CRUCIBLE OF COMMAND: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee--The War They Fought, The Peace They Forged

CRUCIBLE OF COMMAND                          WILLIAM C. DAVIS

A dual biography of two iconic leaders: how they fought a bloody, brutal war, and 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 the disaster, and the sophisticated social and political instincts that each had when waging a war between democracies.


I think this would be a good book for anyone whether you are a civil war buff or just someone who wants to get an overview of the commanders. This book goes back into the early life of both men, and all the way to their deaths. What I liked about this book is you get to see how during the war each man had to deal with critiques. Robert E. Lee were men from the Carolinas because they thought he came to fight for the South to late. He was also looked down upon by some because of being from Virginia. Grant always had to deal with people bringing up his drinking which really, for the most part, was not true. You get a good sense of how they both worked well with certain Generals, and for Grant, he also worked well with the navy especially Admiral Porter who helped with the Vicksburg campaign. The author also shows you how they picked their staff these are some things that other books I read don’t even touch on. He does go into some of the problems each had with men not carrying out orders when given, especially during battle. Lee very seldom did anything about it, where Grant would get that person transferred somewhere else. You also get a look at how Lee really looked for Stonewall Jackson for the leadership of the troops, and how his death many believed along with Johnston at the battle of Shiloh really changed the course of the entire war that is another book. You get a look at Lee’s surrender which I have read many different accounts on, and this one is a little different. In the book, the author speaks of Lee’s home of Arlington and having to leave it. A side, notes the Arlington cemetery the land was once the property of General lee’s and his family, it was confiscated by the government during the war and not returned, just a little tid bit of info. Overall a very good book. I got this book from I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at

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