History Channel's 'Grant' Is a Timely Reminder of Which General Actually Won the Civil War

Justin Salinger plays General Ulysses S. Grant in "Grant." (History)

President Ulysses Grant gets a three-night spotlight on the History Channel with "Grant," a six-hour series that combines documentary and docudrama to explore the life of the West Point graduate who became commander of the Union armies during the Civil War before becoming the 18th president in 1869.

The show's first episode premieres Monday, May 25, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will continue with two-hour episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time. Noted Grant biographer Ron Chernow (who also wrote "Hamilton") executive-produced the series, alongside noted history buff and Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

U.K. actor Justin Salinger portrays Grant in the reenactment scenes, and his story is fleshed out with commentary from luminaries like Chernow; retired Army Gen. and former CIA Director David Petraeus; acclaimed author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates; and Elizabeth Samet, a professor of English at West Point.

Robert E. Lee may have been the star pupil at West Point and currently the most-celebrated military man of his era, so it's easy to forget that he commanded the losing side in the Civil War.

Grant was the actual winner in that war, and he went on to serve as president as the country struggled to reconcile its split and reunite during Reconstruction. He's a towering figure in American history, and this new film will hopefully contribute to a greater appreciation of the role he played during this most divisive era.

"Grant" follows the History Channel's successful "Washington" series, which was a huge success back in February with action scenes directed by Roel Reiné ("Hard Target 2," "Seal Team Eight: Behind Enemy Lines"). Mike and Frank digging through the junk on “American Pickers” is always a guaranteed good time, but it's nice to see some actual history back on the History Channel.

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