Instaread Summary, Analysis & Review of Ronald C. White's American Ulysses A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
Five out of five stars
The most effective general in the Union armies in the American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant has been criticized for his tactics of attacking over and over again until the opposing armies were simply worn out. His subsequent presidency was rocked by scandals, none of which actually involved him, Grant was simply too trusting of his subordinates.
The book is openly stated to be an attempt to historically rehabilitate Grant and this summary is also a brief history lesson in the life and achievements of Grant. Of all the presidents, his level of achievements are on the higher end of the scale. Say what you will about his generalship, he understood what few others seemed to grasp. The Union side had much more in the way of manpower and other resources, so was guaranteed a victory in any battle and war of attrition. Hence, he made it exactly that.
The summary includes brief but detailed explanations of the other major players, such as Abraham Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman. One of the most important was Grant’s relationship to President Andrew Johnson. Unwilling to be critical of Johnson, Grant was recruited as an ally, something he did with great reluctance.
A history lesson as much as a book summary, this short piece describes one of the least complex, yet most effective leaders the United States ever had. It is unfortunate that he was so trusting, for if it were not for the scandals in his administration, history would have been much kinder to his legacy.