On August 22, I will return to West Point to offer a presentation based on my 2016 biography of Ulysses S. Grant. The invitation came via General David Petraeus who will moderate the program we will do together. In our program, General Petraeus will describe to the cadets and faculty why he believes Grant is America’s greatest general.
I say return, because I vividly remember spending one week at West Point in October 2010. At the beginning of my research, I traveled to West Point convinced that this crucial part of Grant’s story had received too little space in previous Grant biographies. Grant entered West Point in 1839 as a 17-year-old boy barely five feet tall from the West—Ohio. Although he graduated in 1843 with a rank of 21 out of 39 in his class, in my biography I relate why his four years at West Point were crucial to his formation as a soldier and a leader.
In 2015, as Random House readied the biography for publication, I learned of General Petraeus’ appreciation of and knowledge about Grant. My publisher invited him to offer a blurb for the biography. He did.
General Petraeus also suggested we do a program together on Grant in both Los Angeles and New York. In our program, he told both audiences why he believed Grant was the greatest American general. Generals should be judged by how they understood and executed the strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of military strategy. Only Grant excelled in all three areas. Furthermore, he declared that he read Grant as he prepared to execute the Surge in Iraq in 2007. And he spoke with his officers about Grant.
The presentation at West Point will be recorded. Please check back for a link to the recording.