Wow. This book was truly incredible. It was so long that I feel like Grant is my friend now, and I miss him! An amazing portrait of a great man. Grant, as portrayed by Chernow, was such a humble, likable, good person. His biggest flaw was that he was too trusting, and this was the reason that his presidency was embroiled in scandal, even though he himself was involved in none of it. He believed the best of everyone, to a fault. His early life was very unassuming, and it’s rather stunning that he went from obscurity and poverty to being the most famous man in the country for a season. I really enjoyed watching how a guy like him handled his sudden fame. He wore it so well.
I also really loved the portrayal of his relationship with Lincoln, even though of course that necessarily ended about halfway through the book. They had a genuine friendship, and Lincoln too had such a heart of gold. The scenes of his funeral moved me to tears.
I am particularly glad that I read “Grant” at this time, when there is so much chaos happening in the present political arena. It serves as a good reminder that we as a nation have been in far worse times than we are now, and come through them well, at least ultimately. It puts things in perspective.
One big down side of reading a biography, though, is that it necessarily ends in death, if it covers the person’s entire life. I don’t care to read excruciating details of illness, and always avoid such endings in fiction if I can.
My rating: *****
Sexual content: none
Violence: there are descriptions of war that are rather graphic, and descriptions of cancer at the end. But it tells only what it must.
Political content: historical only