On Presidents' Day 2014, Reconsidering U.S. Grant's Tenure in the White House
On this edition of our show, in honor of Presidents' Day, we revisit, and reassess, an American leader who's seen by many as a brilliant general but a rather less-than-brilliant president. Today's ST is an encore presentation of an interesting discussion that we first aired in October 2012. At that time, we chatted with the bestselling author and acclaimed historian, H.W. Brands, who's the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. We spoke with Prof. Brands about his then-new book, "The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace." As Publishers Weekly noted of this volume, in a starred review: "This authoritative biography of an obscure failure and occasional drunkard who became a Civil War generalissimo and the 18th U.S. president is a study in two kinds of moral courage.... [Brands's] narrative of Grant's military campaigns in particular is lucid, colorful, and focused on telling moments of decision. His Grant emerges as an immensely appealing figure...with a keen mind, stout character, and unpretentious manner. The result is a fine portrait of the quintessential American hero."