here, truthfully told and recorded with all the desperation, fear, and courageous spirit of many involved in the war-on both sides.

There was a film also made in the 1960s I think, which was almost as good as the book, but not quite. Of similar genre to The Wooden Horse is "the Great Escape", also made into a film, but the Wooden Horse is more realisitic and better done overall in my opinion.

Uplifts the spirit.

Almost as good as THE GREAT ESCAPE...
If you read "The Great Escape" by Paul Brickhill, you are bound to enjoy this book. It is also set in a POW Camp, and Eric Williams and Michael(I can't remember the surname) devise a scheme to trick the Germans.

This book was both touching, brilliant, fun, exciting and absorbent. It really taught me a lot about what life was like during WWII. This book is among the Top War books, for Sure!

Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15
Published in Hardcover by Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers (2003)
Authors: Dennis R. Jenkins, Tony Landis, Scott Crossfield, and William H. Dana
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A Must Have Book on the X-15 Research Program
Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis have produced the best volume I've ever seen on the history of the X-15. A fantastic collection of information on all aspects of the research program including hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs, many of which I'd never seen before.

Dennis R. Jenkins has been doing a terrific job with his book on the development of The National Space Transportation System, SPACE SHUTTLE. HYPERSONIC is a must have for every space library. I can't wait to get a copy of X-15 PHOTO DIARY by the same authors, a collection of several hundred photos that didn't fit in this book.

An invaluable contribution to Aviation History
Collaboratively compiled and written by aviation experts Dennis R. Jenkins and Tony R. Landis, Hypersonic: The Story Of The North American X-15 is an immensely detailed and comprehensive look at the North American X-15, the fastest airplane ever built, and the only vehicle ever flown by a pilot (instead of by a computer) into space and back. 500 black-and-white photographs, 50 color photographs, and 100 line drawings (including some never-before-seen images), are deftly paired with an in-depth commentary on both the history and the technical specifications of this superb aircraft. Hypersonic is a most memorable tribute to the predecessor of the Space Shuttle and an invaluable contribution to Aviation History reference collections.

No binding problems here
I am one of the authors, and was a bit concerned by a point raised in Mr. Reid's review. I appreciate that he liked the book, and I truly hope he enjoys it.

However, if Mr. Reid feels the binding is causing him concern, I suggest he contact the publisher. I have had my book (I get an advance) for a while now and have not noticed any cause for concern, and my copy has been extensively looked through by a lot of people. This printer generally turns out a very superior product, and I know that the publisher was excited by this book and would not have scrimped on the binding. Perhaps Mr. Reid simply somehow received a defective copy.

I urge Mr. Reid to call Specialty to resolve the issue. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading it and looking at all the great photos Tony managed to find for it.

Aces High (Wild Cards, Volume 2)
Published in Paperback by I Books (2001)
Author: George Martin
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An Elric novel written by Authors who grew up reading Elric
I have read every Elric novel. I own 500 kilos of fantasy paperbacks. This book brought me as much joy, inspiration and satisfaction as any book I have ever read. Elric was the first "evil" hero. Every fantasy writer has taken a peice of elric to produce their characters. Drizt Do'urden is a shadow of Elric. Raistlen is almost an exact copy of Elric. Darth vader's sinister life, dependence on technology/sorcery and eventual noble self sacrifice are in mimicry of Elric. In this book so many authors who wanted to write Elric stories, some who had made great fame and fortune copying Moorcock, were given licence to write as they pleased. Every short story in the book is its authors best work because as they write about their own dark heros in their own novels they are thinking about Elric. My highest praise: I want a sequel.. or two... or ten... a series published monthly untill I am old and grey.

Skin tingling ,edge of your seat, can`t put it down, tragedy
Elric, last Prince of Melnibone. Elric makes you feel that your right there with him and drawing the from the dreaded runsword Stormbringer, all his pain,sorrow,grief you feel it all. This pale,weak being could be any of us, and yet it`s his weakness that gives him the strainth to weld such enormus power and to control the uncontrolable. Elric will make you cry, make you feel that you could defeat the Lords of Chaos your self and forever will you bare some of his burden. Your life will never be the same, the way you look at things such as the ocean will change and you`ll catch yourself try to summon the water element himself. For such a being to exist in your mind alone is enough.

Elric: A creation of a new genre
Elric of Melnibone' represents a departure from the era of Tarzan and Conan, giving people a dark prince for a protagonist. This book helps put together a group of stories written for the first time by other authors and show how dynamic Michael Moorcock's Elric really is.

No Beast So Fierce: A Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Published in Paperback by Vintage Books (1993)
Authors: Edward Bunker and William Styron
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This book is a gem, one of the best I've ever read. It's not sad: it's mostly a deep point of view about reality, but no space for sadness here. Ed Bunker is a really gifted writer, and I was stunned by his book: I found it as strong as any good piece of literature. So powerful, so vivid, so close to the truth. It's cruel, cynic, but so real: there's more truth in this book than in 1000 different ones. The author lets you analyze the nature of crime, without analyzing it for you, just telling a story. What a discovery.

A crime-novel from a man who knows the inside of the criminal mind. This book is interesting both as a social study and as a suspense novel. Bunker does not keep his punches, and he writes with brutal honesty. The story of Max Dembo(the main character), is both exiting and sad, as Max tries to become a straight citizen, but soon realize that he is "born to loose". A great book, no matter how you look at it. This should be something they make the kids read in highschools.

This is an incredible book about criminals and their twisted philosophies. Bunker writes with brutal honesty. I found better psychological insights in these pages than a handful of sociologists could blabber out of their book training. This book came from the REAL DEAL! It doesn't glamorize anything-it just is what it is. Not to filibuster here, but with the ongoing debates about capital punishment and crime in general, this book should berequired reading for anyso-called "experts" on the subject. Bunker's words make a lot of sense and help you to understand a criminal's mind a little better.

Fiber Optic Communication Technology (Proceedings of Spie, Vol 512)
Published in Paperback by SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering (1985)
Author: C.W. Kleekamp
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A great Book
This is one of the best biographies ever written. A wonderful piece about an interesting man.

A Magnificent Biography of a Fascinating Man
Take a fascinating subject-- Edward Bennett Williams. Add a highly-skilled author with remarkably deep interviewing and archival research skills-- Evan Thomas. Put in a lot of hard work. And presto-- you have Thomas' "The Man To See," one of the most thorough biographies ever written (I have read many hundreds).

Edward Bennett Williams was one of the most dynamic men of the 20th Century-- a great figure of destiny whose life would have seemed emptier had not Evan Thomas been his biographer. EBW was a self-made man in the days where one could still achieve that accolade. He was no spoiled yuppie of family money. Bright, hard-working, forward-thinking, compassionate and disciplined-- and a wonderful rogue!-- this was Edward Bennett Williams. Warts and all, Evan Thomas presents the larger-than-life lawyer who pioneered criminal law practice in postwar America, bringing the constitution into the 20th Century. He sought power for the purpose of doing good, after doing well. Thomas interviewed practically every living person with whom EBW had a conversation or situation.

I am re-reading "The Man to See" for the fourth time in ten years. It remains fresh and fun. What a brilliant book!

Excellent, Excellent book
This is one of the best biographies I have ever read. It is a great story about a great man. I read a lot of biographies and I can tell when the author is fauning over his subject - just read some of Robert Slater's books on Jack Welch. Thomas book did none of that. Thomas made you feel that he was giving an accurate and true account of Williams life. Of couse Thomas was helped by selecting a subject that was larger than life, a one of a kind person both in legal talent and raw personality. This book is right up there with "Vince", Michael O'Brien's biography of Vince Lombardi. Interestingly, Lomardi and Williams were very much alike - both very religious yet profane, and above the rest of their competitors in their chosen fields. They were also both like to drink, were emotional and quick to say exactly what they thought or felt about something. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read biographies about great men.

The Ambassador from Wall Street: The Story of Thomas W. Lamont, J.P. Morgan's Chief Executive
Published in Hardcover by Madison Books (1993)
Author: Edward M. Lamont
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A First Rate Picture of a Great Banker
The Ambassador From Wall Street is a fasciating tale of one of the great financial leaders of the 20th Century. As a retired New York banker who started work in 1950 and who held some quite responsible positions, I found the book contained messages for bankers that are as true today as they were in the life of Mr. Lamont, particularly on how to avoid undue risk and how to manage the inevitable messes when they occur. The book seems to have been well researched by the arthor, a Grandson of the subject,and takes us through the many economic and financial developments of the first half of the twentieth century. Its scope allows the reader to have a broad view of the financial world, a useful benefit in this age of globalization. I particularly recommend the book to young students of finance. The lessons learned will enhance their careers.

The Ambassador from Wall Street
Alethea W. Hawley's review offers an excellent summary of a well researched account of the life and impact of Mr. Thomas W. Lamont and his importance to the major economic and political powers of his era and why this account deserves a five star rating.

The Ambassador from Wall Street
This biography of Thomas W. Lamont, J.P. Morgan's Chief Executive is a thoroughly researched account of the legendary financier during the first half of the twentieth century, when the powerful banking firm was at the pinnacle of international finance. The author, his grandson has written this lively biography based on his independent research and his personal collection of family papers and Thomas Lamont's letters.The reader will become acquainted with the economic and political history of the period, the many crucial world events that were transpiring, as well as a full roster of leaders such as Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Wilson and Hoover, who all sought advice from Lamont. Along with all of the above, the author portrays the luxurious lifestyle of his grandfather, such as commuting from his home to Wall Street by yacht. There are social vignettes such as a house party at Lady Astor's Cliveden, as well as a Lamont soiree during which a Federal judge broke the nose of Walter Lippman's charming wife. The reader is also given glimpses of such luminaries as Charles Lindbergh and H.G. Wells, who were among Thomas Lamont's close friends. John Kenneth Galbraith praised this volume and characterized it as "affectionate and well researched...We are in debt to Edward Lamont for this literate and thoroughly interesting biography." Book List and Publishers Weekly contributed highly enthusiastic reviews, and recommended it for those interested in history, banking and foreign affairs. Written in a brisk and informative style, Lamont interjects his wit at just the right places so as to present a very balanced, straight forward, and informative piece of work.

Leah's Journey
Published in Mass Market Paperback by Berkley Publishing Group (1979)
Author: Gloria Goldreich
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I couldn't ask for a better book!!!
I bought the second edition of this book several years ago when our company (USWest) was closing departments and we knew we would have to start testing for job title changes. It was one of the most helpful purchases I have ever made! I retired, and now I'm going into real estate. Naturally the real estate classes (and the state test) have lots of math and math problems. As they say...what you don't use you lose!!! There were several of us in the classes who were having a difficult time with the math problems and formulas. This book was once again a life saver. At first glance one would think it's too simple...more for children than adults, but it isn't. Mr. Williams makes math super simple for any age!!!

The first few chapters are basic math...addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Roman numerals, etc.

Chapters 6-8 are fractions...changing improper to mixed numbers...subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions...unlike denominators, etc.

Chapters 10-13 cover decimals...comparing, rounding off, adding, subtracting, multiplying mixed decimals.

Chapter 14 covers percents...changing percents to decimals, to fractions, and finding the percent of a number.

Chapter 15 covers measurement.

There are pre-tests to see if you need to study the chapter, word problems, practice examples, and practice tests after every section.

I recommend this book for everyone...young people who find math difficult, as an invaluable aid for parents of school age children, for anyone who is making a career change and is faced with job testing, and for myself...who have been out of school for years and need a brush up on math skills. The price is minimal!!!

Thank you, Edward Williams, for writing this book. Thank you for the difference it has made it my life!!!

Excellent--really superb
I am a 40+ year old M.D. who is relearning math to do some tutoring, and this book is really solid, well written. It clearly took a great deal of effort to make it so lucid and logically sequenced, beautifully sequenced with difficult concepts explained with simple explanations. I would definitely recommend it to just about anyone who needs to work on any or all of the following:

addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions--including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division thereof--decimals and percentages

I'm sure if I had encountered this book in high school i would have done better in math, and I plan to use it as a resource in my tutoring.

What a great book!
I think this is a great book because I was failing math in school so I decided to try to look for a book at Then I found Arithmetic the easy way.It really helped.In one month my grade went from a D to an A. I love this book and I know anyone who buys it will enjoy it to.

Matt Damon (Pocket Romeos Series)
Published in Hardcover by Smithmark Publishing (1999)
Author: Smithmark Publishing
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Hard Boiled As High Brow Lit?
It's welcome recognition of the rich body of American noir writing that the Library of America has decided to gather these novels and include them in it's collection. This volume, along with it's companion, "Crime Novels: American Noir of the '50s", is perhaps the definitive collection of this genre. While this volume is not as strong as the second volume collecting hard boiled writing from the '50s, it more than makes up for it with the inclusion of two seminal novels from the genre: "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" The themes that would be later expanded on by Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, et al. are here: the uncertainty of reality, the indifference of fate, the allegories on the disfunction of mercantilist capitalism, the femme fatale as deus ex machina, the erosion of moral standards...themes that are that much more relevant today.

It's comforting in a way that these novels, which were considered (and still considered by some) as trash, disposable items of consumption, are collected along with the novels of Melville, James and Hawthorne...."elevated" to high brow lit.

Perhaps the original authors of these masterworks would disagree on the modern critical re-assessment, but to readers like myself, it's just confirmation of something we've known ever since we first discovered them.

Noir, Baby!!!
The Library of America is a first-class organization. The LOA is consistently reprinting volumes of literary achievement by the most notable authors in American history. They have reprinted everything from political speeches to poetry to historical works. This volume is the first in a two volume set dedicated to American noir stories. The stories in this book were written in the 1930's and 1940's in what seems to be the golden age of the genre.

The first story is from James Cain, and it's a whiz-bang of a tale. I had heard of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" before, mainly in reference to the two film versions of the story. This is one dark read. Adultery and murder never seem to mix, and it sure doesn't here, either. Told in first person narration, a drifter gets himself mixed up with a washed up beauty queen who is tired of her Greek husband. The result is classic noir: a conspiracy to murder the poor schmuck and run off together. As usual, the murder brings about tragic consequences. This story has more twists and turns than you can imagine. The ending is especially atmospheric. This is certainly one of the best stories in the book. I always like to see a story where the blackmailer gets a good beating.

Horace McCoy's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is next in line. This is another great tale that was made into a film in the 1960's starring Hanoi Jane Fonda and Gig Young. The movie is soul shattering, with depictions of dehumanization in the neighborhood of "Schindler's List." The story is not quite as good, but it still packs a heck of a punch. The story is set in Depression-era America and depicts the horrors of a dance marathon. These marathons were apparently quite popular during the 1930's, until they were ultimately outlawed. Contestants were required to dance for hundreds of hours with only ten minute breaks every two hours. The couple that lasted the longest won a thousand or so dollars. The public would come and pay admission to watch this sorry spectacle. It's like poking sticks at animals in a cage. This story is loaded with dark depression and sexual innuendo. The conclusion is suitably depressing to merit a noir award.

"Thieves Like Us" was pretty substandard when compared to the other stories in this book. This one really didn't seem to have those noir elements that I like so much. Actually, it's more of a Bonnie and Clyde type story. A penitentiary break leads to a crime spree across Texas. Banks are robbed and cops are killed while the gang lives on the lam. A relationship between Bowie, the main character, and a girl named Keechie really doesn't add much interest to the story. There is some good dialogue and a bit of desolate atmosphere, but not enough to lift this to the level of noir. I don't know why this story is included here. Try and guess how the story ends (the clue is "Bonnie and Clyde"). I hope that Edward Anderson's other stories are better.

Kenneth Fearing's "The Big Clock" is excellent, and brings the level of the book back up to where it should be. Set in a magazine publishing house, this tale is sleek and smart. The story is told in first person narration, but Fearing shifts the narration to various characters in the story. These constantly changing viewpoints turn the story into a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. An editor at the company makes the mistake of sleeping with the boss's woman. When this lady turns up dead at the hands of same boss, all heck breaks loose. This story is riveting and has a great ending that is all suspense. A must read.

William Lindsay Gresham wrote "Nightmare Alley" after some discussions he had with some carnival workers. This story is the longest one in the book and is a decent addition to the volume. Full of unpleasant images of murder, swindle, cynicism and downright perversion, you won't be disappointed when this one comes to an end. A scheming magician decides to take his con to the big time by posing as a Spiritualist minister, and as usual, the end result is tragedy all around. This story is downright depressing, and if you don't feel sorry for Gyp, you have got a problem. I didn't really care too much for the (...) addition of the black Communist towards the end of the book. Gresham had a flirtation with the Redski movement, so this apparent insertion makes some sense in that context. It goes nowhere in the story, however. There are some other holes in the plot but overall this is an entertaining story.

The final tale comes from the sumptuous pen of Cornell Woolrich. "I Married a Dead Man" becomes instantly familiar within a few pages, mostly due to the numerous films that have copped the plot. The writing here is far superior to any of the other stories in the book. I'd say it's far superior to most writing in general. The metaphors are extraordinary. Look for the description of Bill lighting his cigarette in the doorway. Wow! The story centers on a case of mistaken identity with a strong dose of blackmail thrown in for good measure. Of course, there's also a murder. This story is outstanding.

Overall, if you are just starting to read noir, start with these two volumes. It is good to see some of the best noir has to offer, and you will find some of it in these pages. The book clocks in at 990 pages, but it reads really fast. There is also a nice summary concerning the careers of each author at the back of the book. Recommended.

Nihilistic Noir: or "In the end, everything turns out bad."
I was surprised at how modern the themes and writing of this compendium were. I read "Thieves Like Us" just when the Texas 7 episode was happening and was amazed at how little the views of crime and punishment, justice and desperation have changed since that writing, especially in Texas where the story takes place.

"They Shoot Horses..." was my favorite of the bunch for it's depiction of deperate people doing desperate things to survive in the form of a Dance Marathon. But are they doing this out of deperation (even the winner of the prize money, after months of physical torment , will end up having made less than a dollar a day)? Or becuase there is nothing else to do? What is futile and what is meaningfull, the story seems to be asking.

"Nightmare Alley" brought the Tyrone Power movie back home, only the ending seems more poignant. The author organzies each chapter along the 22 minor arcana of the Tarot, a device used by later authors like Robert Anton Wilson and Umberto Eco.

"The big clock", filmed at least twice with variations on themes, uses a unique writing style of shifting narratives from the main characters' points of view and has an awfully modern motive for the murder (probably a little too modern for that period).

"The Postman.." and "I Married a Dead Man" story were also very dood. The Noir theme of "Crime Does Not Pay" runs through most of theses stories, but when you read them, you realize that it's not as simple as that. In the end, who really wins and loses and does it matter?

I don't think one can do better for reading the greats of American Literature than through the Library of America seri

Father of the Bride (S&S Classic Editions)
Published in Hardcover by Simon & Schuster (01 April, 1999)
Authors: Edward Streeter and Gluyas Williams
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Laughing at Life.
Having already seen both movie versions and being cast in the play by the same name, I had to find a copy of the book and find out where all the delightful wit and humor had originated. I was also seeking to see if I could glean anything from the novel to use while acting in the play. I really enjoyed the movies and love the play. However, the book is more humorous than all three.

FATHER OF THE BRIDE is told from the vantage point of Stanley Banks, the title character but in an omniscient way. There are tons of witty, one-liners throughout the novel, and though there is some dated material, the Mr. Banks of the novel seems more real and down-to-Earth than any the films are theatre have produced. The book is full of observations on life; from women and men to children and business, but told in a humorous, yet enlightening way. The book isn't very long and makes for a very entertaining read. "How. . . How".

"I am not a Big Chief."
This humorous play is based on the novel and has been successfully made into two different movies. The movie starring Spencer Tracy is more similar to the play than the Steve Martin film. However, the Steve Martin movie has one very important character that the Spencer Tracy film does not, Massoula (played by Martin Short); who is the funniest character in the script. Anyway, the play is a charming comedy that examines the horrors of the rituals we call weddings from the perspective of the father of the bride.

Mr. Banks is a happily married man with three children who doesn't have any major problems in life. Then his daughter announces out of the blue that she is engaged to a man the family barely knows. Chaos begins and continues throughout the play until the last scene when we see the true character of the father of the bride.

A delightful play that's not only a blast to watch, but is a joy to read as well.

a father finds out his daughter's getting married and freaks
I read this book a couple of months ago. It's very funny and sad at the same time. i feel bad for the dad because he's going through a hard time. But it has a happy ending.

Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant
Published in Paperback by DaCapo Press (02 October, 2001)
Authors: E. B. Long, William S. McFeely, Jean Edward Smith, and Ulysses S. Grant
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Compelling, Humble and Well-Written
Grant's memoirs are a must-read for any serious student of the Civil War. While praise is heaped upon Confederate generals such as Lee and Jackson, Grant's legacy has always been a little more uncertain. His reputation has been associated with allegations of drunkenness, and with an apparent unflinching ability to send men to their slaughter which this book helps to dispel.

Lincoln loved Grant, as he was the first Union commander who seemed willing to fight it out with Lee's army, and who enjoyed any consistent success. When one considers Grant's predecessors at the helm of the Union army, one can understand Lincoln's enthusiasm. You had McClellan, who never read an exaggerated report of the enemy size he didn't believe; "Fighting Joe Hooker", flanked and embarrassed at Chancellorsville; Burnside, who foolishly sent wave after wave of Union soldiers across the Rappahanock to attack an impregnable stone wall at Fredericksburg; and Pope, who was soundly beaten at Manassas. Meanwhile, Grant caught Abe's attention with his successful siege of Vicksburg in the summer of 1863, as Meade was beating Lee at Gettysburg.

Reading Grant's Memoirs is a fascinating experience, as the war, at least that part of it involving Grant, comes to life in the hands of a thoughtful commentator. Grant was obviously there, and he shares informative communications with his inferior officers (such as Sherman) and with the President. Grant sent many men to their doom to be sure, (the Wilderness campaign comes to mind as being especially bloody and ineffective), but overall you get the sense that Grant was respected by his men, who were happy to be marching forward and not backwards after a battle. He restored a sense of pride and accomplishment that was sorely lacking in the Union rank and file. He gave cogent reasons in his memoirs for the actions undertaken, sometimes admitting mistakes in humble fashion, and sometimes explaining why a siege would accomplish the same overall goal without unnecessary bloodshed.

My only regret is that Grant didn't live long enough to write a companion memoir about his presidency, which was clearly outside the scope of this book. Readers who have gotten this far in the Amazon review process are no doubt aware that a broke Grant, stricken with painful throat cancer, wrote out his Memoirs of the Civil War right up until the end of his life to provide financially for his family, finishing the book days before he died. We should all be grateful that he was able to preserve these pages for prosperity, they are truly a model of military memoirs that I consider an extremely rewarding reading experience. When one considers the circumstances in which Grant composed this work, the end result is nothing short of miraculous.

One of the Best Books Available on the Civil War
I have never been much of a Civil War fan, but after reading "The Killer Angels" by Shaara, a historical fiction about Gettysburg, I was interested in following up with some non-fiction about the most important event in US History. This book kept me turning the pages from end to end. Despite its bulk (some 618 pages) I simply couldn't put the book down, as Grant's matter-of-fact description of the events that surrounded him was completely engrossing.

Grant was not an extraordinary man or brilliant tactician, his soldiers did not have the same obsession with him that the South held for Lee, he simply saw the war for what it was, a campaign against a rebellion. He looked at the entire war in its entirety, from battlefront to battlefront, and he repeatedly used that to his advantage. Many times he makes reference to deploying troops to no clear end other than to occupy an enemies flank, this often as a junior with no authority over the battle as a whole. Grant was a man of action, who realized he had to take a step in order to walk a mile. He took the battle to the enemy, divised clear and necessary steps which were needed to win the war as a whole. He was a general who did not just see the war as independent sets of battles, but saw those battles as a means to ending the Civil War.

One of my favorite parts of the text was watching the scope of Grant's vision widen. Starting with his actions in the Mexican American War his vision is very limited: he sees only the immediate battle, and his descriptions focus on minutiae reflecting his low rank. His vision escalates with his rank, until the end of the book, with the surrender of Lee, he sees and describes the entire army, and battles that would have once taken chapters to described are now dismissed in single sentences.

My one disappointment with the book was that it ended with the surrender of Lee at Appomatox. I would have liked to learn more about his actions after the war, and especially learned more about his presidency. I wish that there were similar autobiographies by other presidents, and certainly feel that this one elevated my expectations of all other autobiographies!

Favote Excerpts:

"It is men who wait to be selected, and not those who seek, from whom we may always expect the most efficient service." - Grant (page 368)

"All he wanted or had ever wanted was some one who would take the responsibility and act, and call on him for all the assistance needed, pledging himself to use all the power of the government in rendering such assistance." - Grant on Lincoln (page 370)

"Wars product many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true." - Grant (page 577)

"To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared for war." - Grant (page 614)

"The war begot a spirit of independence and enterprise. The feeling now is, that a youth must cut loose from his old surroundings to enable him to get up in the world." - Grant (page 616)

A Great Story Meets A Great Writer
That U.S. Grant is telling one of history's great tragic and glorious stories as the key actor would make this book a fine piece in its own right. He has a gift for story telling that renders his Personal Memoirs compelling and engrossing. One of the best books I have read. It is remarkable from several levels. First, it is undeniably great history. The story of our Civil War is moving enough to leave a tremendous impression upon the reader in Grant's hands. Second, this book is a great study in management. Grant succeeded where scores failed at similar command levels throughout the Civil War. He did due to his: knowledge and focus on his mission; his ability to conceive plans that served his mission; his ability to have alternatives that stayed the course; his ability to learn from mistakes and experience; his calm in the face of stress and chaos; his decisiveness and his willingness to take reasonable risks.

This book surprised me by being an excellent management study. The lessons which are easy to take away from the book are aplicable to anyone who is faced with mission definition and achievement. It should be must reading in MBA programs.

Grant's lack of ego is surprising when compared to other Civil War figures and high achievers who have reflected on their lives and actions. By not only focusing on things that went right for Grant, the book has a tremendous credibility borne of real life trial and error, frustration, lessons learned and later employed.

A great book.

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