Written by a grandson and namesake of General Grant, this carefully documented book presents a ""personal portrait"" that supplements the many military biographies of the Union leader. Based on his own recollections and contemporary documents, including Grant's own memoirs, the book, at times understandably biased, is blessedly free of all attempts at fictionization. From its pages Grant, superlative horseman and superlatively modest, emerges as a small, unassuming man, a leader who possessed a gift for foresight amounting to genius, but who bore little resemblance to the popular concept of a conquering hero. Too trustful of dubious friends, unfailingly generous to his enemies, he was never a drunkard in spite of long-believed lies spread by jealous Union officers. Accused falsely of profiting personally from the corruption that marred his two terms as President, he was also bitterly criticized for failing to exploit the defeated Confederacy. Retiring from the Presidency and the Army, Grant joined his son's investment firm, lost all he had and owed $150,000 he had borrowed by trusting a dishonest man, his son's partner. Suffering from cancer of the throat, Grant was urged by Mark Twain to pay his debts and provide for his family by writing his memoirs. A dying man, Grant did so, finishing the last page on his deathbed and sure that the book would be a failure; for years it was a best seller. The book is perhaps too long for the general reader, but the account of Grant's last battle with death is one of the best parts of an ingratiating presentation.