Ulysses S. Grant, The Unlikely Hero, by Michael Korda

This biography of President Grant starts with a quote of his: “I read but few lives of great men because biographers do now, as a rule, tell enough about the formative period of life. What I want to konw is what a man did as a boy.”

Well, not me. I find the childhood parts of biographies pretty uninteresting. I like the parts about the interesting things these people did. And I have to say that it’s a good thing that this particular bio is only 150 pages long, because, as presidents go, Grant was not a particularly interesting one. He did some interesting things — was in the army, fought in Texas, got booted because of a drinking problem — and turned out to be a solid, if not brilliant Civil War general, helped mostly by the numerical superiority of the North — and was the president who presided over Reconstruction. But beyond that, not too much interesting about the man. Didn’t have a lot of his own political views, didn’t do much after his presidency. But I suppose you have to say that he cared a lot about healing the country after the Civil War, and took actions that certainly weren’t punitive, and probably went a long way towards making it one nation again.

Anyway, I don’t mean to sound like I didn’t like the book — it’s pretty well-written, and I read it in a day and a half — just tough, slightly mundane content to work with, in terms of presidential biographies. Next in the Boring Lives of Presidents Series: James K. Polk.

Just kidding.


  1. NEVER! Grant was pimp and your the one thats boring! Death to you!

  2. NEVER! Grant was pimp and your the one thats boring! Death to you!