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

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

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by Charles Bracelen Flood
     
 

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Shortly after losing all of his wealth in a terrible 1884 swindle, Ulysses S. Grant learned he had terminal throat and mouth cancer. Destitute and dying, Grant began to write his memoirs to save his family from permanent financial ruin.

As Grant continued his work, suffering increasing pain, the American public became aware of this race between Grant’s

Overview


Shortly after losing all of his wealth in a terrible 1884 swindle, Ulysses S. Grant learned he had terminal throat and mouth cancer. Destitute and dying, Grant began to write his memoirs to save his family from permanent financial ruin.

As Grant continued his work, suffering increasing pain, the American public became aware of this race between Grant’s writing and his fatal illness. Twenty years after his respectful and magnanimous demeanor toward Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, people in both the North and the South came to know Grant as the brave, honest man he was, now using his famous determination in this final effort. Grant finished Memoirs just four days before he died in July 1885.

Published after his death by his friend Mark Twain, Grant’s Memoirs became an instant bestseller, restoring his family’s financial health and, more importantly, helping to cure the nation of bitter discord. More than any other American before or since, Grant, in his last year, was able to heal this—the country’s greatest wound.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 1884, the ex-president and ex-Union commander Ulysses S. Grant became bankrupt, having trusted his money to swindlers; soon after, he felt the first agonizing throat pain from the cancer that would kill him. Desperate to save his family from destitution, he wrote his memoirs, finishing days before his 1885 death. Veteran historian Flood (Lee: The Last Years) delivers a blow-by-blow narrative, full of colorful characters, accounts of earlier triumphs , and an upbeat ending. Grant's book became a critically acclaimed bestseller. Much credit goes to aggressive marketing by Mark Twain, who published the book and insisted on paying far more than the usual royalties. Inevitably, Grant's illness provoked an obsessive media deathwatch that seems very contemporary, plus innumerable tributes, honors, speeches, editorials, and letters from schoolchildren, admirers, and cranks. Liberal quotes from these as well as extensive flashbacks reveal Flood straining to fill the pages, but this is a moving if painful portrait of a dying national hero. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"A lucid, often somber account of the sad but noble decline of Ulysses S. Grant. . . . A welcome addition to the literature surrounding Grant and his time." —Kirkus
Library Journal
Flood (Grant and Sherman) writes movingly of the last months of Ulysses S. Grant's life, 1884–85, when, in the wake of financial ruin from a failed investment and suffering from terminal throat cancer, he labored to complete his memoirs (which would be published by Mark Twain) so that his family might once again prosper after his death. Flood paints a vivid picture of Grant's earlier achievements and of the United States in the decades after the Civil War, moving back and forth between the turmoil surrounding Grant in 1884 and his conduct of the war, paying special attention to his relationships with his family and friends, the troops he commanded, and his humane treatment of Confederate troops in the terms of surrender. Flood has great respect for his subject and succeeds in transmitting it to the reader. VERDICT Those who like presidential or post-Civil War history will especially enjoy this book, aimed at general readers, with its compelling portrait of a well-known historical figure. Grant's Personal Memoirs has never been out of print and is recommended, with this one, for readers from high school to undergraduate students and history buffs.—Becky Kennedy, Atlanta-Fulton P.L., GA
Kirkus Reviews

A lucid, often somber account of the sad but noble decline of Ulysses S. Grant.

Though he had served two terms as president, writes Flood (1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History, 2009, etc.), Grant was universally known as "General Grant." He had left office under a shadow, several key members of his administration having been found corrupt, and he was determined to set an example as an honest businessman. And so, strangely, he went to New York to become an investment broker, where his partner swindled him out of his fortune and besmirched his name even further. With scarcely a cent to his name, Grant briefly entertained a magazine editor's proposal that he write a series of articles on the Civil War but rejected it, saying, "I have no idea of undertaking the task of writing any of the articles the Century requests." Yet eventually the thought of writing his own view of events became more appealling—notably when he was shortly afterward diagnosed with cancer. In excruciating pain, he wrote what has been considered one of the most important military memoirs ever produced, spurred along by friend and publisher Mark Twain (who, Flood notes, had been a deserter from the Confederate army). Writes Flood, with considerable elegance, "By deciding to give his work the full titlePersonal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, [Grant] did himself a great favor. He could write about the things he wished to put before the reader, and omit those he did not. At one stroke, he relieved himself of the obligation to include everything he might know about a battle or a person, while reserving the right to dwell on a smaller matter or fleeting perception." And so he did, writing of the hell and chaos of battle while suffering a second hell of his own. Upon learning of his death, Grant's former opponent James Longstreet called him "the truest as well as the bravest man who ever lived." In this swiftly moving narrative, Flood ably shows why he deserved the accolade.

A welcome addition to the literature surrounding Grant and his time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306821516
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
621,743
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A lucid, often somber account of the sad but noble decline of Ulysses S. Grant. . . . A welcome addition to the literature surrounding Grant and his time." —-Kirkus

Meet the Author


Charles Bracelen Flood is the author of twelve previous books, including the bestselling Lee: The Last Years and Grant and Sherman, which Salon.com named one of the “Top 12 Civil War Books Ever Written.” He lives in Kentucky.

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Grant's Final Victory 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Provides an unexpected appreciation for Grant's courage, integrity, and love for his family. Everyone should also follow this book by reading his personal memoirs - the best of all presidential autobiographies! dcw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
¿The last year of Ulysses S. Grant¿s life is a poignant story of dogged determination, heart-wrenching courage, innate talent, and steadfast love of wife and family. Charles Bracelen Flood writes about it all with an elegance and insight no previous author has mustered. No one can read this book without admiration both for the book¿s subject and the book¿s author. ¿ ¿ John F. Marszalek, Executive Director, Ulysses S. Grant Association, Mississippi State University
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Grant's Final Victory" follows in the footsteps of "Lee: The Last Years", another terrific work by Charles Bracelen Flood. I have read much of Flood's historical work and those that deal intimately with a figure during a brief snapshot in time are my favorite. Like his book on Robert E. Lee, "Grant's Final Victory" is moving and poignant. Few historical biographies move me emotionally. This one did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Grant's Final Victory, Charles Bracelen Flood writes the gripping tale of Grant's last years. Two years before he died, General Grant fell prey to a Ponzi scheme and was financially wrecked. This book details Grant's valiant race to complete his memoirs and restore his family's fortune and dignity. Flood knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seats while also hammering home the facts. An inspiring tale, and beautifully told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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