Book Review: The Complete Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant

December 14, 2023

About:

The Complete Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant is an autobiography of the President, known for its openness and insights. Mr. Grant wrote this memoir at the behest of Mark Twain, who also published it originally.

Book Review: The Complete Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant
My rating for The Complete Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant5
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Thoughts:

I read several books about U.S. Grant, my favorite was the recently published Grant by Ron Chernow but I enjoyed the rest as well. On a LibraryThing thread, I was recommended this book, which I’ve heard about often but finally decided to take the plunge and read it.

Former President Grant wrote this book while dying and hoped the residuals would provide for his family. He was correct, the book proved to be an enormous success, generating $450,000 ($13.5 million in 2023) to his family, and is still in print to this day. Maybe knowing he was on death’s door allowed Mr. Grant to be honest and open.

General Grant liked to show, not tell, what a tough guy he is, and he’s not afraid to toot his own horn. He is not one for pageantry, preferring a dusty private’s uniform to a fancy general one. He also doesn’t mince words about the Confederacy (“traitors” and “white trash”), or about the United State’s optimistic and progressive ideology. In this biography, he portrays himself as the “strong silent type” which we know from movies, and the biographies I read certainly agree.

I especially enjoyed reading about his relationship with General Sherman and Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Grant writes in direct and precise language, with a clear narrative.

It made me happy to see that Grant’s legacy is reevaluated and the misinformation about him being a drunk is being debunked. He was an alcoholic but had a tremendous support system from his wife and aide-de-camp which kept him straight.

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I bought this book.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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Wrap Up

The Complete Personal Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant

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