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Ulysses S. Grant : Memoirs and Selected Letters : Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant / Selected Letters, 1839-1865 (Library of America) Hardcover – October 1, 1990
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About the Author
William S. McFeely is Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen; Grant: A Biography, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Parkman Prize; Frederick Douglass, which received the Lincoln Prize; Sapelo s People: A Long Walk into Freedom; and Proximity to Death.
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
This is one of the most important books written an American. There is something huge and seething about these memoirs. To be sure it is not from the cool tone; Grant was old fashioned in that way, and these are not confidential memoirs. This is the story about a down at the heels middle-aged man working as a clerk in Galena, Illinios shop when the Civil War started and how that man would become the nation's first four star general. But don't think of this as a success story in the ordinary sense. This lucid and clear story is one not of a man's success but of a nation's torment. Throughout the book Grant goes out of his way to praise his subordinates for his successes. Grant's modesty however does not obscure or hide his ability. There are many reasons why Grant was the best general of the Civil War, but one that is often overlooked is that Grant wrote the best orders. We know from others that he would haunch over his desk for hours writing. These orders, some of which are included in the autobiography, are models are concise and breviloquent writing. From these orders we can tell that he was involved in every element of his troop's victories and defeats. Grant gave great attention to details, and was meticulous in his preparations, and planning.
There are a number of editions of Grant's "Personal Memoirs" in print, but I am recommending the Library of America edition because it contains the Report of Lieutentant-General U. S. Grant of the Untied States Armies dated July 22, 1865 and a selection of his letters. The letters to his family are particularly valuable because they show Grant at his most personal and intimate.
This is one of the best 'autobiographies' that you will ever read, as well as one of the finest books on the Civil War.
Grant was poor, having lost most of his money on poor financial decisions, when he set out to write this. He undertook the project as a way to provide for his wife, however after beginning the writing process, he grew to like it, and his 'memoirs' evolved into a classic.
One should note, that this book is really his memoirs about the Civil War. There are only a couple dozen pages dedicated to his childhood and West Point years.
Through his memoirs, one gets a better glimpse into the decision making of the general that they called a butcher. On his decision to assault Vicksburg in 1963, Grant wrote "There was no telling how long a seige might last. ...it was the beginning of the hot season.... There was no telling what the casulaties might be among Northern troops working and living in trenches". Grant understood war. He understood that most deaths weren't caused by bullets, but by desease. He also understood that in a battle of attrition, the North would prevail.
This is not to say that there aren't any flaws in this book. As with all memoirs, certain accounts can be a little self-serving. Grant's accounts of Cold Harbor and Shiloh are somewhat different then James McPherson and Shelby Foote would have you believe, and in fact in describing his actions at Shiloh he almost contradicts himself. Over all though Grant's writing reveals a very humble person.Read more ›
This edition of Grant's memoirs is wonderful because the appendix contains several hundred letters he wrote over the years. Most of these missives were written to his wife, Julia, and they shed an enormous light upon this shy man's character. Grant's letters show him to have been a tremendously gentle, decent man, with a great sense of humor and profound love in his heart for his wife and family.
This is an excellent edition, which will bring to you only one of the greatest books written in the English language, but also a selection of Grant's letters. Both make for engrossing, gripping reading.
While Library of America is a fine publisher, their uniform page size does not lend itself to the reproduction of maps. One can go blind vainly attempting to decipher the maps included in this edition. This just doesn't fly in a Civil War memoir and so I deduct a star from what is, otherwise, an outstanding piece of American narrative history. 4 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book! Great insight to his personality through his writings.Published 2 months ago by thelda
as described by Mark Twain, "the best General's memoir since that of Julius Caesar" in the way it is written, its comprehensive view with many individual anecdotes which... Read morePublished 3 months ago by ROBT SPENCER HOWELL
One of the best sources: the man himself. Excellent for "getting insider's view" of the age and before and during the Civil War.
Difficult to put down.
I had heard about this book and could not find it in my library or any other nearby branches, so I bought it and will donate it to my local one when I'm through. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
The maps are terribly small so here is a link with excellent maps about all of it. I tried enlarging the maps in the books and it didn't work. Shame on Library of America. Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Booth
Liked very much. Grant was blessed with a concise and focused intellect which is evident in his writing style,Clear minded even while on morphine and cocaine for his pain. Read morePublished 8 months ago by southern lady
Excellent book about Grant at war and as a young man. Little too much detail on individual battles.Published 9 months ago by Michael A. Lorenz
This volume is all that I expected. The service from the provider was everything promised.Published 9 months ago by Stephen A Robbins