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|By Ulysses S. Grant
(Note: various editions available; Library
of America edition recommended)
The origin of this work is as fascinating
as the story told therein. After leaving
the Presidency, U.S. Grant became a partner
in a Wall Street firm but lost his fortune
when another partner embezzled vast sums.
Meanwhile, Mark Twain had been urging Grant
to pen his memoirs, which Twain was sure
would be a bestseller. Almost concurrently
with starting this project, Grant was diagnosed
with inoperable throat cancer. Working feverishly
and despite great pain, the old general finished
a day before he died.
The memoirs indeed did become
of its age, restoring the Grant
finances, and making Twain a
The focus of the book is on the Civil War
from Grant's perspective as a field commander.
His prose has been widely praised through
the years for its clarity and directness.
It primarily is of interest to people with
interest in the battles themselves. However,
the concluding chapter, in which Grant offers
his own opinions on the origins of the conflict
and the motivations of the contending parties,
is perhaps the outstanding section.
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