Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant ePUB Ï Memoirs

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant ❰PDF❯ ✩ Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant Author E.B. Long – Among the autobiographies of generals and statesmen the Personal Memoirs of US Grant ranks with the greatest Mark Twain called it the best of any general's since Caesar And few historians would disagr Among the autobiographies of generals and of Ulysses PDF Ç statesmen the Personal Memoirs of US Grant ranks with the greatest Mark Twain called it the best of any general's since Caesar And few historians would disagree Unuestionably it is the finest literary achievement by any American president the frankest least pretentious most nearly tragic account we have of the failings and triumphs of leadershipWritten as Grant was dying of cancer it tells the straightforward story of his boyhood in Ohio graduation from West Point and the grimy military campaigns in the West and Mexico that Personal Memoirs Kindle - ended with his resignation in disgrace and a return to Galena where he ran the family store Then began the rebellion that broke the Union and recast Grant's fortune the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson the battles of Shiloh Corinth Appomattox Five Forks Sailor's Creek Vicksburg and Lookout Mountain the bloody Wilderness campaign Sherman's March to the Sea Grant the tactician the victim of his friends the alcoholic the plain and tough professional soldier the ideal commander all of these images are brightened in the work of Grant the writer as Memoirs of Ulysses Epub Þ he assesses himself and the events that forged his character.

  • Paperback
  • 648 pages
  • Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
  • E.B. Long
  • English
  • 23 April 2014
  • 9780306810619

10 thoughts on “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

  1. Eric Eric says:

    There is one West Pointer I think in Missouri little known and whom I hope the Northern people will not find out I mean Sam Grant I knew him well at the Academy and in Mexico I should fear him than any of their officers I have yet heard of Rebel Gen Ewell May 1861Grant’s Personal Memoirs 1885 define understatement but not modesty Grant shows rather than tells what a badass he is In recounting the war Grant rarely uotes himself or relates his conversation but to a drop some tough guy uip or poised martial arts musing That kind of thing may have sounded self effacing in times given to martial speechifying and self praise in the third person but nowadays we expect the Hero to be a man of few but compelling words Hemingway learned his craft under Gertrude Stein who as a Grant venerator once planned to co write the general’s biography with Sherwood Anderson Here’s Grant shooting the breeze with the third in command of a rebel fort he’s just takenI had been at West Point three years with Buckner and afterwards served with him in the army so that we were uite well acuainted In the course of our conversation which was very friendly he said to me that if he had been in command I would not have got up to Fort Donelson as easily as I did I told him that if he had been in command I should not have tried in the way I did Grant as usual understates his point when he says he “knew” Buckner he really means that he had sized him up while they were fighting Indians and Mexicans together Grant mentions that while at West Point he “got to know” many future rebel officers; it was a while before I realized this bland statement amounted to saying they’d already measured dicks and he wasn’t afraid of them Grant knew his opponent at Vicksburg Pemberton to be a waffling martinet and correctly gauged what gambits he could get away with It’s all very macho but with none of the overt theater of machismo Grant is white guy macho the strong silent type the unheroic hero unconscious greatnessall that Gary Cooper shit After a century of westerns and noir Grant’s mud spattered impassivity and hardboiled laconism are pretty familiar even thought befitting a solider; but his contemporaries strove to appear splendid Grant’s predecessors in the high command carefully trimmed their Napoleon III goatees stuck their hands in their coats like Napoleon I Grant’s doing that on the Penguin cover alas; at the prompting of Matthew Brady we’ll say and believed mastery of military science to inhere in officers who had published cribs of French tactical manuals Grant’s heroic citizenship appeared citizenly than heroic But for subtle signs the way he wore his hat the gleam in his eye Grant looked what he had been a tannery clerk and hardscrabble farmer He was not a physically or sartorially distinctive man Upon promotion to Lieutenant General and Commander of the Armies of the United States an exalted rank last held by George Washington he made no concession to pomp beyond having the gold braid shoulder bars sewn to his “traveling suit” a dusty private’s uniform Analogously Lincoln ascended the national Valhalla the Washingtonian realm of togas and fasces with little significant softening of his gangly hillbilly mien Matthew Arnold reviewed Grant’s memoirs and spoke for the times when he said that to foreign observers Robert E Lee was the heroic figure in the picture—Lee the pious aristocrat son of Old Virginia and of George Washington’s trusty lieutenant “Lighthorse Harry” his manner a Castiglionian gloving of aggressive power in courtly self control and tender sentiment To Arnold and other Europeans says Trilling Americans only made sense as transplanted Englishmen and so gravitated to Lee and others of cultured colonial stock But the nation’s animating political genius Lincoln and its greatest warlord Grant emerged from demotic obscurity in the middle west; as did the men of Grant’s and Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee “tan faced” settlers’ sons who proved the champion fighters of the war Mars Robert and the Planter Cavaliers were being phased out At Harvard in the tense 1850s Henry Adams great grandson of John found an unlikely friendship with Lee’s second son Roony himself later a general of the Rebel cavalry Their affinity struck Adams after a lapse of years as the fraternity of dying eighteenth century dynasties the last of the mandarin statesmen embracing the last of the commanding Virginians “As an animal the Southerner seemed to have every advantage but even as an animal he steadily lost ground” Replace the Southerner with the Indian and it still worksHerman Melville toured the front in 1864 even rode with Union cavalry pursuing the Confederate guerilla Mosby In his poem “The Armies of the Wilderness” Grant appears as “the silent General” ominously still “like a loaded mortar” Melville’s is an accurate wartime impression of this taciturn man who restricted his self expression to plainspoken summons of earth shaking industrial firepower; but the image is inadeuate in light of the Personal Memoirs a work in which policy statement social observation and the driest of dry wit combine to make Grant in the words of a recent biographer “the historian of the Union cause” Grant plainstyle chronicler to Lincoln’s refulgent poet Grant articulates the North’s optimistic ideals and progressive prospect the 19th century American Dream his people brought to the fight He’s elated by greater speed better communication settlement urbanization technology growth progress mobility The military academy that educated him was a cutting edge realschule; other colleges were founded on Latin and Greek West Point on engineering and chemistry; instruction in the humanities took the form of lectures on Christian Ethics; graduates bridged rivers and laid railroads across the expanses A bootstraps meritocrat like Lincoln Grant beheld with horror the degradation of the slave and with perhaps greater horror the kinky warping of the master and the feudal immobility of the poor white The South’s neglect of public amenities like good roads and free public schools seemed to Grant as reprehensible as the enslavement of blacks To Grant the war accomplished two ends moral and imperial slavery was wicked was rightly abolished; also the South was rescued for America whereas independent he thinks it would have in time wilted to an enervated troglodytic banana republic suatting on exhausted soil the Sutpen household of Absalom Absalom writ large barren of enterprising whites vulnerable to Haitian style revolution and prey to the incursions of European powers To Grant the course of empire demanded Union and I like that the first edition used Grant’s initials in the title The Personal Memoirs of US Grant US Grant federal impersonality joined to a personal name like GI Joe; and having “US” for initials is way better than being called Captain America I wasn’t surprised when Grant concluded the book with suggestions for American power in particular urging a strong navy The fleet thus built in the 1890s came in handy when America bum rushed the remains of overseas Spain and established itself as a Pacific and an Atlantic power As pater patriae Grant is no Washington but he’s close Nowhere does he mention his surrenders to bourbon; but I heard he drank when bored so whenever he mutters about the loss of momentum during lulls in campaigning I assume he’s coping with the frustration of inactivity by getting wasted I like Grant Magnanimous and unselfish in life; reliable and clear headed in war; subtle and funny in prose A solid guy indispensable like Lincoln He’s touchingly curious and keen on travel A restless and wondering boy he spent his free time away from the plow on horseback exploring His chapters on the Mexican War are an adventure story like The Voyage of the Beagle or In Patagonia Leaving the White House in 1877 he launched upon a world tour Joyce has the British army brat Molly Bloom remember the thunderous salute that greeted Grant’s flotilla when it touched at Gibraltar It is also impressive that he emerged unbroken from the humiliating hardscrabble prewar decade to lead the nation’s armies in its most desperate struggle When I read about Grant pawning his watch to buy Christmas presents for his kids one bleak prewar December I understand Gertrude Stein’s remark that the thought of Grant made her weep though she probably had his drawn out death from throat cancer in mind 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 It is one of the great pictures of American history the cancer wracked old man writing all day out on the porch under blankets his throat sealed after decades of cigars unable to speak or eat and refusing morphine in order to keep his mind clear for writing he didn’t refuse the cocaine laced ice water though Meanwhile press and public keep vigil over the former president’s deteriorationnewspapers fill with the tributes of former comrades and former foes 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 400000 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 beThe grave of your deserving Rome must knowThe value of her own ‘Twere a concealmentWorse than theft no less a traducementTo hide your doings and to silence that Which to the spire and top of praises vouchedWould seem but modest Therefore I beseech you—In sign of what you are not to rewardWhat you have done—before our army hear me Coriolanus I ix Grant nearly impersonated the American character of 1861 65 than any other living man Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in AmericaSherman 1866

  2. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    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 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 cancerThe use of language is very direct and precise there's a clear sense of narrative direction The earliest recollection of his West Point years and service during the Mexico War link into the Civil War story 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 preciseThe 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

  3. Ted Ted says:

    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 madePresident Grant mid 1870sWikiMy personal rating for this book is somewhere between 4 and 4 12 But I can understand any rating between 3 and 5 Much of the book consists of detailed accounts of military actions and campaigns detailed than one would find in a typical military historyThe man Ulysses S Grant served in the Union Army during the American Civil War from 1861 through the end of the war In April of ‘61 he had reenlisted at the age of 38 and two months later was promoted to Brigadier General by Lincoln who believed him to be a good commander in light of the good reputation he had gained during the Mexican American war 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 ArmyGrant was elected the 18th President of the United States in the 1868 election and returned for a second term in 1872 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 WarFollowing his term in office 1869 1877 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 S with his savings depleted he first attempted to revive his fortunes by standing for a third term as Republican nominee in the elections of 1880 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 then in Grant Ward an investment banking concern which his son had established Both of these ventures turned out disastrously After repaying a personal 150000 loan to William Vanderbilt with all of his Civil War mementos which were not worth that much Grant and his wife were basically destitute Imagine if you can a former President of the US ever reaching that state todayTo add injury to insult Grant learned in 1884 that he was suffering from throat cancer Prior to this a publisher had suggested that Grant write his memoirs After some negotiating for a better royalty Grant’s friend Samuel Clemens Mark Twain eventually became the publisher Grant began writing in the late summer of 1884 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 1885 Nine days later he diedThe BookTwain famously called Grant’s book “the best memoir of any general’s since Caesar” and in the forward to this edition Jean Edward Smith states that it is by far the most successful memoir of any U S PresidentWhile the first claim is likely true the second is somewhat misleading Although Grant was a President of the US and although these are his memoirs they are not Presidential memoirs The work concludes with the end of the Civil War except for a ”Conclusion” tacked on at the end from which the uote I’ve begun with is taken Nowhere is it mentioned that the author served as President So this is not Grant’s memoirs of his time in officeBesides the cutoff of the memoirs at a point twenty years before the author’s death likely attributable to his state of health when he began writing I wished that a minor problem could have been fixed – the maps Although the book’s index is serviceable and the TOC is very useful having an actual description of the topics for each of the seventy chapters the book’s maps are inadeuate for following the detailed descriptions of the different campaigns 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 textThere is no uestion that Grant was a than competent writer Some have found the prose so good that they have suggested Grant himself couldn’t be responsible that the book must be the work of ClemensWilliam McFeely in his 1982 Introduction dismisses these claims stating that “the best means we have to explain how Grant came to a mastery of prose is to look back at the way he wrote during the war” He goes onOn his first night in Chattanooga Grant listened to the conflicting stories of generals each seeking to excuse himself for his part in maneuvers that had left the Union forces almost trapped then Grant moved to a table and in pencil wrote orders that moved almost every unit of the western armies 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 uick steady movement of his pencilMany of Grants’ orders written during the war are included in original footnotes that Grant added to the text These orders do invariably follow in style uite closely to the prose style of the memoirs There is no misunderstanding of Grant’s meaning no haziness no ambiguity in what he is saying describing or ordering view spoilerThe example given by Smith of Grant’s “brevity precision and clarity” is his order to Meade concerning the strategy that will be employed in the Virginia campaign of 1864 “Lee’s army will be your objective point Wherever Lee goes there you will go also” This is pretty amusing actually This wonderfully terse order appears as the first two sentences in a paragraph that runs on for six sentences The paragraph itself sits in the middle of a ten paragraph order Admittedly this “order” is not really an order as such it is a detailed explanation of the coming campaign to Meade hide spoiler

  4. GoldGato GoldGato says:

    Stunning I thought Julius Caesar and Winston Churchill could write of war and leadership but Grant's memoirs blew me away Written while he was dying in an effort to provide future funds for his family the great American Civil War general created a classic review of his life in a style that reminded me of an old John Ford western Stoic efficient self effacing My image of him changed as I knew only of his victory in war and failure in politics They say that managers do the thing right whereas leaders do the right thing In this regard Ulysses S Grant fell under the latter banner He was not a functionary This makes his writing focused as he basically left his ego at the door How he was able to do this with the pain of cancer his body withering awayherculeanBook Season Autumn days are numbered

  5. Justin Justin says:

    Twain famously compared Grant's Personal Memoirs to Caesar's De Bello Gallico to stress not only the uality of the work but 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 euanimity of judgment was such that though he despised Caesar he could not help but admire the precision of his LatinBut 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 noteGrant'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 While his master Lincoln was himself master of his own style of American English by way of Shakespeare and Blackstone traces of which one might see in say Henry James Grant's style seems to neatly pre figure Hemingway's declarative minimalism though without the burden of the latter's insecurities And so the two chief architects of the Union victory were also however inadvertently the literary progenitors of the American empireAn impressive achievement by a dying man

  6. Clif Hostetler Clif Hostetler says:

    Within the genre of memoirs I've always had the impression that this book stands out as a historically significant example Mark Twain even maintained that it should be considered eual in profoundness to Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico Commentaries on the Gallic Wars In the late 19th century Grant's memoir was a leading best seller As a child I remember seeing this tome perched on a prominent high shelf in the local rural town library and wondering to myself if anybody ever read that really big book What I saw back then may have been the original two volume edition but my memory isn't clear on that detailGrant comes across in the book as a reasonable and likeable person who never aspired to a military career even though he did attend West Point Military Academy He describes his application and resulting entrance into the academy as being completely the result of his father's initiative His claim to having not aspired to a military career is supported by the fact that he did resign from the US Army within several years after the end of the Mexican American War I found the first part of the book that covered his early life Mexican American War and the western campaign of the Civil War to be interesting reading that went pretty fast But my reading bogged down when I got to the eastern campaign which consisted mostly of details of shifting such and such division from one place to another I reuired nearly a half year to finish The book contains a sizeable Appendix that contains the text of numerous military orders I didn't read that stuff The memoir ends with the end of the Civil War No mention is made of his presidency I'm really sorry he didn't cover the later years which I know ended up being a disappointment for him in many ways It would be interesting to note how he would reflect on that difficult time of his lifeIt's my understanding that this memoir was written and published with the encouragement and advice of Mark Twain who made sure that the publishing process was done in a manner to would assure income for Grant's widowed wife Grant died within a couple days of his final additions to the memoir The book sales did indeed provide a comfortable income for his wife after his death This was important because the Grants were not independently wealthy and there was no presidential pension in those days

  7. Caroline Caroline says:

    This is often mentioned as one of the two great military memoirs along with Caesar’s Gallic Wars and I can see why The two authors combine the same crystal clear description of events the masterful strategy the commentary on the events that put them in the field and the perceptive evaluation of the characters of their own warriors and the leaders of the enemy And as in Caesar’s later Civil War commentary they both have experience fighting men they once served with But in Grant’s case he fights them for a cause not for powerThis is a huge book and I’m not going to try to cover much of it I do want to mention one of the most impressive aspects of Grant’s generalship as one of my takeaways The first half of the book addresses his youth his experience in the ‘old army’ fighting the Mexican War his duty on the west coast his failures outside the Army and the battles while he was leader in the Civil War’s western campaigns The second covers the Civil War after he was given command of the entire army as Lieutenant General I was so struck by the pivot from the battle for Vicksburg at the end of the first half to the campaign for Richmond in the second In the west Grant had faced an almost impregnable site endless water and mud massive rivers sloughs bad weather and general bad odds His patience and strategy of allowing the men to try almost any maneuver to get forge a passage to Vicksburg through the mush during the winter to keep the soldiers from going crazy and to prevent Washington from firing him eventually got them to the dryer weather when he could finally undertake his own strategy to take this critical location He succeeded in partnership with the Navy The pivot to leading the Army of the Potomac in the East which he was awarded immediately after Vicksburg shows him at once capable of deciding on a strategy of attacking Lee and the other Southern generals along the entire line between the States simultaneously This reuired careful preparation but then massive coordination of hundreds of moving parts very different from the focus on one location I thought that the general who could undertake so many different types of war and motivate his officers to carry out their parts for the most part promptly and imaginatively was certainly a phenomenal leaderIt is also fascinating to watch Grant attribute successes and failures to individuals At times you can see he is settling scores but for the most part even when a failure was really a disaster in terms of rending a hole in the strategy he is generally able to allow that the officer had other strengths he just shouldn’t have been in charge of a fill in the blank company regiment etc His pet peeve was officers who dawdled when he ordered them to get going Grant is generally even handed when talking about the Southern officers many of whom he knew from West Point or the old Army While I enjoy the strategy discussions I am not that interested in battle scenes I most enjoy reading about how an army is supported and overcomes obstacles through preparation work Logistics and engineering are fascinating to me The idea that thousands of wagons of food and forage and ammunition have to keep flowing as the army keeps moving is amazing And the amount of time armies spend building bridges and works seems to be about fifty times as much as they spend actually fighting There is plenty of that here as well as Grant’s description of how he experimented with living off the South land early in the war which informed his strategy throughoutOf most value however is Grant’s commentary on the lead up to the war why the South was doomed to lose and why it benefitted from losing Or perhaps not doomed because he also states that one of his reasons for pounding ahead at all costs in the east was to got a victory somewhere to prevent the North from agreeing to some compromise that would end the war with a division between the two combatants He thought slavery was abhorrent and the men who prompted the rebellion treasonous But when it was over he wanted it to be over no retribution Grant thought Johnson’s Reconstruction steps disastrous But he also had an idealistic idea that had Lincoln lived all would have gone easily My recent reading of Foner’s book on Reconstruction suggests that the persistence of plantation structure and black labor that wanted small farms in the south would have led to trouble no matter whatTwo other thoughts One the memoirs don’t emphasize the carnage although he freuently gives body counts of battles and emphasizes that had an officer done this or that the war would have ended sooner and fewer lives would have been lost But the rendition of the destruction is endless Roads railroads citiesso much gone Grant can’t say a bad word about Sherman I must read another perspectiveLastly the role of technology Early in the book when he was in California after the Mexican War Grant tells of an Army officer who was a bad sailor and had been send round the horn seasick three times because every time he finally arrived at his destination orders caught up with him that said he should have been posted on the opposite coast Similar delays dog the fighting in the Mexican war But by the Civil War the troops are moved by train and telegraph lines are strung up all over the battlefields Grant seems able to communicate with almost all of his officers most of the time Amazing changes in a very short timeAt some point I will try to read Drew Gilpin Faust’s book on the effect of all the dead on America during the decades following the Civil War This Republic of Suffering It will be hard My own family was half uaker pacifist and half recent immigrant in hiding as I interpret their absence from the 1860 census It was somebody else’s fight and they didn’t want to be part of it They escaped fighting but it sometimes seems as if the rest of us will never escape the conseuences

  8. Daniel Daniel says:

    One of the greatest books I have read it holds a surprising literary uality that few biographies hold He puts you in the battlefield and his vivid memory added by his brilliant expression brings you back to the 1860's READ IT

  9. Rob Rob says:

    An interesting book that is well written but not a personal memoir in the modern sense This is not a tell all voyeuristic baring of the soul Grant is a 19th Century American I have to admit to liking the 19th Century Americans They were down to earth blistering realistic people He assumed that his potential readers were interested in why he was famous He was not famous for being famous He was famous for prosecuting the war to a successful conclusion for the Union What he thought about the war and how he out generaled the Confederates WAS important And this is interesting I was fascinated by how one ran a 19th Century army Forage for horses was a strategic resource It was possible for an army to live off the land by stealing from the surrounding civilian population The cavalry were sent to go behind the enemy lines to destroy lines of communication and transport much like how air force would be used in the 20th Century This is a book about the campaigns of the Civil War but we do get a glimpse of the man Grant decided toward the end of the war to avoid annihilating the trapped Confederate armies The description of the tactics and instructions given to his armies can be a little tedious This is leavened however by the description of the political problems of dealing with politically appointed generals a vindictive Halleck who often persecuted his underlings and Lincoln and his cabinet who often interfered in the day to day running of the war There were also many levels of competence amongst his officers Some were cowards some overly defensive and many just could not lead men and some could not follow orders In Sherman he found a partner who had the perfect balance of aggression competence attention to detail and initiative Grants views on slavery the Mexican War the Confederacy and the various myths about the war which are still extant are extremely interesting and alone are worth the effort of reading this rather large book

  10. William S. William S. says:

    This book is often called the finest presidential memoir It doesn't however deal with the Grant presidency at all Instead it is his recollection of Civil War events written in a race of time against his approaching death from throat cancer With that focus the book is magnificent and a surprise The strategic thinking about his famous battles is clear and comprehensible Having read many books about the Civil War I found myself shaking my head many times and noting so that's how and why that happened The drunk of legend here becomes a world class strategist Further he has the grace to apologize over the bloody fiasco at Cold Harbor something that Lee who shared the blame never did If Grant's seesaw reputation continues to rise this excellent account will deserve much of the credit A must resad for anyone interested in the Civil War or for that matter American history in general

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