Grant Comes East

Written by Newt Gingrich William R. Forstchen
Review by Mark F. Johnson

In this second of a series, General Ulysses S. Grant is recalled to Washington and ordered by Lincoln to take command of all the Union forces and to destroy Robert E. Lee’s army before Washington itself falls into Confederate hands. Having decimated the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, Lee advances on Washington and Baltimore, racing against time and the impending onslaught of a revenge-minded, rebuilt Union force. Meanwhile, Grant attempts to rebuild an army and reign in commanders who are more concerned with what their post-war status will be than they are with winning the war.

Here is another superbly written alternate history by the same team of authors who wrote Gettysburg. Like that fine work, this one is spellbinding and well researched. There’s also a fascinating, between-the-lines morality play at work here, which theorizes that no matter how well the CSA did militarily, their inescapable moral flaw, slavery, was destined to be their downfall. In a series of conversations with Secretary of State Judah Benjamin, Lee grapples with the question of slavery and his role in helping to preserve an institution he feels is wrong, versus his role as a military commander. Thought-provoking reading, to be sure.