No one succeeds alone, and Ulysses S. Grant was no exception. From the earliest days of the Civil War to the heights of Grant's power in the White House, John A. Rawlins was ever at Grant's side. Yet Rawlins's role in Grant's career is often overlooked, and he barely received mention in Grant's own two-volume Memoirs.
General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man by Allen J. Ottens is the first major biography of Rawlins in over a century and traces his rise to assistant adjutant general and ultimately Grant's secretary of war. Ottens presents the portrait of a man who teamed with Grant, who submerged his needs and ambition in the service of Grant, and who at times served as the doubter who questioned whether Grant possessed the background to tackle the great responsibilities of the job. Rawlins played a pivotal role in Grant's relatively small staff, acting as administrator, counselor, and defender of Grant's burgeoning popularity.
Rawlins qualifies as a true patriot, a man devoted to the Union and devoted to Grant. His is the story of a man who persevered in wartime and during the tumultuous years of Reconstruction and who, despite a ravaging disease that would cut short his blossoming career, grew to become a proponent of the personal and citizenship rights of those formerly enslaved.
General John A. Rawlins will prove to be a fascinating and essential read for all who have an interest in leadership, the Civil War, or Ulysses S. Grant.
1. Anxious to "Strike a Lead"
2. "He Ought to Get Out of the Woods"
3. "Speeches That Would Have Done Credit to a Statesman"
4. "He Was a Powerful and Earnest Talker and Masterful in All His Efforts at the Bar"
5. "The 'Coal Boy's' Grape Shot Puts the Republicans to Flight!"
6. "We Will Stand by the Flag of Our Country, and Appeal to the God of Battles!"
7. "A Good Looking Set Aint They?"
8. "Collect Your Men at Once; We Must Get Out of This"
9. "His Eye and Intellect Are as Clear and Active as Can Be"
10. "[A] Silent And Determined Purpose To Strike Swiftly"
11. "Rawlins Is a Maj. and Ought to Be a Brig. Gen."
12. "[A] Strong Partisan, but Not a Traitor"
13. "You Countermanded Such an Order Two Weeks Ago"
14. "I Am Surprised, Col. Duff, at Your Discourteous and Unmilitary Remarks"
15. "You Have Full Control of Your Appetite"
16. "Rawlins Especially Is No ordina[ry] Man"
17. "I Am the Only One Here . . . Who Can Stay It in That Direction"
18. "I . . . Tremble at the Great Responsibility about to Devolve on Him"
19. "Smash 'Em Up! Smash 'Em Up!"
20. "The Nomination of General Rawlins Will Be Sent in Immediately and with Great Pleasure"
21. "I Think That Will Do"
22. "Rather Late in the Day, but Better Than Not at All"
23. ". . . It Is Unquestionably the Platform of General Grant"
24. "This Will Not Do. It Is Not Enough."
25. "And You Are Still My Adjutant"
26. "Sweet and Serene Be Your Slumber!"
"This splendid biography gives Rawlins his due as Grant's chief of staff and close friend without exaggerating his influence on the general's professional and personal qualities. Ottens punctures myths about Grant's drinking problem and about Rawlins' role as his moral guardian. Readers will gain many new insights about Grant as well as Rawlins himself in this important contribution to Civil War scholarship."~James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
"A solid biography of John A. Rawlins has always been an alarming gap in modern Civil War historiography. Now that gap is filled admirably with General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man . Incisive, judicious, and well written, Ottens' fine biography is a welcome addition to our understanding of the Civil War and in particular Ulysses S. Grant's role in it."~Timothy B. Smith, author of Shiloh: Conquer or Perish and The Union Assaults at Vicksburg.
"How astonishing it's taken a century and a half since John Rawlins' death for a proper biography of a figure so pivotal to Grant's success during the Civil War and after. Ottens' formidable sleuthing fleshes out even Rawlins' obscure early years in Galena about which so little is known. Few have written with as much nuance, depth and above all balance about Grant's relationship with his loyal, unassuming confidante. The image that emerges in this sympathetic, first-ever study is as enjoyable to the casual history buff as it is instructive to the serious scholar. Well worth the wait!"~William Butts, Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts and Book review editor, Manuscript
"It is impossible to fully appreciate Ulysses S. Grant's success during the Civil War without an intimate understanding of the role his chief-of-staff and close friend General John A Rawlins played during their long association. A brilliant and selfless champion of the Union cause, Rawlins also was significant in his own right. As author Allen J. Ottens suggests in the subtitle of this marvelous biography and then demonstrates conclusively in the book, John A. Rawlins was "no ordinary man." Nor is this an ordinary work of biography. I enthusiastically recommend General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man as one of the finest and most important Civil War biographies to appear in recent decades. It is a masterpiece."~Peter Cozzens, author of Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation, among other books
"This is a formidable, definitive biography of a general long overshadowed by his boss and neighbor, Ulysses S. Grant—but crucial to Grant's Union-saving success. Allen Ottens has made a major contribution to Civil War history by so thoughtfully reconsidering an officer who has long deserved to rank as a hero in his own right. "~Harold Holzer, winner of The Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize, author of Lincoln and the Power of the Press
"A proper biography of this intriguing figure has been long overdue, and Ottens delivers wonderfully in this insightful, scholarly yet eminently readable cradle-to-grave account"~Manuscripts
"Ottens succeeds brilliantly in fixing our gaze on the engaging figure of John Rawlins while still giving fresh insights into Grant, the Union Army, and the broader Civil War era. No Ordinary Man merits the highest recommendation."~Emerging Civil War
"A comprehensive and compelling examination of John Rawlins—and by extension, Ulysses S. Grant—General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man should be of interest to all Civil War scholars, but especially those of Ulysses S. Grant, his staff, his campaigns, and his legacy."~Zachery Cowsert, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, Journal of Military History
"General John A. Rawlins offers a fresh perspective on and welcome revision of Rawlins's accomplishments as staff officer, his personal and family life, his relationship with Grant in history and in memory, and his vocal support for African American civil rights.... While Rawlins has been conspicuous in Grant scholarship, his own career has now received its just due in General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man."~Joan Waugh, professor emeritus, UCLA Department of History, The Journal of the Civil War Era
"Every Civil War buff will certainly want to add this important biography to thier military library."~Roger D. Cunningham, The Journal of America's Military Past
- Army Historical Foundation Distinquished Book Awards
Allen J. Ottens shares his new book, General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man
General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man by Allen J. Ottens is the first major biography of Rawlins in over a century and traces his rise to assistant adjutant general and ultimately Grant's secretary of war.