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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well it is called Union Station. So I'm plugging these shows (unseen) on Grant having actually slogged my way through the 1000 page tome of the same name by Chernow. It was in fact a good read but it's not easy to stick with it after the well known exciting bits. (Literally started it at Thanksgiving and finished in Feb.)

So not gonna read it? ... Here's some shows that could do it for you instead.


(And if you must must know. My tree has some on both sides ...)
 

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I liked the book too, but I do agree that it was long, and at times, boring. Still, I learned alot about a very complex man who did a lot of good in spite of his Presidency often being called the most corruption in American history.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think that some of Grants presidency was well boring, reflected in the book. To me the book tried to resurrect or revive Grant as one of the greats. It made a solid case. My simplistic take on Grant:

  • he was a failure in private life
  • he was largely a functional alcoholic
  • if he had any "genius" -- he seemed to be able to look over the horizon a little beyond his contemporaries. he used this to win the war, push reconstruction, and promote a few interesting foreign policy ideas.
  • he had a fatal flaw in trustiness of close associates that dogged him his entire life
  • none of the generals in the war on either side, including him knew how to deal with the overwhelming firepower of the well formed defensive line. this stayed with us through WW1...
 

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Watched all three episodes and, other than the annoying frequency of commercial breaks, found the documentary to be fairly well done.

As an aside; I’ve read the Chernow book and last Fall purchased and read the annotated version of the Grant memoirs. I’d highly recommend the latter if you want to read it from the man himself.

Curt
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You know you are right. I have not read them and I had as a "thing to do" after finishing the Chernow book. And I've let it slip by... I also have not watched the shows even though I adverted them, but I hope to get to them over the weekend.

But I'm glad you enjoyed them! It's a very interesting and sort of "american story" that we so lovei in our culture. I mean he appeared to come out of nowhere I'm sure that was a feeling then. And so here we are now...
 

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I think that some of Grants presidency was well boring, reflected in the book. To me the book tried to resurrect or revive Grant as one of the greats. It made a solid case. My simplistic take on Grant:

  • he was a failure in private life
  • he was largely a functional alcoholic
  • if he had any "genius" -- he seemed to be able to look over the horizon a little beyond his contemporaries. he used this to win the war, push reconstruction, and promote a few interesting foreign policy ideas.
  • he had a fatal flaw in trustiness of close associates that dogged him his entire life
  • none of the generals in the war on either side, including him knew how to deal with the overwhelming firepower of the well formed defensive line. this stayed with us through WW1...
I watched the series. I thought it was well done.

The siege seemed to work against well defended positions - Vicksburg.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not a real expert. But it just seems to me looking at it, then comparing it to say Ww2 ... They just didn't have the tank. So they were stuck with massing men and a bit of artillery to break through a line. Bloody. Going around is another option but this was slow and appears to have mostly failed unless the armies were grossly out of proportion. Anyway it seems soon enough all the armies learned to plug any gaps made by these kinds of attacks with reserves and quick defencies. So they all got very good at defensive position and obstacles. Grant seems to have been willing to try anything to bust through with limited success. But that gets to I think a strength of his...
Example I think its in the wilderness campaign someone had the idea of sending in waves of field artillery and then following it up closely with infantry. He okd the plan. This to me seemed rather like we do now. But it was pre tank. Evenso it sortof worked... But fully exploiting the gap proved impossible cause Lee was able to quickly enough close them up again...
So the war dragged on with kind of thing ...
Well interestingly enough Grant was a whittler. He appears to have had a habit of whittling away any old piece of wood he had at hand to nothing... And doing it again.
I honestly think that's pretty much what he thought about the war... Whether consciously or not...
 

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Watched all three episodes and, other than the annoying frequency of commercial breaks, found the documentary to be fairly well done.
You haven't heard of a DVR? For stuff like that I record it so I can zap through all the commercials. :)
 

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John:

I have and had I known beforehand they’d have commercial breaks at what seemed like six or seven minute intervals; I’d have done exactly that.

Curt
 

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The history channel is famous, or, infamous for it's frequent and long commercial breaks. For this reason, I don not watch anything in real time. I enjoy the American Pickers and The Count, but only watch them after first recording them. The show time is approximately 45% of the total broadcast time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Watched the second as it's expiring in in demand. (Comcast service). It's good. I think the Grant actor is very good.
 
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