Friday, 20 January 2017

Ulysses Grant: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History – Book Review

This is a book part of the Hourly History series capturing the significant events of the life of the American Civil War hero and two time president, Ulysses S. Grant.

The book starts with Ulysses S. Grant’s ordinary beginning; someone who was too timid and had no special skill but for his knowledge about animals and horse riding; eventually ends up in the military in exchange for free college education who eventually quit after the US – Mexico war. The book then talks about Grant’s failed ventures; be it farming or business. However, with the Southern States launching a rebellion in order to retain their right to keep slaves; little did the country expect to find an able general in Ulysses Grant whose success in the Civil War and keeping the Union together made him a national hero. The book ends with a short note on his presidency.

The book followed the typical pattern the Hourly History series usually follows in case of covering a personality; that is, events being arranged chronologically and also covering every significant event. The book also gave a sufficient background to the Civil War and also focused a little on Grant’s personal views which were towards abolition of slavery. I have always found Grant’s rise interesting considering, the honour of leading the Union could’ve well gone to the opponent considering it was the Confederate General Robert E. Lee who was offered it first but chose to lead the Confederates since his home state Virginia joined the Confederates. How Grant managed to maintain the Union was also something captured well, as to how he offered Lee rather liberal terms of surrender which ensured a peaceful post war transition.

However, I felt the book could have concentrated a little more on his presidency, considering that his political career was scandal ridden but then, the book just touches upon them in barely a paragraph and I actually wished to know a little more about them but then, I guess I would have to rely on other sources to know more about them.

Alas, it is ironic that I am reviewing about Ulysses S. Grant, the person who first gave voting rights to all regardless of ethnicity on the same day when Donald J. Trump is going to swear-in as the 45th President of the United States (in less than an hour from the time of this post, to be precise); a person who just seems too keen on dividing the country along ethnic lines.

On the whole, I would award the book a rating of six on ten.

Rating – 6/10

Have a nice day,


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