Max Byrd looks at the life of Ulysses Grant in new novel
Acclaimed historical novelist Max Byrd will be returning to the Truckee area for two book signings next week celebrating the publication of his latest book, “Grant: A Novel” (Bantam Books, $23.95)
Byrd will be at Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks in Truckee Tuesday, Aug. 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and at Bookshelf at the Boatworks in Tahoe City Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“Grant: A Novel” is the latest in Byrd’s series of books looking at the lives of legendary historical figures. Byrd brought to life U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson in his last two novels, “Jefferson” and “Jackson.”
Now, in his new work, Byrd turns his attention to another fascinating, flawed and remarkable American hero – Ulysses S. Grant. Byrd has been praised as one of the “front rank of American historical novelists” by the Wall Street Journal.
In “Grant: A Novel,” Byrd paints a vivid canvas of our nation at a remarkable juncture in its history. A failure at farming, academia, business and politics, Grant was truly successful at only one thing: war.
Doing what no other Northern general could, Grant brought an end to a war that had torn America in two – a triumph which made him a legend in the North and catapulted him into the White House. But his most singular battle began in 1880, when he lost his race to become the first U.S. President to serve three terms, went bankrupt and began a fight against cancer which would eventually take his life.
In “Grant,” two journalists are busy describing the dying President for posterity: one with enthusiasm, the other with thinly veiled contempt. Through their stories, we learn of the genteel but troubled drawing room of Grant’s enemy Henry Adams, the old soldiers Sheridan and Sherman, and Grant’s best friend, his publisher Mark Twain, who was able to entice the silent General to tell his own story.
Byrd also brings to life the very core of this remarkable man: his unwavering humility and deep pride, his quixotic intelligence, his legendary battles with alcohol and depression and his troubled relationship with his father.
Byrd’s historical novels have won praise for their blend of accurate historical fact with fictional elements. The San Francisco Chronicle applauded Byrd’s last work, “Jackson: A Novel.”
“Assiduously researched and full of action, emotion and insight, Max Byrd’s ‘Jackson’ deserves to stand with the finest works of historical fiction,” reviewers wrote.
Max Byrd, who lives in Davis, Calif., has written five suspense novels as well as his acclaimed historical fiction. An authority on eighteenth-century literature, Byrd extensively researched the material that went into the writing of “Grant.”
For details on Byrd’s local book signings, call Bookshelf at (530) 582-0515.
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