I got a batch of books at Half Price Books the other day – you can find such great stuff there. In this case, the personal memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant! I had to laugh; his very first assignment was here in Texas for the Mexican War, and he was travelling from Corpus Christi to San Antonio and thence Austin. Grant notes, “The journey was hazardous on account of Indians, and there were white men in Texas whom I would not have cared to meet in a secluded place.” Woot for violent white Texans! Scaring Yankees since 1845.
There’s nothing like reading about events from the perspective of the great men who participated in them. In many ways Grant parallels the standard “adventurer” career path! Aimless at first and ending up in the Army by no fault of his own, “levelling up” fairly quickly in rank, and ultimately deciding the fate of a nation, by force of arms and the grace of God.
Alas, his “epic destiny” was to die sick and poor; in the real world that is second only to death by violence in the most popular fates of heroes.