This is the second presidential biography that I have read by H.W. Brands. The first was “A Traitor to His Class” and like the first, this one did not disappoint. “The Man Who Saved the Union” is an excellent biography of one of the most misunderstood President’s due to unsubstantiated rumors about alcohol abuse. It is well researched and written in style that is informative and easy to read.
He develops Grant over the period of his life and gives excellent insight into how he thought, reached his decisions and the strengths and weaknesses of his leadership style. His relationships with his family, peers and subordinates are also examined. The book is well documented and researched.
Ulysses Grant was a complicated man who was most comfortable in the military, but answered the call to lead his country as President during reconstruction and the Indian conflicts and then feverishly worked on his memoirs before he died in order for his family to be taken care of from a financial position. While the book covered common ground from other biographies of Grant, it also exposed several new insights into the man and his thought process.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Grant, presidential biographies or the Civil War era and reconstruction.