Jacki: Ulysses S. Grant

Grant, by Jean Edward Smith

So I went into this thinking that Grant was just this huge, brute that got into office because people were in love with yet another war hero.

There was truth in that, I guess. He was a war hero and people were in love with him, but the thing is he was a really smart, humble guy for the most part. Also, not huge. Like… pretty little. I have this problem where I have these chubby cheeks and I could weigh 95 pounds and still look plump. Grant? Same problem I guess, because the book kept talking about his not-that-huge size but every picture I was like “That dude could lose a few.” Anyway.

Here is also what I loved: This book followed Grant from his poor-ish, meager beginnings through West Point (this was maybe my favorite part of the book) all the way through the Civil War and through his presidency. I got this feeling that if you laid his life out on a chart it would be this continuous, steady, upward rise. There was never a time that he skipped ahead or that his graph would shoot sharply up; he just chugged along, making wise decisions and doing the right thing and in turn continued to rise in position. I like that.

Unlike a lot of the presidential biographies I’ve read, I came out of this book feeling like had Grant not been president, our country would have ended up in a different place. He was influential all over the place and seemed to set the nation back on track after a horrible war. Even as he was a 4 Star General for the Union, he kept in perspective that people in the South were just that: people. His empathy made him a great general and that carried directly over into his presidency.

I loved how this book was written. It had that “novel” feel that few non-fiction books can accomplish and I was totally sucked in. It was pretty hefty but I could have kept reading and reading. I loved it.