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On 'New Ulysses S. Grant Biography Delivers Valuable Lessons in Reconciliation'

A victorious Civil War general who eventually became president of the United States, Grant will be remembered as one who slowly restored order and reconciliation in America following the tumultuous presidency of Andrew Johnson. In his latest book, Victor!: The Final Battle of Ulysses S. Grant, author Craig von Buseck shows us a portrait of a flawed man who emerged to shine a light of hope to guide people into the future. Far from perfect, in the book’s 464 pages, Grant is remembered for his courage and tenacity to persevere in the darkest of days.

I recently sat down with von Buseck to discuss Ulysses S. Grant’s place in history, the lessons he still teaches us today, and why legendary abolitionist Fredrick Douglass called him “a man too broad for prejudice”.

First off, this is number book number 10 for you. Okay. I'm starting to see a trend in your writing and your publishing in that the last three or four books are historic in nature. Why are you so interested in that genre of writing?

History is fascinating in that you can't explain away what happened in any other way than to say that could very well have been the hand of God. If it's fiction or even Bible teaching, people could say, “Oh, well, that's your interpretation.” Or they could say, “Well, you just made that up.” But when you're dealing with history, what happened is what happened. And yes, there are people who can spin it one way or the other. But when someone is truly honest and truly seeking the truth, then it's hard to spin certain things. And so, I saw that in my book, I Am Cyrus: The Rebirth of Israel, Harry S. Truman, I saw in the rebirth of Israel, how God put people in places just for a certain amount of time to get His plan pushed through. And then those people were scattered and there were other people who didn't want to do it God’s way.

I saw the same thing happen in the life of Ulysses S. Grant. Throughout his life, he was underestimated. People thought he was dumb. People thought he was a drunkard. People thought that he was slothful. In reality, he was just raised as a good Methodist by his mother Hannah Grant, where you didn't put yourself out there, you didn't brag. You didn't write about yourself to push yourself ahead. You did your job the best that you could do with excellence, and then let your work speak for you. And so, what happened with Grant is that people in leadership, they were the ones, if they weren't jealous of him, because he did such an excellent job, but they truly were looking for the best person for the job. I think that God's hand was upon him to bring him to a place of prominence at the right place at the right time for His purposes.


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