In this book the author of A Stillness at Appomattox and This Hollowed Ground tells of the career of a quiet army officer from 1861 when as Colonel Grant he was pulled from shoddy retirement, made a Brigadier General and returned to active service, to July 3, 1863, when he captured Vicksburg, opened the Mississippi River to the North, and became Major General Grant. Stationed first in Illinois, Grant was ordered to move South in May, 1861; with his capture of Fort Donelson ""the dismemberment of the south"" began and Grant himself gained a confidence he had lacked. After Donelson came victories and defeats and marches through swamps, mud and rain, river campaigns and gunboats, the bloody battle of Shiloh, and at last the difficult crossing of the Mississippi and the capture of Vicksburg. Beset by the jealousies of higher officers and plagued by politicians, Grant always had the respect of his enemies, the confidence of Lincoln and Sherman, and the somewhat sour devotion of his own soldiers, who followed him into marshes, up mountains, across the Mississippi and back again. No writer today depicts the field of battle as well as the author of this fine book; in his hands war loses its glitter and the men fighting it change from strutting heroes to tired, sweating, swearing soldiers. Vividly readable, carefully documented, this is a book for all students of the Civil War and many Civil War buffs, and for admirers and detractors of Grant; it belongs on the shelves of all Civil War libraries.