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4.6 out of 5 stars25
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on 5 July 1998
General Grant wrote this book while dying of throat cancer. He had been swindled by a dishonest Wall Street Broker and his trophies and possessions were stripped from him to satisfy the demands of his debtors. Bankrupt, suffering from a terminal illness and never passing a moment without acute pain, he produced this magnificent monument to his greatness. Those who denigrate Grant as a drunkard, butcher, bumbling President need to read this book in order to correct these errant assumptions. It is impossible to read this book and not realize that Grant was an inordinately intelligent man and one hell of a writer.
Grant's Memoirs are a deserved classic in American literature and considered the greatest military Memoirs ever penned, exceeding Caesar's Commentaries. Grant wrote as he lived: with clear, concise statements, unembellished with trivialities or frivolities. The only "criticism" the reader might have is that Grant bent over backwards not to wound the feelings of people in the book. He takes swipes at Joe Hooker and Jeff Davis, but what he left unsaid would have been far more interesting. A compelling and logical reason why Grant was so spare in his comments was because he was involved in a race with death. He didn't know how long he could live and therefore, "cut to the chase."
Grant's assessments of Lincoln, Sherman, Sheridan and other military leaders are brilliant and engrossing. His style, like the man himself, was inimitable and couldn't be copied. In everyday life, Grant was a very funny man, who liked to listen to jokes and tell them himself. His sense of the absurd was acute. It's no accident that he loved Mark Twain and the two hitched together very well. Twain and Grant shared a similar sense of humor, and Grant's witicisms in the Memoirs are frequent, unexpected and welcome. There are portions where you will literally laugh out loud.
Though Grant's Memoirs were written 113 years ago, they remain fresh, vibrant and an intensely good read. I have read them in! their entirity 30 times in my life and I never weary of the style and language that Grant employed. He was a military genius to be sure, but he was also a writer of supreme gifts, and these gifts shine through on every page of this testament to his greatness. All Americans should read this book and realize what we owe to Grant: he preserved the union with his decisive brilliance. In his honor, we should be eternally grateful.
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on 25 June 1998
This book probably tells more about Grant than any biography. In fact, none of his biographers seem to be able to do him justice. Grant's personal diffidence may have played some part in this. The clarity of expression and lean, strong use of the language tells us much about the type of man that Grant was. Grant seems to be an ordinary man who took advantage of his opportunities and whose guiding principal was perseverance and more perseverance. In fact, many of us are drawn to him because he seems to have been so ordinary, not regal, aristocratic, handsome, imposing. He had many problems that are common, business failures and alcoholism. Yet Grant finally got a real chance and took advantage of it. He was not without his moments of brilliance. The Vicksburg campaign was marvelous strategy. The relief of Chattanooga was complex and brilliantly executed. His final move against Petersburg and the railroads, trapping Lee's army, was solid and, in the final analysis, effective. Grant is still something of an enigma. These memoirs do not solve that, but contribute to our understanding of this great figure in our history. After having studied much literature about him, I find myself drawn to this plain spoken, hard working man, much more so than Lee or Jackson. Some of Grant's character shows here. It helps if you have read a great deal of civil war history prior to picking this up. Bruce Catton's books on Grant and on the Army of the Potomac would be a good place to start.
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on 29 January 1997
I didn't really "read" this book. Instead, I listened to it. Over several commutes to and from work I listened to US Grant tell me about his life, his view of the decisions he made, his assessment of the other people he came in contact with (President Lincoln, for example). When the tape was complete, I found myself wanting more. I finally found a copy of the hardcover book in a used book store.

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on 14 July 2013
Fascinating book. Grant was not only a good general he was perceptive and could write well, too. I would have liked to have had another few chapters about his exploits as President. Perhaps he would have written more if he had been allowed to live longer. It is typical of the man that he struggled on and finished the book even though he knew he was near death. I was amused at the way troops on both sides spent so much time ripping up and repairing each other's railway systems - almost light relief to the carnage elsewhere.
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on 13 October 1998
I am so pleased to find a book "worth reading" which is great to read aloud, and fun too, It is hard to find books to read to my father(who is blind), that we both like. Grant had a wry sense of humour, as well as a clear mode of writing. I am almost totally ignorant of the Mexican War of 1845; but I'm enjoying the journey Ulysses takes me on.
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on 10 November 2014
This book is must for anyone interested in the American Civil War. As direct and straightforward a memoir as you could hope to read.
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on 9 December 2014
Grant is a towering and sometimes controversial figure. Here he tells the story of his rise to command of the northern armies of the civil war, giving his own judgements and justifications of his decisions. Though necessarily a biased account of the war, the book gives real insight into the broad sweep of his operations, the fall of Vicksburg, Chattanooga and beyond, the defeat of the south. A very interesting book from someone you end up really respecting.
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on 20 May 2014
I am currently studying the American Civil War and this book is an essential aid to that Study. Thank You.
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on 3 May 2013
Fantastic auto biography of Grant`s military history presented in an easy to read form by himself. it shows that some other top officers were very weak and if they had been more go-ahead then the War would have been finished sooner with a big reduction in the loss of lives. The book is absolutely massive I have not finished it yet but not bored one bit. A good buy!
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on 25 June 2013
For history buffs who are interested in factual insight, this memoir is essential reading covering the American civil war. Harrowing loss of life for those on either side of the conflict. Gives a better understanding of the issues of the time, andof its outcome by one who was in a leading position in the conflict.
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