“Much of the time, I am sorry to say, was devoted to novels…”
Personal Memoirs (pg. 15)
For my blue book pick, I chose The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. These memoirs were written by Grant as he was dying of throat cancer, as a way for Grant to provide for his family. Grant’s memoirs primarily cover Grant’s military career and ends at the end of the Civil War. Grant describes his experiences in Mexico during the Mexican American war and of his incredible rise to four-star general during the Civil War.
The memoirs of Ulysses S (the s stands for nothing) Grant are an incredibly moving and insightful account of the civil war. He is very descriptive in his accounts of all the battles he was in and commanded. He makes many insightful comments about the cause he was serving, war in general as well as life. He believed in the cause he served and his memoirs reflect this. But he is also generous with his enemies. He notes their faults but recognizes that they are human too, not just his enemies, and worthy of compassion.His memoirs are filled with a wry sense of humor and insightful remarks, along with the detailed accounts of the battles that Grant engaged in.
“As time passes, people, even of the South, will begin to wonder how it was possible that their ancestors ever fought for or justified institutions which acknowledged the right of property in man.”
Personal Memoirs (pg. 85)
But he is also generous with his enemies. He notes their faults but recognizes that they are human too, not just his enemies, and worthy of compassion. His memoirs are filled with a wry sense of humor and insightful remarks, along with the detailed accounts of the battles that Grant engaged in.
“While a battle is raging one can see his enemy mowed down by the thousand or the ten thousand with great composure, but after the battle these scenes are distressing, and one is naturally disposed to do as much to alleviate the suffering of an enemy as a friend.”
Personal Memoirs (pg. 273)
These detailed accounts can be a little hard to follow if the reader doesn’t have any background knowledge on the battles being described. I would recommend reading a biography on Grant at the same time. (I recommend the H.W. Brands or Jean Edward Smith ones).
This memoir is fitting to recommend for this prompt because Grant was a reader and enjoyed reading novels (while he should have been doing his school work haha). These memoirs display a quality of writing that is surprising from one who gained a reputation of an unthinking butcher, although, his reputation has changed over the years to a more positive one. Grant’s writing is precise and simple but also powerful and moving. This memoir is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the civil war or anyone looking for a fantastic memoir