Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Atlantic editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates just finished reading Grant's Memoir, which he has been "live" blogging about.
It's a remarkable book, widely and justifiably considered about the best of that genre ever written.
I'm reading up a bit on Grant's nemesis, Robert E. Lee, in preparation for the upcoming anniversary of Gettysburg.
I often find myself defending Grant from ignorant criticism, often from Lee fans. For some reason Lee's admirers find it impossible to admit that Grant was a good general or anywhere near the equal of Lee -- Grant only won due to overwhelming force. Now, it is true that Grant had significant material advantages over Lee in 1864, but no more so than many other Union generals that Lee had nevertheless thrashed for the previous two years.
Lee was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest generals of U.S. history. Gen. Winfield Scott, one of America's other great generals said Lee was the finest soldier he ever knew -- and in more than 50 years of service Scott got to know a lot of soldiers.
It takes nothing away from Lee to see that Grant was also an exceptional general. He had to be, to beat Robert E. lee.