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

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

by Charles Bracelen Flood

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306821516
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Publication date: 10/09/2012
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,264,935
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

1 A Change in Fortune 1

2 The Man Waiting for More Bad News 15

3 The Lady at 3 East Sixty-sixth Street 23

4 Retreat to New Jersey 45

5 An Opportunity 55

6 To Eat a Peach, and Soldier On 73

7 Grant Puts On His Armor 81

8 Mark Twain Strides onto the Stage 91

9 Horses, and a Last Cigar 107

10 A Bittersweet Christmas 117

11 Things Come Together 135

12 Twenty Yeats After the Nation s Great Redemptive Moment 149

13 Reactions to a Sick Hero 161

14 Unmarked Anniversaries 175

15 The "Man of Iron" Keeps Going 181

16 Another Loan from Vanderbilt 187

17 Sunlight and Shadow 213

18 Good-bye, Ulyss. And Thank You. 239

Notes 249

Bibliography 269

Index 275

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

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Grant's Final Victory 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 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.
SamSattler on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The much deserved fame and prestige that Ulysses S. Grant gained during America¿s Civil War carried him all the way to the White House where he served two terms as President of the United States (1869-1877). Prior to the war, most who knew Grant probably considered him a failure. Within a few years of the end of his presidency, however, the Grants were in good financial shape, confident that they had the means to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.Grant had very little personal understanding of investing, but at his son¿s recommendation, he associated himself with two men whose judgment he trusted: Ferdinand Ward and Hamilton Fish. Grant¿s contribution to the firm they created, Grant and Ward, was strictly that associated with his personal fame and reputation. He had almost nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the company. Consequently, he was as surprised as anyone else when, in 1884, he learned that all the money supposedly invested by the firm for others was gone. And, like all the rest, Grant was left penniless. Not only was Grant suddenly broke, he still owed thousands of dollars in personal debt that he was determined to repay. But even worse news was to come, for Grant was soon to learn that he was suffering from incurable throat cancer. Grant¿s chief concerns were twofold: how to finance his beloved wife¿s remaining years, and how to repay his existing debts. Recognizing that he could earn the kind of money he needed only one way, Grant began a race against the clock to complete his personal memoirs before his illness could claim him. With the help of key players like Mark Twain and William Vanderbilt, Grant would win that race and complete his work only three days before he died on July 23, 1885.Grant¿s Final Victory offers a detailed look at what Ulysses S. Grant¿s last year of life was like, a year during which he continued to write and edit daily despite his ever worsening physical condition. The book explores Grant¿s personal relationships with the rich and famous of his day, as well as with the members of his immediate family. Fortunately, most of those who found themselves in Grant¿s inner circle during those final months were there to help him achieve his goal of providing for Julia. Particularly selfless were men like Mark Twain who published the memoirs and made sure that Grant got the largest royalty payday imaginable and William Vanderbilt who continued to support the Grants financially despite all the money they already owed him. Of course, there would also be hangers-on who were there simply to increase their own fame and fortune by association with Grant during his final days.Charles Bracelen Flood truly does ¿bring to life¿ General Grant¿s last year, a year during which Grant¿s personal heroism is as sorely tested as it was even during the Civil War. His ¿final victory¿ may have been won just three days before his death when he signed off on his memoirs. Or, it may have been won by the bravery he displayed by dying in such a public manner, all the while maintaining his great personal dignity. Or, perhaps even more importantly, that victory might have been the way the all-inclusive tone of his memoirs helped to heal the remaining animosity between the northern and southern sections of the country. Whichever of these victories one chooses, there is little doubt that U.S. Grant was an American hero.Rated at: 4.0
nbmars on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book is not about Grant¿s military campaigns; rather, it concerns his struggle to finish his still-celebrated memoirs before cancer killed him, so that his wife and children would have an income after he died. It is also a love story: about how so many people adored Grant for his goodness and unwavering trust in them. This made him, tragically, an easy mark for the many who would exploit that trust, but provided enduring inspiration for those who deserved it. At the end of the book, when the author describes how a bugler playing taps at Grant¿s tomb caused General William Tecumseh Sherman to begin sobbing, I was sobbing right there with him.Grant was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and throat in 1884. (Remarkably, considering the long hold tobacco has had on this country, Grant¿s doctors quite quickly and confidently attributed the affliction to Grant¿s life-long cigar habit.) At the time, Grant and his family were newly impecunious, following a huge financial swindle by his partners in an investment firm. All of Grant¿s family had invested there also. It turned out Grant didn¿t even own his house; one of his partner¿s had offered to take care of the purchase, but had taken the money instead. Grant was furious; he had trusted these men, just as he had trusted so many in his presidential administration who also had succumbed to venality and graft. Grant, throughout his life, conducted his affairs as he had led the Union Army; he found men he thought worthy, delegated tasks to them, and then counted on them to carry out his directives. But too many men lacked Grant¿s moral strength. In the end, Grant had no choice but to take care of his affairs on his own.For the last year of his life, Grant struggled to put together a two-volume memoir that would prevent his family from financial ruin. He was in immense pain and eventually had a tumor the size of ¿two fists put together¿ on the side of his throat. He wrote that he was plagued by hemorrhaging, strangulation, and exhaustion. Nevertheless, he carried on valiantly. Three days after he was done, and months after the doctors thought he couldn¿t live another day, he finally let go.Grant was originally to publish his memoirs with Robert Underwood Johnson, but Mark Twain offered him better terms, and he went with Twain. Nevertheless, he remained on good terms with Johnson and prepared four articles for him that final year in addition to working on his book. Johnson came to see Grant shortly before his death, and later wrote:"I could hardly keep back the tears as I made my farewell to the great soldier who saved the Union for all its people and to the man of warm and courageous heart who had fought his last long battle for those he so tenderly loved.¿Grant had been heralded for personal bravery in the Mexican War, leading attacks at San Cosme and moving soldiers across the cholera-infested Isthmus of Panama. And of course his valor in the Civil War is more widely known. But those who watched him in his final year contend that his bravest act of all was his perseverance and shear determination to stay alive until his memoir was in place for his family¿s future. As one clergyman later said, ¿the sight of Grant at work while in pain was the finest sermon at which he had ever been present.¿Discussion: Grant was a remarkable figure whose generosity of spirit was rivaled only by Lincoln¿s. Following ¿his simple, gracious, generous treatment of Robert E. Lee and his men at Appomattox Court House,¿ for the rest of his life Lee never allowed a negative word to be said about Grant in his presence. One of Lee¿s great generals, James Longstreet (who also happened to be Julia Grant¿s cousin and had been Grant¿s best man at his wedding to Julia), remarked at Grant¿s death:"He was the truest as well as the bravest man who ever lived. ¿ Grant was a modest man, a simple man, a man believing in the honesty of his fellows, true to his friends, faithful to tr
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