BOOK REVIEW Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. By Ulysses S. Grant, with an introduction and notes by James M. McPherson. New York, NY. Penguin Putnam Inc., 1989. First published in two volumes in 1885 and 1886. Pp xxvi, 640. Maps. Notes. Index.
The Civil War's greatest general and former president began his memoirs after being diagnosed with throat cancer. Faced with financial ruin brought about by bad investments and unscrupulous associates, Grant turned to completing his memoirs to provide financial security for his family, and to explain why he thought the North won the Civil War. Grant believed the North proved victorious because of superior manpower, a superior industrial base, and a superior moral reason for fighting. He shows clearly how he realized what so many other senior leaders did not "" that the way to defeat the South was to follow Lincoln's strategy of defeating its armies, not the "halfway" strategy of keeping Confederate forces out of Northern states and capturing the Confederate government at Richmond.
Grant was born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant Ohio. He worked in the family tanning business and attended local schools until he was appointed to West Point in 1839. After graduation, Grant was commissioned a second lieutenant. He served in the Mexican War under Taylor and Scott. Grant resigned from the Army in 1854. He then spent six years near his wife's family in Missouri, working at a variety of less than successful undertakings. At the start of the Civil War, Grant was living in Galena, Illinois, and working as a clerk in his father's leather goods store.
At the outbreak of armed conflict, the governor accepted Grant's offer to assist with the mustering in of volunteer soldiers. Grant was soon appointed colonel of a militia regiment. In August...