Ulysses S. Grant may be most notable as the 18th president of the United States, and a Union Civil War general, but he’s also been dismissed throughout history as a drunk and a failed
Even Walt Whitman weighed in, describing the general as “nothing heroic... and yet the greatest hero.”
While the contradicting nuances of his leadership and his life have been analyzed throughout history, Grant’s post-civil war contributions are largely unknown. He became a strong opponent of the Ku Klux Klan, and worked to pass the 15th amendment, restricting federal and state governments from denying citizen voting rights based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Frederick Douglass even hailed Grant as a “vigilant, firm, impartial and wise protector of my race.”
Ron Chernow is the author of the new book “Grant” and explores the general’s life including his boyhood squeamishness, ruthless reputation as a general and longstanding battle with alcoholism. As the debate on national monuments looms, Grant’s story gives insight to the dark history of racism in the U.S., and paints a fuller picture of the general.
Larry speaks to Chernov today for an inside look at the revelations of his research for the book.
Ron Chernow will be in conversation with historian Bill Deverell tonight, Oct. 16, at 7:00pm for his new book, “Grant.” The event is presented by Vroman’s Bookstore and takes place at All Saints Church in Pasadena. For more information and to purchase a ticket, click here.
Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of many books, including “Grant,” his latest biography on Ulysses S. Grant