A Novel, Publisher Atria Books November 14, 2023
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 novel from the author of the “masterly” (The New York Times Book Review) novel Marley.
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 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. Another work of “must-read modern literature” (Charles Frazier, New York Times bestselling author) from historical fiction master Jon Clinch, this evocatively crafted novel breathes fresh life into an American icon.
“In a deft dialogue between the past and present, 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.