Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee—the War They Fought, the Peace They Forged
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: January 2015
Duration: 22 hours 3 minutes
A dual biography of two iconic leaders: how they fought a bloody, brutal war then forged a lasting peace that fundamentally changed our nation
They met in person only four times, yet these two men determined the outcome of the Civil War and cast competing styles for the reunited nation. Each the subject of innumerable biographies, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee have never before been paired as they are here.
Exploring their personalities, their character, and their ethical, moral, political, and military worlds, William C. Davis finds surprising similarities between the two men as well as new perspectives on how their lives prepared them for the war they fought and influenced how they fought it. Davis reveals Lee’s sense of failure before the war, Grant’s optimism during disaster, and the sophisticated social and political instincts that each had when waging a war between democracies.
“Magical and magisterial, William C. Davis’ transportive joint biography truly brings these iconic warriors back vividly to life, tracing their inevitably linked stories so vividly that readers will be forgiven if they find themselves on the edge of their seats as the narrative hurtles toward an outcome they thought they already knew. Using primary sources with his customary commitment to originality, Davis manages to interpret the data both judiciously and jauntily. Few Civil War historians are more adept at tipping a hat to the rich literary texture of the period while presenting material in high modern style. Frankly, I could not put this scholarly and seductive book down.”—Harold Holzer, Civil War scholar and author