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Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year

de Charles Bracelen Flood

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13610156,951 (4.13)1
Recounts the last year of the former president's life, after losing his fortune, discovering he had cancer, and his race to complete his memoirs --

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Moving, sincere, and sad account of Grant's tragic last battle.
  USGrant | Apr 18, 2018 |
An excellent account of Grant's final years, from the failure of Grant & Ward to his death, three days after the completion of his memoirs. This is certainly an in depth telling that brings us the true Grant, from 3 Sixty-sixth Avenue in New York to his final days at Mt. McGreagor, to his burial in a temporary tomb. I felt as if I were there with Grant, in the same room, watching him write, watching him suffer, watching his family as they began to grieve, even befor his death. A must read for anyone who wants to learn more about this great man. ( )
  wearylibrarian | Jul 30, 2017 |
For the common person much more is known about Grant, the great general of the Union during the Civil War, than is known about Grant, the President. I've always been fascinated by Grant's story of failure and redemption and political ascent. It's a genuine American story about how perseverance and dogged determination can change the course of your life. Grant personified success for people of his era and was a genuine hero especially to the veterans of the war (even to some Confederates because of his treatment of the defeated Southern armies).

So in many ways, reading about the end of Grant's life is quite a depressing affair. From the early pages of this book we discover that Grant wasn't great with finances and trusted the wrong people which left him and his family completely broke. Grant then becomes sick with throat cancer and faces the very real possibility of leaving his wife with nothing after he is gone. But the Grant who rose from failure and obscurity and the Grant who doggedly defeated the South couldn't let that happen. Instead, Grant finally agrees to pen his memoirs for which people had been clammering. The problem, of course, is that Grant is sick and dying and is running out of time to finish his book. If he doesn't complete it his wife could be left destitute. So Grant did what Grant was prone to do and buckled down to get it done in time.

This book tells the story in a very readable and enjoyable fashion. Lots of little known details are included which serves to paint the reader a picture of what life for Grant and his family was really like there in the last days. We learn more about Grant as a person as well. It's easy to put someone like Grant into this larger than life category but we must always remember that he was a real, living, breathing, person who had hopes and fears and loved just like all of us do. I highly recommend picking up Grant's Final Victory and giving it a chance. It's a fairly quick and quite enjoyable read. ( )
  jclark88 | Jul 24, 2017 |
This book is not about the Union general’s final wartime campaign but his struggle to complete his memoirs before cancer takes his life.

The plague of events that beset Grant after his presidency and retirement to private life may surprise readers. Following his resignation from the army in 1854, Grant was destitute and barely scratching out a living when the war began. The war changed his fortunes and brought the Grant family enormous fame and wealth.

Following his two terms as president and a two-year world tour, Grant settled in New York and lent his name, and all his remaining wealth, to an investment firm run by Ferdinand Ward. But Ward, in fact, was running a Ponzi scheme using Grant’s name to attract wealthy and prominent investors. Events caught up with Ward, and the firm of “Grant and Ward” went bust in 1884. General Grant, along with many relatives who also invested with the firm, was left broke.

The Grant family again was destitute and dependent on loans and monetary gifts to survive; selling off his wartime mementos and real estate to pay back their benefactors, of which there were many. Americans from both the upper and lower classes contributed money to Grant’s cause.

The Century Magazine then approached Grant with an offer to buy any articles he cared to write of his wartime experiences for their Battles & Leaders serial. So impressed were they by Grant’s initial efforts that the article offer became a deal to publish his memoirs—if he chose to write them. By then, Grant had been diagnosed with cancer of the throat and, still recovering from the Grant & Ward debacle, worried how to provide for his wife and extended family after his death. Initially resistant to the idea that anyone would care to read anything he wrote, Grant saw the book offer as a way out of his financial woes, as The Century memoir offer would net him much more money than an article would. He initially accepted the Century offer, but then received a substantially better deal from Mark Twain’s publishing house.

Grant’s Final Victory is a moving and intimate account of Grant’s race against time to complete his two-volume memoirs.

The author, Charles Flood, is a superb writer. In addition to period newspapers, he researched the accoundts of doctors, friends, acquaintances, and other sources to weave a three-dimensional tapestry of Grant’s final year of life. The reader learns the look and feel of his New York sickrooms, the torture Grant endures as the cancer slowly strangles him, the grief experienced by his friends and family, and finally, the cool breezes of the Mt. Macgregor resort where the ailing general, unable to speak, pens the final chapters of the book. It is a moving story and one that gives an insight into how appreciated and loved he was by 19th-century Americans. ( )
  Arkrayder | Apr 22, 2016 |
Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year by Charles Bracelen Flood

★ ★ ★ ½

Every (so I can assume) American knows who Ulysses S. Grant is. He would be the instrument to ending the American Civil War and would later go on to become president. But what of the man after such great things occurred? In 1884, Ulysses S. Grant would be swindled out of a great deal of money. And sadly so would many of his family members. After losing pretty much everything he would be slammed with more bad news – he was dying of cancer. In this book, the author takes a look at Grant's last year as he did his best to right the wrongs of the lost money by writing his now famous memoirs.

This is an interesting and fairly in depth look into Grant's final years. It won't delve too deeply into his time in the military or his time as president except to give one a small understanding of the man before 1884. I enjoyed this book but sadly knew how it ended (after all Last Year is in the title) and felt a little welling up of tears at the description of the end of the great man's life. And his struggles to do well for his family, even in the hardest and most painful times of his illness, were quite inspirational – ever 125 years later. My one complaint is there were just too many quotes. I felt like the author was being lazy by putting in whole pages of excerpts of Grant's memoirs. I could just read the memoirs if I wanted that. Paraphrasing usually does the trick just as well. Otherwise, a good, informative book. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
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Recounts the last year of the former president's life, after losing his fortune, discovering he had cancer, and his race to complete his memoirs --

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