Academic journal article Military Review

GRANT: A Biography

Academic journal article Military Review

GRANT: A Biography

Article excerpt

GRANT: A Biography, John Mosier, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2006, 186 pages, $21.95.

This latest biography on General Grant is well worth reading. Written by John Mosier, it is part of the ongoing "Great General Series" that so far includes works on Patton, Eisenhower, LeMay, MacArthur, and Stonewall Jackson. Mosier, a noted historian, has published other historical works, to include The Myth of the Great War and The Blitzkrieg Myth: How Hitler and the Allies Misread the Strategic Realities of the Second World War.

Mosier's new book differs somewhat from the many other well written biographies on General Grant. Concise and very informative, it focuses mostly on Grant's generalship, strategy, and legacy. In doing so, it paints an illuminating picture of what made General Grant so uniquely effective among his many capable peers.

Mosier does offer a brief look into Grant's formative years. Two items in particular lend insight into the future leader's makeup: he taught himself algebra at an early age, and he was a reasonably talented artist. Both accomplishments suggest an adept intellect and a capacity for abstract thought not usually accorded Grant. Mosier contends that these qualities would contribute greatly to Grant's effectiveness as the commander of all Union forces later in the Civil War.

The author also touches on Grant's civilian life after his service during the War with Mexico and before the Civil War. It is widely believed that Grant was a failure at civilian life, but Mosier again confounds conventional lore by providing evidence that Grant was a relatively successful and happy middle class person. He earned at least enough money to provide a comfortable brick home for his family, and he remained happily married to the same woman for his entire life. …

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