Thoughts on: Grant by Ron Chernow

Grant by Ron Chernow review
Book review

I picked up this book in an attempt to educate myself on the American civil war. I had no idea who Ullyses S. Grant was, but halfway through the book I felt like I knew the man better than I knew myself. The detail this book goes into is remarkable and you almost feel like you are experiencing the war first hand.
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Grant came from simple beginnings and throughout his life his fortunes rose and fell with “incredible speed and frequency.”
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He was a failed businessman and he was even thrown out of the army ones during the Mexican war, only to quickly raise through the ranks during the civil war, ultimately reaching the absolute peak of military achievement.
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Looking only at his track record one would be lead to believe Grant was a man of ambition. Quite the opposite seems to be the case. He never sought fame or power— even his presidency was seen more as a burdensome duty for the man, rather than something he sought after.
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🍃 I don’t envy Grant. I actually feel a bit sad for him. He seems to have lead his life like leaf in the wind. Letting external forces throw him back and forth, without ever letting his own will speak.
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🎭 Grant was economic with words and, to be honest, he feels like a poster boy for repression. Maybe that’s why alcohol was his worst enemy?! His unattended to Inner Child would pop out and wreck havoc as soon as he let his guard down? And alcohol tend to do that.
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💭 I read this book while I heard news that protesters had toppled a statue of Grant in San Francisco, because he was “ a white slave owner”. This surprised me as I’ve learned that Grant not only despised the idea slavery, but personally lead the Union army to defeat the slave-owning Confederacy, and later as president of the United States, he cracked down on the Ku Clux Clan.
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⚖️ VERDICT:
This book is huge: 1000+ pages long. I love that I got to know this guy so intimately, and the history lesson will serve me well, but I can’t encourage everyone to get this book. We all have limited time and the opportunity cost of picking up this book might be too high—unless you have a very special reason for doing so! A masterful biography!

4/5

⁉️What’s the thickest book you’ve read⁉️

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