This is an excellent biography of Ulysses Grant: the man, the general, the president, and the international celebrity. The author, University of Texas professor H.W. Brands, does a great job telling Grant's story with a compelling narrative that holds the reader's attention throughout the book. Upon reading this book one has a much better understanding of the characteristics that made Grant a cool, calm, strategic thinker who led his men to victory during the Civil War.
I found his interactions with other Union leaders particularly interesting -- especially President Lincoln and General Sherman. This trinity of Northern leadership and warmaking was integral to the Union's victory in the war. They had the resolve to continue to fight, even at a terrible cost in blood and treasure. In fact, General Grant earned the respect of his Confederate enemies, not only for his victories, but for his character and actions as a victor. His grace and humility at Appomattox made it easier for General Robert E. Lee to surrender with dignity, and ride off with his men with their pride intact. Actions such as these helped to finally end the war and to start the healing process in America.
Brendan Steinhauser is a national political strategist focused on campaigns, media, and public policy.