Ulysses S. Grant hagiographies

Ethan Rafuse recently commented about “those who have pushed Grant scholarship to the point where history becomes hagiography.”

Now, I have just run across Russell Bonds’ review of H.W. Brands’ “The Man Who Saved the Union.” In it, Bonds noted how the publication of William S. McFeely’s “Grant: A Biography” “sparked a flurry of responses trending toward hagiography. More than a dozen biographies, ‘dual biographies’ and studies of Grant have been published in the past 15 years, their authors lauding Grant as a ‘genius’ and a ‘savior’—all the while insisting that he has been ‘overlooked’ and ‘underrated.'” Bonds opined how “[r]ecent historians have not so much drawn Grant’s portrait as erected new monuments to him,” although omitting Brooks Simpson and a few unnamed others from that list.

I basically agree with Bonds, but with fewer exceptions.

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