Episode 4 – Ulysses S. Grant: a hero with a nearly fatal flaw

We tend to idolize our heroes and gloss over their weaknesses. Looking back, it’s so much easier to cite their strengths, vision, bravery and accomplishments. But what do we do with those pesky flaws they all have? Do we sweep them under the carpet or openly acknowledge them?

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was a remarkable military leader in the American Civil War who fought Robert E. Lee and led the north to ultimate victory. He then would become president in 1868 and served for two terms, accomplishing much to restore and unify a nation severely battered during the war.

Yet his story contains a side note that lies remarkably hidden in history. In 1854, he resigned from the U.S. Army and lived with his parents in poverty for seven years. His prompt departure was driven by bouts of alcoholism.

In this episode, we tackle this flaw and ask if was in spite of this weakness (or because of it) that he achieved greatness. Ron Chernow’s best-selling biography “Grant” was the inspiration for this episode.

Bam! Get ready to be primed on a general, a president and his bouts with booze. I hope you enjoy my newest episode.

Further reading