Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero (Eminent Lives)
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The first officer since George Washington to become a four-star general in the United States Army, Ulysses S. Grant was a man who managed to end the Civil War on a note of grace, and was the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. The son of an Ohio tanner, he has long been remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president whose second term ended in financial and political scandal. But now acclaimed, bestselling author Michael Korda offers a dramatic reconsideration of the man, his life, and his presidency. Ulysses S. Grant is an evenhanded and stirring portrait of a flawed leader who nevertheless ably guided America through a pivotal juncture in its history.
side of his horse to shield himself from the enemy’s fire, with one foot cocked over the cantle of the saddle and an arm around the horse’s neck—the kind of thing Kevin Costner (or his stuntman) might do in a movie today (not unlike the scene at the beginning of Dances with Wolves), but Grant did in real life in Monterrey, with real bullets whizzing around him and his horse’s hooves skittering on cobblestones that were, in some places, slippery with blood. The feat won Grant a considerable degree
that separated the Confederacy into two separate regions. A determined advance through the border states of Missouri and Kentucky would bring a Federal army within reach of Tennessee and Mississippi, and such a thrust could be supplied by river rather than overland. Victory would split the Confederacy, expose its vast, weakly defended western border to attack at any point, and allow a Union army to threaten the Southern heartland, opening up a war of movement instead of big, set-piece battles.
close by the memorials to Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. There, because of its high visibility, Grant’s giant memorial, with its orderly rows of Doric columns, would no doubt have been lovingly preserved, pristine and gleaming, by the U.S. National Park Service, and lines of schoolchildren and tourists would be waiting to visit it even today. Instead it overlooks the West Side Highway, has been incongruously surrounded by a bright red serpentine wall—a hideous “community project”—and stands
Mother—here is General Grant.”1 They must have looked like Mutt and Jeff, Grant a stocky, robust five feet seven, Lincoln an awkward, angular six feet four, but they made conversation—easy for Lincoln, the lawyer and professional politician, but hard work for Grant—until the president, having heard the buzz of excitement in the room at the presence of the victor of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Missionary Ridge, persuaded Grant to stand on a couch so people could see him. The next day
side in World War II, but hampered by his irascible temper and poor sense of public relations. Both he and Hancock deserved more than they got, from the country and from Grant. In World War II, MacArthur can be thought of as a latter-day McClellan, vain, arrogant, good at public relations, contemptuous of the president, and with one eye fixed on the White House, but Grant is the best of them—Grant and Ike. Ike was, like Grant, a slow starter whose military career limped along in low gear for