History provides lessons that we can learn from. The Civil War years in our country were a time of great division. Jennifer Chiaverini has written several historical novels set in this time period. I found the book about Julia and Ulysses Grant to be especially interesting.
My knowledge of our eighteenth president was limited. I knew that Grant had been a general in the Union army during the Civil War. I didn’t know that he was a devoted family man.
Chiaverini’s novel, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, paints a picture of the Grant family throughout the Civil War and a brief summary of the years at the Whitehouse. It was fascinating to learn more about the southern belle married to a northern abolitionist.
Mrs. Grant actually kept a slave through the beginning of the Civil War, even though her husband was against it. That their marriage survived and their devotion to each other continued to grow, I found inspiring.
Chiaverini did extensive research for this book. The list of resources is long and includes the memoirs written by Julia Dent Grant and her husband Ulysses S. Grant. Julia and Ulysses had a strong and loving marriage. They endured family disapproval when they married. Julia learned to adjust to military life during the Civil War, and then thrived as First Lady through Grant’s two terms as president.
Following the years at the White House, the Grants had financial challenges. It was interesting to learn that Mark Twain was a family friend and had a significant role in the publication of Grant’s memoirs.
As I read through this novel I was reminded that our country has been through many tumultuous times. Our leaders are human, subject to error.
In the book two former slaves (fictional characters) comment about Julia and Ulysses Grant: “He wasn’t a perfect man or a perfect president, but he was a loving father and a devoted husband . . . We’re all sinners in need of the Lord’s redemptive grace and forgiveness . . . General Grant and his wife too.” *
We have a great need to pray for our leaders.
I’m sharing this post with Literacy Musing Monday .
* Jennifer Chiaverini, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, New York: Penguin Random House Company, 2015, p. 357.