Customer Reviews for

Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Well done and timely

    Very well written in compact prose. Korda's sympathy for Grant is evident throughout, yet he doesn't shy from Grant's failings. A wonderful story artfully told.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable and fascinating read

    It was interesting to learn about the essence of US Grant in a mere 176 pages rather than having to wade through a much larger book. I plan to read more books by Korda.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2004

    Short, Concise, Informative & Interesting

    Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), says Michael Korda, was an 'unlikely hero.' He was, writes Korda, 'thin-skinned, sensitive, and burdened with the inferiority complex of a boy who had been brought up by harsh and distant parents, made fun of at school, been passed over for promotion in the army, failed at every attempt to make money or improve his situation, and eventually settled into life as a clerk in his father's store and the town drunk until the Civil War came along and saved him.' The author portrays Grant as one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest, of American military leaders. And while Grant was one of our weaker presidents, says Korda, he succeeded in keeping the nation at peace during troubled times. The book discusses Grant's years at West Point, his service in the Mexican War, his marriage to Julia Dent, and the birth of their four children: Frederick, Ulysses Junior, Nellie, and Jesse. Grant was born on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio. In May 1860, after the dismal failure of numerous business enterprises, he moved to Galena, Illinois, and accepted a clerkship in his father's leather store. He died on July 23, 1885, at Mt. McGregor, New York, only a week or so before completing his monumental Memoirs. Of course, the main reason we are still fascinated with Grant today is because of his military genius in the horrific conflict of the Civil War. Korda points out that nearly 625,000 Americans were killed in the Civil War, compared to 400,000 in World War II and 58,000 in Vietnam. Korda follows Grant from Fort Henry (on the Tennessee River), Fort Donelson (on the Cumberland River), Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), Vicksburg, Chattanooga (Missionary Ridge), Cold Harbor, the siege of Petersburg, and his pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia to Appomattox Court House, the venue of Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender. Grant saw clearly (as did Lincoln) that the only way to win the war was to keep pounding away relentlessly and doggedly at the enemy. On Feb. 16, 1862, he sent a stern missive to Gen. S. B. Buckner, commander of Fort Donelson (near Dover, Tennessee): 'No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.' On May 11, 1864, in 'the Wilderness' near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, Grant sent a dispatch to Washington: 'I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.' And on Aug. 1, 1864, writing from City Point, Virginia, Grant sent this dispatch to Gen. Henry W. Halleck: 'Wherever the enemy goes let our troops go also.' Although Grant's presidency was embroiled in scandal, Korda insists that Grant was honest to a fault, but too naive and trusting of others. Grant emerges as a decent, honorable, and likable man. And Korda's concise biography of Grant should appeal even to those who are not Civil War buffs. A final point should be emphasized. Korda's assessment of Grant is constantly compared to the leaders of World War II and to the present war in the Middle East ('Operation Iraqi Freedom'). The latter comparison is inferred rather than explicit, but Korda's meaning is unmistakable. Grant left some important words of wisdom for us today, imploring us to resist the arrogant encroachments of a theocratic fundamentalism: 'Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separate.' Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero launches the Eminent Lives Series from HarperCollins. Forthcoming volumes include studies of Alexander the Great, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexis de Tocqueville, William Shakespeare, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. Roy E. Perry of Nolensville (rperry1778@aol.com) is an advertising copywriter at a Nashville publishing house. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Korda, who served in the British armed forces, is editor-in-chief of Simon & Schust

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    I have read Grant's Memoirs and several other biographies of the

    I have read Grant's Memoirs and several other biographies of the general. To me they are all great readings. I am surprised that Michael

    Korda did not do for Grant what he did for IKE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Disappointing

    Laced with subjective comments, devoid of critical analysis, and brimming with the author's overt fascination with the Duke of Wellington. At best - I would recommend this as an introductory biography of GEN Grant for middle school readers.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Related to him

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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