Jennie: Ulysses Grant

Grant, by Jean Edward Smith

What was I thinking picking a HUGE biography for the President I’d be reading the month after having a baby?? This book was good, but it took me over 3 months to read. That’s just depressing and a bit ridiculous but I just couldn’t focus on non-fiction like I wanted while running on little sleep.

The first couple hundred pages was long and drawn out – full of detailed battle scenes, most of which I’d read in previous biographies on the last few Presidents. Once I hit the part where he started working in Washington in his military capacity, I was hooked.

I was fascinated by Grant himself – how strong and certain he was in battle, but also how he learned from his mistakes. His determination was admirable, especially faced with the importance of winning the war.

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Can you spot the error?

On page 267, it’s noted that Grant was within view Confederate soldiers but were never fired upon. I reread that sentence a few times, letting is really sink in. I tried to imagine if he had been shot and killed at that point. Would the Civil War have turned out different? Would Lincoln have won re-election? How would our country look today?

This was one very long biography, but I’m glad I read it even with the poor timing. Grant was such a fascinating person that a shorter book just wouldn’t have done him justice.

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