TLDR; An in-depth account of Grant’s life from childhood through the end of the Civil War. Filled with quotes from letters and newspapers which makes it a slow read. Great content. Recommended.
Grant has been a favorite historical figure of mine since writing a report on him in sixth grade. I wrote he was a brilliant general, a drunk and a respected president. At least 2 of those assertions may be false. In Ulysses S. Grant Triumph Over Adversity 1822-1865, Brooks Simpson follows the life and career of Grant though the end of the Civil War. We get an in-depth treatment of his life, including his tough relationship with his father, wife, press, the military, etc. I selected this book about Grant by recommendations from the Stoic community. I consider Grant a Stoic figure for the way he overcame obstacles (multiple failures early in his military career and business ventures) and remained calm (facing enemy fire, dealing with the pressures of the press or military officials). Simpson does a great job in presenting Grant’s challenges and his will to overcome them. To show the obstacles, Simpson provides ample quotes from letters, and newspaper accounts. These quotes lengthen the text considerably and, most times, belabor the point. Simpson also examines whether Grant was actually a drunk or if the press and jealous colleagues used it active propaganda against him. We don’t find a definitive answer but we get a great look at Grant and his remarkable career. 3.5/5.