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Cover image for Grant comes east : a novel of the Civil War
Grant comes east : a novel of the Civil War
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
x, 404 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
General Note:
Sequel to: Gettysburg.
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"Grant Comes East," the second book in the bestselling series by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen, continues the story of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. The first book examined the great "what if" of American history: Could Lee have won the Battle of Gettysburg? A Confederate victory, however, would not necessarily mean that the Southern cause has gained its final triumph and a lasting peace. It is from this departure point that the story continues in "Grant Comes East," as General Robert E. Lee marches on Washington, DC, and launches an assault against one of the largest fortifications in the world.
Across 140 years, nearly all historians have agreed that after the defeat of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the taking of Washington, DC, would end the war. But was it possible?
Lee knows that a frontal assault against such fortifications could devastate his army, but it is a price he fears must be paid for final victory. Beyond a military victory in the field, Lee must also overcome the defiant stand of President Abraham Lincoln, who vows that regardless of the defeat at Gettysburg, his solemn pledge to preserve the Union will be honored. Lincoln will mobilize the garrison of Washington to hold on no matter what the costs.
At the same time, Lincoln has appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all Union forces. Grant, fresh from his triumph at Vicksburg, races east, bringing with him his hardened veterans from Mississippi to confront Lee.
What ensues across the next six weeks is a titanic struggle as the surviving Union forces inside the fortifications of Washington fight to hang on, while Grant prepares his counterblow. The defeated Army of the Potomac, staggered by the debacle dealt at Gettysburg, is not yet completely out of the fight, and is slowly reorganizing. Its rogue commander, General Dan Sickles, is thirsting for revenge against Lee, the restoration of the honor of his army, and the fulfillment of his own ambitions, which reach all the way to the White House. All these factors will come together in a climatic struggle spanning the ground from Washington, through Baltimore, to the banks of the Susquehanna River.
Once again, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen create a brilliant story of how the Civil War could have unfolded. In "Grant Comes East," they use their years of research and expertise to take readers on an incredible journey.

Author Notes

Newt Gingrich was born on June 17, 1943 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was brought up in the transient household of a military family and survived the Hungarian Uprising as a boy. His Baptist faith also helped mold his conservative philosophies. He received a Bachelor's degree from Emory University and Master's and Doctorate in Modern European History from Tulane University. Before his election to Congress, he taught history and environmental studies at West Georgia College for eight years.

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970, he rose to the position of Speaker when the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1995. A staunch conservative, he gained nationwide recognition with the successful Contract with America, but his political career suffered a setback when his admission of violating House ethics rules resulted in a reprimand from the House and a fine of $300,000.

He has written over 20 fiction and non-fiction books including Days of Infamy, To Try Men's Souls, Valley Forge, Window of Opportunity: A Blueprint for the Future, To Renew America, To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, and Trump's America: The Truth about Our Nation's Great Comeback. He was honored as Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1995.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Former congressman Gingrich and historical fiction writer Forstchen once again collaborate to produce an exciting alternative history of the Civil War (after 2003's bestselling Gettysburg). This second volume finds Lee and his victorious army in Maryland, poised to assault Washington, D.C.. The Confederates hope to capture the capital and President Lincoln, bring a sympathetic Maryland into the Confederacy, gain European recognition and force the Union into peace negotiations. The Union is in a desperate situation. The capital is cut off, Northern cities are burning in the bloody draft riots and the nearest intact Union army is General Grant's western force, rushing to the east from Vicksburg. In the midst of the military chaos, sniping and bickering by generals and politicians on both sides hamper Grant and Lee. Most of Lee's tactical and strategic plans succeed, but he miscalculates Lincoln's resolve and Grant's single-mindedness. And then Grant does something so unexpected that suddenly Lee is the one on the run. Building on their strong first volume, Gingrich and Forstchen craft an original, dramatic and historically plausible "what if?" story. Character depictions-of Lincoln, Grant and Lee; of the soldiers who fight and die; and of the civilians who plot and panic-are vivid, detailed and insightful. This is one of the best novels of the Civil War to appear in recent years. Agent, Jillian Manus. (June) Forecast: Some general readers may find the book dense, but fans of Civil War fiction will relish the alternative perspective, and even demanding nonfiction buffs will be won over by the novel's stirring battle scenes and convincing historical details. Ten-city author tour. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

The Gingrich and Forstchen (military historian) "what-if" take on the Civil War gathers some steam. After Lee's glittering Gettysburg triumph (ending volume one of what bids fair to be at least a trilogy) the tactical question becomes--what next? Strike at the now vulnerable enemy capital? The decimated Army of the Potomac appears unable to protect Washington, and if Lee can occupy the city--as President Jefferson Davis is certain he can--perhaps the nightmarish struggle will be at last resolved. Failing that longed-for consummation, France and/or England might be willing to regard the Confederacy as legitimate and worthy of an alliance. But Lee's vaunted Army of Northern Virginia isn't what it once was. Victories have been costly. Manpower shortages are everywhere and critical. And, in the west, there's this new player, a worrisome Union general named Ulysses S. Grant, fresh from his own monster victory at Vicksburg. Urged on by the overconfident Davis, Lee attempts to storm Washington, where he meets much stiffer resistance than predicted--mounted, among others, by the elegant and aristocratic Colonel Robert Shaw (Matthew Broderick in Glory) and his legendary fifty-fourth of Massachusetts. ("Lincoln saw the columns of veterans beginning to shake out into the battle line, the men professional-looking, moving sharply. . . and they were colored.") The bloody chess game continues. Bold gambits are countered by desperate defenses as the armies maneuver for position, and always, always, with horrific slaughter of young men. Lincoln throws his full support behind Grant. Unaccountably, Jeff Davis's support for Lee begins to waver. As this second installment ends, Grant seems headed for Richmond. Is that where Gingrich-Forstchen's champion heavyweights will finally slug it out? Those iconic figures manage more human-speak than they did in Gettysburg (2003), and the battle scenes continue war-lovingly rendered. Civil War buffs will be entertained. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Historian and former speaker of the House of Representatives Gingrich and cowriter Forstchen, a veteran author of historical fiction, continue their new alternate-history series. It began with the eminently successful Gettysburg (2003), in which the authors reimagined the outcome of that war-turning battle of the Civil War, handing to General Lee the laurels of victory rather than the ignominy of defeat. Now, in this follow-up volume, they put their imaginative heads together to see how, since they freed the Confederates from suffering a major blow at Gettysburg, the Southerners would take advantage of the situation to further their cause on the field of battle. And what the authors come up with is as rivetingly plausible as what they devised in the previous novel. Their invention here centers on the Union government's bringing General Grant eastward from his recent victory in Vicksburg; of course, the immediate ramification of Lee's win at Gettysburg (see how easy it is to be seduced by these authors' version of events?) is the threatened safety of Washington, D.C.--and further down the line, the possibility of actual and official recognition of the Confederacy by the European powers. Gingrich and Forstchen's readjustments to history are notably original. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

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