|About the Book|
This is a biography of a mid-nineteenth century Ohio boy who couldnt hold a job but became the nations commanding general and later its president. Ulysses Grant had gone to West Point largely because his father despaired of making a successfulMoreThis is a biography of a mid-nineteenth century Ohio boy who couldnt hold a job but became the nations commanding general and later its president. Ulysses Grant had gone to West Point largely because his father despaired of making a successful businessman of him. He came alive in the Mexican War, but afterward, on remote posts in the Pacific Northwest, he slipped into depression and drinking. Back in Missouri and Illinois, he moved down from farmer to rent collector to shop clerk. He had married in 1848, and in 1860, two not-so-young Americans seemed settled into quiet failure.The Civil War brought opportunity, and Grants simple strategy--to outkill and outlast the enemy--prevailed. While nothing in his earlier life suggested unusual ability, he was greatly successful, to a point where the presidency was almost inevitable. But statecraft was less arousing than war. Grant never mastered it and again failed. He was a successful spokesman for neither business nor the interests of outsiders. He failed to secure the rights of his loyal black constituents, and he was never able to find a voice with which to express what lay beneath the frustrated energy of thousands of ordinary Americans, like himself, for whom nothing save war had proved compelling. Leaving office, with no battlefield before him, the hero traveled the world accepting the cheers to which he had grown addicted. Not until his final battle did he become truly engaged again, writing his Personal Memoirs while dying of cancer.Much has been written about Grant, but no previous book has grasped his personality in a way that explains and resolves the many enigmas of his life. Here William S. McFeely gives us the real grant--an ordinary and extraordinary man.