Best U. S. Grant Biography

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Best U. S. Grant Biography

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Mar 5, 2011, 2:51 pm

There seem to be zillions of biographies of Grant out there. I'm looking forward to reading about this fascinating historical figure. Can anyone recommend the best one or two, titles?

Editado: Mar 5, 2011, 5:54 pm

Try his autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote it while he was dying in an effort to make money for his family because he'd lost his fortune in some financial fiasco. Perhaps his illness caused him to make the extra effort to keep it honest as possible and get it out there. I never thought of him as a particularly erudite or thoughtful man until I stumbled over it. It was marketed at the time by veterans who sold it door to door.

Editado: Mar 6, 2011, 5:47 pm

Grant by Jean Edward Smith and Grant: A Biography by William S. McFeely are both very good books!!

Editado: Mar 23, 2011, 2:31 am

Other than The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant itself, of course, two works that seized me and wouldn't let me go until I said "Give" are Jean Edward Smith's biography entitled Grant, and then Mark Perry's Grant and Twain, which recounts the story of Twain's serving as Grant.s editor and publisher while Twain's own Huckleberry Finn was making its way into the literary history of the world. Here's the way Smith's Preface starts things off:

"When I was ten or so, my father took me and several of my cousins to Shiloh battlefield. We toured the site and as young Southern boys are wont to do, speculated enthusiastically how the Confederates could have won if only they had done this or that. My father, who was not an educated man, listened attentively and then in his soft Mississippi drawl cautioned us about what we were saying. It was bad for us to have lost, he admitted, but it would have been worse if we had won. The United States would not exist if the South had prevailed, and we should thank our lucky stars General Grant was in command that terrible Sunday in 1862, Grant never lost a battle, my father said, and he never ran from a fight. He held his surprised and battered army together at Shiloh, and when the smoke cleared it was the rebels who withdrew, leaving Mississippi open to the Union's advance. Grant saved the United States, my father said, and we should be "damn glad" he did. I had scarcely heard of General Grant before then, but from that day on I was hooked."

And when I read that, I was hooked too.

Editado: Jun 16, 2011, 11:32 pm

Thanks, Gene. 'An amazing story.

I just finished Grant (Great Generals) by Mosier. I'm sure this volume is significantly shorter than some of the other titles mentioned here, but it has inspired me to read further.

Set 4, 2012, 8:46 am

Grant lost the battle of Belmont, Missouri. But it was his first battle, a small one, and he seems to have learned an awful lot from it.