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Personal Memoirs: Ulysses S. Grant (Modern Library War) Paperback – May 4, 1999
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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."
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great insight into the mind of U.S. Grant. His private thoughts about different policies, strategies, circumstances or other generals were fascinating. Read morePublished 1 day ago by S. Mezger
I had heard of these memoirs for many years and was pleased to read them. Grant was much more literate than I would have thought. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Hungry reader
Fascinating to get the history of the American Civil War directly from one of its most significant generals. I almost feel as though I know him now. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Laurence F. Kirsh
Great to read about the Civil War from someone who was actually in it. A must for Civil War buffs.Published 18 days ago by ABklynKindaGuy
What comes through most clearly is his disarming restraint and modesty. Restraint at the utter incompetence of his superiors such as Halleck who always got things wrong, who... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Samuel Romilly
If you are interested in history this is a good read, Bit on the dry side for periods of time, good book to read in bits and pieces thoughPublished 1 month ago by Hope Hudson
My husband loved it! It came as advertised, VERY GOOD condition no marks, tears or other imperfections. Thank You for another great purchase!Published 1 month ago by Patricia E. Lord
Grant offers a very readable history of his life and Civil War campaigns. But it's his insights, observations, and wisdom that I most enjoyed. I highly recommend this book.Published 2 months ago by Doug Dawson
You have to admire Grant for writing this while suffering from terminal cancer and supporting his family. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Claire M Clasen