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Sixth & I

Ron Chernow

Oct 23, 2017 • 7:00 pm ET
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President Ulysses S. Grant has typically been misunderstood, often caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don’t come close to capturing him, as Chernow details in his new biography, Grant.

Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid accusations of drunkenness. But in the Civil War, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, rising through the ranks of the Union army, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant’s military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members.

More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him “the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race.” Grant is a synthesis of comprehensive research that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.

Chernow is the author of six books, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Washington: A Life, and Alexander Hamilton, the inspiration for the Broadway Musical. He is also the recipient of a National Humanities Medal. Book signing to follow.

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