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Magnanimous and unselfish in life; reliable and clear-headed in war; subtle and funny in prose. A solid guy, indispensable like Lincoln. A restless and wondering boy, he spent his free time away from the plow on horseback, exploring. Leaving the White House in , he launched upon a world tour. Grant commenced these memoirs for money, after a Ponzi scheme ruined his family; in same month, he received the terminal diagnosis; he wrote racing death.

But Grant was always his best under pressure; the Union is the proof. A staff officer once saw a shell explode over him as he sat on a log writing out an order; Grant continued writing; when he handed the order over, its perfect flow of penmanship betrayed no sign of the shellfire interruption. If any dying pauper was to write a cool, calm, lucidly funny memoir, it was Grant; and he must have been heartened by the , prepublication orders gathered by Mark Twain, his publisher.

Twain hired on thousands of Union veterans who dressed in faded uniforms and old medals to canvass the North for subscriptions. Grant died a week after putting down his pen, and posthumous bestsellerdom gathered a fortune to his widow. You shall not be The grave of your deserving. Rome must know The value of her own. Therefore, I beseech you— In sign of what you are, not to reward What you have done—before our army hear me. Coriolanus, I, ix Grant more nearly impersonated the American character of than any other living man. Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in America.

Sherman, View all 20 comments. I read this because of a review.

The reviewer wrote that they had read this book to their Father while in was in hospital. The image of that situation struck me.

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What with one thing and another it was the kind of thing I could imagine doing myself, although as it happened the only book I ended up reading to my father in hospital was The Cruel Sea , Grant's Memoirs will always be appropriate as a choice of end of life reading since they were written as he was dying of throat cancer. The use of I read this because of a review. The use of language is very direct and precise, there's a clear sense of narrative direction. It was of course written partly in reaction to the mass of memoirs written, particularly by former Southern Generals, as a continuation of the war by literary means partly to provide money for his family who had been ruined by the financial speculation and adventures of his son.

In common with those memoirs it is fighting a war on two fronts. Against the former enemy and against the former rivals. Grant was dying of cancer and the memoir was dictated to a stenographer until the constrictions of his throat made this impossible. But it remains clear and precise. The meaning of the book to me is in the acceptance of responsibility entails the active search for achievable objectives and the articulation of those objectives in the form of a plan. This imparts the text with direction and clarity.

There's a sense that in order to control that particular complex situation acting was better than reacting. View all 6 comments. The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery… It is probably well that we had the war when we did… our republican institutions were regarded [by the nations of Europe] as experiments … and monarchical Europe generally believed that our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the slightest strain was brought upon it.

Now it has shown itself capable of dealing with one of the greatest wars that was ever made… President The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery… It is probably well that we had the war when we did… our republican institutions were regarded [by the nations of Europe] as experiments … and monarchical Europe generally believed that our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the slightest strain was brought upon it. But I can understand any rating between 3 and 5. Much of the book consists of detailed accounts of military actions and campaigns, more detailed than one would find in a typical military history.

The man. By the time the war was over Grant was in charge of all the fighting men of the North, having been promoted to lieutenant-general of the Union Army. Grant was elected the 18th President of the United States in the election, and returned for a second term in He was a popular president through most of his two terms, but in his last several months in office his reputation was damaged severely by his association with scandals involving his personal secretary and his Secretary of War.

Following his term in office , Grant spent two years touring the world with his wife Julia. Enormous crowds turned out to greet him in Britain and Ireland. Returning to the U. However, Grant lost the nomination to James Garfield. As his savings continued to dwindle he had lost his military pension when elected to the Presidency , Grant made investments first in the Mexican Southern Railroad Co. Both of these ventures turned out disastrously. Imagine if you can a former President of the U. To add injury to insult, Grant learned in that he was suffering from throat cancer.

Prior to this a publisher had suggested that Grant write his memoirs.

Grant began writing in the late summer of , just as he learned about the cancer. He completed the task in under a year, doing his last work on the proofs on July 14, Nine days later he died. The Book. While the first claim is likely true, the second is somewhat misleading. Although Grant was a President of the U. Nowhere is it mentioned that the author served as President.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Grant commanded troops at many important battles - Shiloh, Vicksburg, Atlanta, Spotsylvania The Wilderness , Richmond — and each of these actions is covered in detail in his memoir. But the maps provided lack way too many important locations mentioned repeatedly in the text. There is no question that Grant was a more than competent writer. These orders, like hundreds he wrote in the four years of the war, were models of terse, clear prose.

He almost never lost control of syntax; only rarely did he have to enter, with a carat, a word omitted in the quick, steady movement of his pencil.

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These orders do invariably follow in style quite closely to the prose style of the memoirs. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also.

This wonderfully terse order appears as the first two sentences in a paragraph that runs on for six more sentences. The paragraph itself sits in the middle of a ten-paragraph order. Grant at Cold Harbor. June Encyc. Many of these wartime experiences are interesting, particularly the final pages, from the time Grant was appointed leader of the Union Army on March 9 - a commission held only by Washington previously to the end of the war.

Naturally this section of the book contains more on grand strategy than prior sections. And having ascended to this commission Grant came to be personally acquainted with President Lincoln, with whom he had several direct discussions, and many correspondences. I found all these to be fascinating. Regarding the last, his belief that the war had to be brought to a speedy end, and his explanation of the very different political realities of the North a democratic republic and the South an armed military state. It would be impossible for me to describe the feeling that overcame me at the news of these assassinations, more especially the assassination of the President.

I knew his goodness of heart, his generosity, his yielding disposition, his desire to have everybody happy, and above all his desire to see all the people of the United Sates enter again upon the full privileges of citizenship with equality among all. Twain famously compared Grant's Personal Memoirs to Caesar's De Bello Gallico , to stress not only the quality of the work, but more importantly to increase book sales.

The comparison makes sense superficially: both memoirs were written by the leading generals of the day in a concise economy of style; both men were instrumental in cementing their respective nations' transformation from republic to Empire; and the works of both men were celebrated by the foremost men of letters of the day Twain famously compared Grant's Personal Memoirs to Caesar's De Bello Gallico , to stress not only the quality of the work, but more importantly to increase book sales. The comparison makes sense superficially: both memoirs were written by the leading generals of the day in a concise economy of style; both men were instrumental in cementing their respective nations' transformation from republic to Empire; and the works of both men were celebrated by the foremost men of letters of the day Cicero's equanimity of judgment was such that though he despised Caesar, he could not help but admire the precision of his Latin.

But that comparison only goes so far, and illustrates a key difference between the two men: while Caesar's Commentaries may have been a model of economy and efficiency, they were in no way commensurate with his identity and personality. He was reckoned by Cicero, again as Rome's finest declaimer and orator, an extrovert whose charisma, charm, and guile secured his political ascent well before he could claim any martial victories of note.

Grant's Memoirs , on the other hand, are a perfect reflection of Ulysses S. Grant the person: terse, but descriptive; precise, yet determined; simple, yet nuanced. And beyond those traits particular to himself, Grant was an exemplar of the 19th-century army officer. In a time where misunderstood orders could easily create chaos and havoc and thus lead to calamity , it was imperative that officers, particularly commanding officers, be able to write well.

And write well he did, without the superfluous flourishes that were popular at the time; his unadorned, plain, reductive style was somehow fitting, considering the subject.