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Still a Mystery? General Grant and the Historians, 1981–2006

From: The Journal of Military History
Volume 71, Number 3, July 2007
pp. 849-874 | 10.1353/jmh.2007.0230


In 1879 General William T. Sherman remarked that, although he had known Ulysses S. Grant for years, "to me he is a mystery, and I believe he is a mystery to himself." Over the last quarter-century many authors have claimed to have solved or at least shed fresh light on the mystery of Grant. For the most part, they have portrayed Grant as a great general and good man, dissenting strongly with the highly negative portrayal of Grant contained in William S. McFeely's 1981 Pulitzer Prize–winning study. This essay traces the evolution of Grant scholarship since 1981 and suggests possible lines of inquiry for future Grant scholars.

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