To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876 by Bret Baier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been fascinated by the Civil War since Jr. High. I’ve read widely on the subject, and so it’s always fun when I stumble across a new book that adds something I haven’t read before. I was able to attend Bret Baier’s talk at the Reagan Library in late October, so I had a good idea what was in the book, but I still found a few nuggets that intrigued me.
The first half of the book is about Grant and brings us up through the end of the war. There was on new – and startling – fact I found in there. I won’t put a spoiler in here though. Then the end of the book was about Reconstruction and the election of 1876. I didn’t know nearly as much about Reconstruction as I did about the war, so I learned quite a bit.
Probably the most intriguing part of the whole book is the horse-trading that went one during the 1876 election. The claims of massive fraud (some of which proved to be true – some of it couldn’t be proven) and the possibility of a second war erupting kept me turning the pages.
This wasn’t dry, dusty history. Baier does a good job of telling the story and keeping the reader engaged. I haven’t read his other books, which are more recent history, but I may have to pick them up after reading this one.