Hiram Ulysses Grant was described by poet Walt Whitman as “nothing heroic… and yet the greatest hero.” Undistinguished before the Civil War, he emerged as one of the Union’s most effective generals. Self-effacing, he went about his business with quiet determination and a sure hand. As president, he sought to secure the fruits won by that war. Grant’s reputation has been on the rise in recent years, but “this is a good time for this fine biography. If we still believe in forming a more perfect union, his steady and courageous example is more valuable than ever” (New York Times Book Review).