Unconditional Surrender (Atheneum, 1993)

Unconditional Surrender: U. S. Grant and the Civil War

Albert Marrin

Ulysses S. Grant was a reluctant soldier who became the leader who was able to bring final victory to the Union after years of bloody, wrenching civil war. As we learn about him, along the way we also learn about how soldiers lived in army camps: their food, their recreation, their thoughts, taken from diaries and letters home. The reader experiences the war, the fear, the deadly mistakes, the early medical services to the wounded, and always the heroism of the soldiers. As the reader learns about Grant’s campaigns it becomes evident why both Abraham Lincoln and the ordinary Yankee soldier were willing to trust the outcome of the Civil war and the future of the Country to this unlikely hero.


Although this book tells of the early and post-war life of Ulysses Grant, it’s not a biography so much as a Civil War chronicle that very successfully uses General Grant as a focus. . . Marrin has distilled copious research into a history of living men and women who are complete with faults and contradictions. . . An evocation as well as a description of war, this also demonstrates how the quiet intimacy of the written word can carry a power greater than television or film.

—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books