Diane's Reviews > Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier & President

Ulysses S. Grant by Geoffrey Perrett
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May 07, 09

bookshelves: history, memoir-bio-autobio
Read in May, 2009

I approached this book with some reluctance. I like biography, but I do not like reading about battles - I basically skimmed/skipped even the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings - and a book about Grant simply had to have a lot of battles in it. Surprise - battles yes, but somehow Perret made them interesting and clarifying. I now wonder how either side won the Civil War - it seems to have been simply a matter of who made the fewer errors. Incompetence and reluctance seem to be requirements for generalhood. Grant's main power was that he took the offensive and pushed it. I did find the politics and pettiness of the army and of Washington wearing. The author obviously likes Grant and often comes off as his defender and apologist. The author also is quite happy to express his opinions on many issues - such as the South, West Point, and a variety of Grant's contemporaries and biographers.

Towards the end there were a few instances when some editing would have helped - especially the constant repetition of why Grant got screwed by West Point.

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