Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero
About the Book
Ulysses S. Grant was the first officer since George Washington to become a four-star general in the United States Army, and the only president in nearly a century-between Andrew Jackson in 1929 and Woodrow Wilson in 1913-to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. Revered for his skill and acumen on the battlefield, Grant has long been perceived as a failed president whose second term ended in financial and political scandal. In this succinct and vivid biography, now updated with thirty-two pages of black-and-white and color illustrations and photographs, maps, and drawings, Michael Korda considers Grant's character and reconciles the conflicting evaluations of his leadership abilities.
In ULYSSES S. GRANT we see a life that unfolds like a true Horatio Alger story. Korda reveals how Grant's unwavering determination helped him overcome numerous obstacles and setbacks-from humble beginnings as the son of a tanner in Ohio, a lack of early success in the army, and assorted failed business ventures-to rise through the ranks of military leadership and into the presidency. But while the general's tenacity and steadfastness contributed to his success on the battlefield, Korda argues that those characteristics both aided and crippled Grant's effectiveness in the White House.
Assessing Grant both within the context of his time and in contrast to more recent American leaders, Korda casts a benevolent eye on Grant's presidency yet does not ignore his weaknesses. He suggests that though the general's second term ended in misconduct, the fact remains that for eight years Grant exerted a calming influence on an embittered nation scarred by civil war.