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Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant Paperback – November 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602069182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602069183
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,966,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Destitute and wracked by throat cancer, Ulysses S. Grant finished writing his Personal Memoirs shortly before his death in 1885. Today their clear prose stands as a model of autobiography. Civil War soldiers are often celebrated for the high literary quality of the letters they sent home from the front lines; Grant's own book is probably the best piece of writing produced by a participant in the War Between the States. Apart from Lincoln, no man deserves more credit for securing the Northern victory than Grant, and this chronicle of campaigns and battles tells how he did it. (The book also made a bundle of money for his family, which had been reeling from the failure of Grant's brokerage firm.) This is not an overview of the entire Civil War; as the North was beating the South on the third day of Gettysburg, for example, Grant was in Mississippi capturing Vicksburg. But it is a great piece of writing, one that can be appreciated even by readers with little interest in military history. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"The best [memoirs] of any general's since Caesar."   --Mark Twain

"A unique expression of the national character....[Grant] has conveyed the suspense which was felt by himself and his army and by all who believed in the Union cause. The reader finds himself...on edge toknow how the Civil War is coming out."   --Edmund Wilson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is a very fast reading book, very well written.
David Wells
If you have a Kindle, please read the free sample so you can see just what a good read this book is even after all the years since it was written.
ncsoul
I have been a history 'buff' all my life, and read what I thought were some of the best books about and set in the American Civil War.
Rielle Bhaer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Fred on December 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never been much of a Civil War fan, but after reading "The Killer Angels" by Shaara, a historical fiction about Gettysburg, I was interested in following up with some non-fiction about the most important event in US History. This book kept me turning the pages from end to end. Despite its bulk (some 618 pages) I simply couldn't put the book down, as Grant's matter-of-fact description of the events that surrounded him was completely engrossing.
Grant was not an extraordinary man or brilliant tactician, his soldiers did not have the same obsession with him that the South held for Lee, he simply saw the war for what it was, a campaign against a rebellion. He looked at the entire war in its entirety, from battlefront to battlefront, and he repeatedly used that to his advantage. Many times he makes reference to deploying troops to no clear end other than to occupy an enemies flank, this often as a junior with no authority over the battle as a whole. Grant was a man of action, who realized he had to take a step in order to walk a mile. He took the battle to the enemy, divised clear and necessary steps which were needed to win the war as a whole. He was a general who did not just see the war as independent sets of battles, but saw those battles as a means to ending the Civil War.
One of my favorite parts of the text was watching the scope of Grant's vision widen. Starting with his actions in the Mexican American War his vision is very limited: he sees only the immediate battle, and his descriptions focus on minutiae reflecting his low rank. His vision escalates with his rank, until the end of the book, with the surrender of Lee, he sees and describes the entire army, and battles that would have once taken chapters to described are now dismissed in single sentences.
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132 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Barnes and Noble Junkie on August 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Don't get me wrong, this is an incredible Memoir, but the edition that you want is the one by the Library of America. Yes you will pay a little more, but you will get a better quality edition, and you will get 200 pages of letters written by Grant, including letters sent to Lincoln and Halleck. These letters give you an even better insight of Grant the general/husband /person.

If there is anyway at all possible that you can spend the extra $9 I recommend doing it. If you are on a shoe string budget then buy this edition. It is a 5 star memoir, even without the letters.

I have a full review at the other edition, but I will say that I cannot recommend Grant's memoirs enough. It really is an awesome book.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Richard Arant on May 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than the descriptions of the great battles, which were of such great scale that they were beyond my ability to grasp, I was most impressed with the courage and intelligence of the man, who wrote these memoirs while dying of a painful cancer. His assessments of the generals on both sides, many of whom he knew intimately from the Mexican war, are priceless. I think the one I like best was of General Warren -- "His difficulty was constitutional and beyond his control. He was an officer of superior ability, quick perceptions, and the personal courage to accomplish anything that could be done with a small command."
General Grant also never lost the ability to make fun of himself (a lost art among today's leaders?), recalling being mocked by a stablehand who had seen him prancing in his uniform shortly after being commissioned. Perhaps that is why in his prime Grant so often wore a simple private's shirt with his proper insignia of rank.
The anecdotes from his conversations with President Lincoln are unforgettable. So are stories from the war with Mexico, when long-range Mexican cannonballs came into his lines at such shallow angles that his men could open ranks to avoid the bounding projectiles. The language of the day - "reducing" the enemy "works" with great "execution" -- adds to the enjoyment and reminds the reader of today's "collateral damage" military jargon.
Grant, great lover of a good cigar, comments on his observations from the war with Mexico that people smoked tobacco more when it was an expensive item they they did later when the price was much cheaper.
Where are such men today? Probably still out there waiting for the next great challenge to bring them forward. General Grant comments that "Those who wait to be selected, rather than those who seek, can be expected to provide the most efficient service."
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By JD Cetola VINE VOICE on August 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
A must read for all Civil War buffs and those even remotely interested in history. The 600+ pages in this book (both volume I and II are included together) articulately spell out the military career of one of the United States' greatest generals. Grant's Memoirs are well-written, thoughtful, insightful, and offer more than a glimpse into the mind of U.S. Grant.
Volume I opens with a heartfelt preface where Grant explains how his diminishing health pushed him to complete this work and "asking no favor but hoping (his remarks) will meet the approval of the reader." They most definitely do. Following the preface, the reader is given a (very) short review of his early childhood, life at West Point, and early Army life. The next one hundred pages are dedicated to the Mexican War followed by his resignation from the military and civilian life in Illinois. The remainder of Volume I and all of Volume II extensively deal with the War Between the States.
I found Volume I (written before Grant realized he was critically ill) to be rich in detail of the various military campaigns (perhaps too detailed) and his ascension through the military ranks, but it is somewhat lacking in personal observations and insights. It even drags at times--but stick with it. The patient reader will not be dissapointed. Volume II hurls the reader into the conflict, reads rapidly, and is rife with Grant's personal observations and insights.
This second volume picks up where the first left off--following Vicksburg to the campaigns in Tennessee to the Battle of the Wilderness to Sherman's March to the Sea to the Battle of Franklin right up to Appomattox and all the events of April and May 1865. These campaigns are told from the commanding general's perspective with great overview and detail.
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