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The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: The Complete Annotated Edition

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: The Complete Annotated Edition

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Book Overview: The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: The Complete Annotated Edition

Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs, sold door-to-door by former Union soldiers, were once as ubiquitous in American households as the Bible. Mark Twain and Henry James hailed them as great literature, and countless presidents credit Grant with influencing their own writing. This is the first comprehensively annotated edition of Grant's memoirs, clarifying the great military leader's thoughts on his life and times through the end of the Civil War and offering his invaluable perspective on battlefield decision making. With annotations compiled by the editors of the Ulysses S. Grant Association's Presidential Library, this definitive edition enriches our understanding of the pre-war years, the war with Mexico, and the Civil War. Grant provides essential insight into how rigorously these events tested America's democratic institutions and the cohesion of its social order.

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"As the first fully annotated edition of Ulysses S. Grant's Personal Memoirs, this fine volume leaps straight onto the roster of essential reading for anyone even vaguely interested in Grant and the Civil War. The book is deeply researched, but it introduces its scholarship with a light touch that never interferes with the reader's enjoyment of Grant's fluent narrative. John F. Marszalek and the folks at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library are building a formidable array of books illuminating many aspects of the general's life." — Ron Chernow, author of Grant

"If Mark Twain called Grant's Memoirs 'a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece, ' The Complete Annotated Edition is its 'unique' companion. Renowned Civil War historian John Marszalek and his team of editors are owed our gratitude. Their annotated edition will increase appreciation among both longtime admirers and a new generation discovering why Grant is winning his deserved place among American leaders." — Ronald C. White, author of American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

"A richly annotated new edition... What gives this peculiarly reticent book its power? Above all, authenticity. If Grant's voice is never confessional, it almost never rings false... Grant's style is strikingly modern in its economy." — T. J. Stiles, New York Times

"[This] new edition, the most thoroughly annotated ever produced, provides the general reader and scholar alike with detailed access to the general's early life and military career.--David W. Blight, New York Review of Books

"Grant's style is direct and plain, but it has a kind of quiet music to it, the indescribable quality of an authentic voice. There is a level of intimacy that no amount of confessional writing could guarantee. Grant's assessment of the Civil War and the decisions that went into its waging is mostly brisk and engaging, but what really compelled me through the book were the psychological insights on nearly every page--both of the prominent men whom Grant encountered and of the masses of people whose desires and fears he recognized, sympathized with, and often exploited. Grant's ability to be empathetic and ruthless in the span of a few sentences--coolly calculating the costs of losing lives against the benefits of pushing on; testing what Southerners could bear and what would make them break--is consistently on display. Whatever Grant hides in his memoir is less than what he reveals. He was a man who could cringe at the cruelty of a bullfight but was willing to send men into certain slaughter to gain a riverbank, a man who understood both dignity and disgrace." — Louisa Thomas, New Yorker

"Of the many editions of the memoirs, I recommend the annotated edition published by Harvard University Press overseen by John F. Marszalek, director of the U. S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State, for its invaluable notes identifying almost every personage mentioned by Grant, expanding on incidents and events Grant glosses over and even correcting his occasional misstatements." — Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

"[R]espect for Grant can only be reinforced by reading... The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. This is the best presidential memoir written, once earning praise from no less than Mark Twain... Grant wrote in a clear and logical style, much as he issued orders, which brings the day-to-day challenges and tremors of war to his readership with never a suggestion of embellishment." — Stephen Loosley, The Australian

"A brilliant new annotated version." — Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

"The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant provides leadership lessons that can be obtained nowhere else...Ulysses Grant in his Memoirs gives us a unique glimpse of someone who found that the habit of reflection could serve as a force multiplier for leadership." — Thomas E. Ricks, Foreign Policy

"Ron Chernow's Grant has been a national bestseller, deservedly so, but we think that the new edition of The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, edited and annotated [by] John F. Marszalek[, ] should share that spotlight. Possibly the best presidential memoir written, annotations by Marszalek with David Nolen and Louis Gallo illuminate and contextualize the memoir for the modern reader." — Lyn Roberts, Literary Hub

"[Grant's] memoirs, presented at last in an impressive scholarly edition by John F. Marszalek, were the fruit of a last triumphant battle...Grant's own words restore him to the pantheon of great soldier-presidents. He stands alongside Washington, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower, a select company to which he has always rightfully belonged." — Nigel Jones, History Today

"A worthy capstone to compliment the now completed thirty-two volume The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant...Marszalek, et. al., have done a thorough job in annotating Grant's text...Readers of this well-constructed and highly recommended edition of Grant's Memoirs will not fail to appreciate the man's modesty, but they should also keep in mind that under that modesty lay a cold-blooded willingness to keep right on." — Larry A. Grant, Civil War Book Review

"The most copious annotated edition of Grant's indispensable memoirs to date... It's been said that if you're going to pick up one memoir of the Civil War, Grant's is the one to read. Similarly, if you're going to purchase one of the several annotated editions of his memoirs, this is the collection to own, read, and reread." — Library Journal

Ulysses S. Grant, born on April 27, 1822, was an acclaimed American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 till 1877. Before his presidency, Grant attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he later showcased his leadership skills as a commanding general during the American Civil War, where he led the Union Army to victory against the Confederacy, thus preserving the nation. Grant's presidency was characterized by his determination to reconcile the North and South, safeguard civil rights for recently freed slaves, and stabilize the nation's economy after the Civil War. However, his tenure was also marred by fiscal mismanagement and political scandals, leading to a controversial judgement of his administrative abilities and policies. After serving two terms as president, Grant retired from public life, shifting his focus to writing. His memoirs, "Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant," published posthumously, are recognized among the finest literary works of the genre, offering an in-depth view into his military career and presidency. He died on July 23, 1885, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance, leadership, and a dedication to national unity.

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