An excellent and very comprehensive biography on Ulysses S. Grant, who by the way ins’t really Ulysses S. Grant but Hiram Ulysses Grant. I was completely surprised to find out the Mr. Grant was only 5′ 7″ tall and 135 lbs. He was this larger than life guy, but was little in stature.
This book covers everything from Grants meger beginnings, his time as a cadet at West Point and his hard times before the Civil War. Grant became the first ever four star general in the History of the United States and became the first President since Jackson to serve 8 consecutive years in the White House. Not bad for a guy who aspired to be a math teacher.
Grant had a knack for war and yet had a very trusting nature which I think is quite an oxymoron. He fought against friends and the next day he would be offering them terms for their surrender and paying them back money he owed them from before the war.
The author also tackles the subject of Grant’s alleged drinking problems and his notorious smoking addiction which would eventually lead to his death.
The only thing lacking in this book would be more information about Grants family and children. The reader does get a bit familiar with Julia Grant, however, the Grants four children don’t play a large role in this biography.
I think part of what makes a good biography great is the amount of materials an author has to work with and fortunatly a lot of Grant’s personal papers, memoirs and letters have survived all these years and Jean Edward Smith did a fantastic job bringing Ulysses S. Grant back to life.