Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant PDF/EPUB ð Memoirs of

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant PDF/EPUB ð Memoirs of

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant [KINDLE] ❃ Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant ❆ E.B. Long – Centrumpowypadkowe.co.uk Among the autobiographies of generals and presidents, the Personal Memoirs of UU Grant ranks with the greatest It is even impressive in light of the circumstances in which it was created Faced with te Among the autobiographies of of U.S. Epub Þ generals and presidents, the Personal Memoirs of UU Grant ranks with the greatest It is even impressive in light of the circumstances in which it was created Faced with terminal cancer, virtual bankruptcy, and a family he would leave without means of support, he took the advice of his publisher, mark Twain, and went to work He completed the manuscript in eleven months and died a week later, on July ,Frank and unpretentious, Grant s memoirs Personal Memoirs MOBI :Ú tell the story of his boyhood in Ohio, his graduation from West Point, and the military campaigns in the West and Mexico that ended with his disgraceful resignation and a return to Illinois, where he ran the family store Soon, however, began the rebellion that broke the Union and recast Grant s fortune, transforming him into the leader of the victorious Union armies in the War Between the States and giving him the perspective to describe intimately the capture of Fort Memoirs of U.S. eBook ✓ Henry and Fort Donelson, the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, the bloody Wilderness campaign, and Appomattox Here is Grant the tactician, the alcoholic, the plain and tough professional soldier, the ideal commander but most of all here is Grant the writer as he assesses himself and the events that forged his character, as well as that of the nation.


10 thoughts on “Personal Memoirs of U.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 himthan any of their officers I have yet heard of. Rebel Gen Ewell, May 1861 Grant 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 quotes himself or relates his conversation but to a drop some 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 himthan any of their officers I have yet heard of. Rebel Gen Ewell, May 1861 Grant 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 quotes himself or relates his conversation but to a drop some tough guy quip 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 taken I had been at West Point three years with Buckner and afterwards served with him in the army, so that we were quite well acquainted 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 greatness all 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 appearedcitizenly 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 works Herman 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 inadequate 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 squatting on exhausted soil, the Sutpen household of Absalom, Absalomwrit 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 U.S Grant U.S Grant federal impersonality joined to a personal name, like G.I Joe and having U.S 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 deterioration newspapers 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 400,000 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 traducement,To hide your doings and to silence that Which, to the spire and top of praises vouched,Would 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 Grantnearly 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 America.Sherman, 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 cancer.The use of lang 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 cancer.The 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 precise.The 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 made President Gr 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 made President Grant, mid 1870s Wiki My personal rating for this book is somewhere between 4 and 4 1 2 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 history.The 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 Army.Grant 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 War.Following 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 150,000 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 U.S ever reaching that state today To 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 died.The Book.Twain 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 President.While the first claim is likely true, the second is somewhat misleading Although Grant was a President of the U.S., and although these are his memoirs, they are not Presidential memoirs The work concludes with the end of the Civil War, except for aConclusiontacked on at the end, from which the quote 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 office.Besides 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 aminor 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 inadequate 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 text.There is no question that Grant was athan 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 Clemens William 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 quick, steady movement of his pencil.Many 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 quite 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 spoiler The 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 sixsentences 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 So, how does all this terse, clear, expository writing become tedious at times Well, here s what we have in the book Chapters 1 and 2 cover Grant s ancestry, boyhood and years at West Point 14 pages Chapters 3 13 cover the causes and prosecution of the 1846 1848 war with Mexico 77 pages Three brief chapters cover the years 1848 to 1860, during which time Grant married, served on the West Coast for several years apart from his growing family, whom he could not support on his military salary in California , and finally resigned his commission in 1854 to rejoin his family 19 pages Chapters 17 70 cover Grant s experiences in the Civil War 467 pages Thus, 33 pages about Grant s life outside the context of war 544 pages about wartime experiences.Grant at Cold Harbor June 1864 Encyc Brit Many of these wartime experiences are interesting, particularly the final 250 pages, from the time Grant was appointed leader of the Union Army on March 9 1864 a commission held only by Washington previously to the end of the war Naturally this section of the book containson grand strategy than prior sections And having ascended to this commission Grant came to be personally acquainted with President Lincoln, with whom he had several direct discussions, and many correspondences Thus in this last part of the book, we find Grant s reminiscences and observations about Lincoln s character, his feelings about the war, and his lack of wanting to punish the South for its secession, which Grant himself entirely agreed with I found all these to be fascinating.Some of the other reflections and beliefs that Grant writes about are the effect of war events on Lincoln s successful reelection Sherman s Atlanta campaign, followed by the March to the Sea the tremendous loss of life in the 1864 Virginia campaign and his explanation of this campaign Regarding the last, his belief that the war had to be brought to a speedy end, and his explanation of the very different political realities of the North a democratic republic and the South an armed military state.I ll conclude with a quote about Lincoln, and his assassination.It would be impossible for me to describe the feeling that overcame me at the news of these assassinations,especially the assassination of the President I knew his goodness of heart, his generosity, his yielding disposition, his desire to have everybody happy, and above all his desire to see all the people of the United Sates enter again upon the full privileges of citizenship with equality among all Previous review India After Gandhi great history of the world s largest democracyNext review Jerry Dantzic Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill Zadie Smith writes Billie HolidayEarlier review To Kill a MockingbirdPrevious library review Glory Road Bruce Catton on the Civil WarNext library review Freedom From Fear The American People in Depression and War, 1929 1945


  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, wh 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 writingfocused, as he basically left his ego at the door How he was able to do this with the pain of cancer, his body withering awayherculean.Book 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 quality of the work, butimportantly 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 Twain famously compared Grant s Personal Memoirs to Caesar s De Bello Gallico, to stress not only the quality of the work, butimportantly 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 equanimity of judgment was such that though he despised Caesar, he could not help but admire the precision of his Latin.But 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 note.Grant 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 empire.An 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 equal 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 r 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 equal 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 detail.Grant 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 U.S 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 required 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 life.It 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 h 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 power.This 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 required 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 leader.It 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 throughout.Of 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 what.Two other thoughts One, the memoirs don t emphasize the carnage, although he frequently 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, cities,so much gone Grant can t say a bad word about Sherman I must read another perspective.Lastly, 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 time.At 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 Quaker 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 consequences


  8. Daniel Daniel says:

    One of the greatest books I have read, it holds a surprising literary quality 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 wereinterested 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 ab 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 wereinterested 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 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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