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Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S.Grant (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 24 Jun 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New ed. edition (24 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140437010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140437010
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 308,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The best [memoirs] of any general's since Caesar." --Mark Twain
"A unique expression of the national character....[Grant] has conveyed the suspense which was felt by himself and his army and by all who believed in the Union cause. The reader finds himself...on edge toknow how the Civil War is coming out." --Edmund Wilson"

From the Inside Flap

"One of the most unflinching studies of war in our literature." --William McFeeley

Among the autobiographies of great military figures, Ulysses S. Grant's is certainly one of the finest, and it is arguably the most notable literary achievement of any American president: a lucid, compelling, and brutally honest chronicle of triumph and failure. From his frontier boyhood to his heroics in battle to the grinding poverty from which the Civil War ironically "rescued" him, these memoirs are a mesmerizing, deeply moving account of a brilliant man, told with great courage as he reflects on the fortunes that shaped his life and his character. Written under excruciating circumstances (as Grant was dying of throat cancer), encouraged and edited from its very inception by Mark Twain, it is a triumph of the art of autobiography.
The books in the Modern Library War series have been chosen by series editor Caleb Carr according to the significance of their subject matter, their contribution to the field of military history, and their literary merit. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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By A Customer on 25 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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.

Wonderful!
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For a brilliant civil war general and later U.S. president, this is an amazingly well written, patently honest and clear account of his life. It was an outstanding success when first published and is still an easily read and fresh insight into his life and times. I enjoyed the book very much.
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This would be of interest to students of American history in general, and the Civil War in particular. It is quite readable, if a little bit rambling at times,, and gives a certain insight into the US Army at the time of the Mexican War. It is interesting how many officers Grant met during that conflict who were later to play a leading role in the Civil War.
Also gives insight into the man himself.
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Clear and concise. The best book I've read about the Civil War. I found it amazing that he doesn't mention his drinking, other commentators and contemporaries make much of it. The written orders he sent out at key battles, are reproduced in this book. It's a remarkable piece of military history.
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