January Video Discussion: Ulysses S. Grant Memoirs

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War Horse

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As I cannot add to the discussion itself because of that @##@*@ time difference, I'm giving some points here that I just noted while watching the video.
First of all, of course I was delighted by the praise my fellow librarian of the LoC received publicly :D I wished more people here would recognize what librarians can do to help scientists ... but in this we can learn a lot from you!

As for the book itself, there were 3 things that I noted especially:
  • I was amazed to hear that not Mark Twain, but indeed US Grant himself was the author of the memoirs, with Mark Twain or better Samuel Clemens just lending a hand in some minor editing issues . Not that I know much about the memoirs, or Grant himself, but I had always heard that Mark Twain had been the ghostwriter behind Grant. Marszalek apparently proved that to be wrong. I wonder though, if these memoirs are the literature gem all experts declared them to be, praising Grant as one of the best American authors ever, where that talent came from and why it did not come out earlier. Grant obviously only thought about writing his memoirs when sore financial need dictated it. So, writing books was not something he would have done without need. Btw, I had never imagined that at a point, all he and Julia possessed in cash were 81 dollars!!
  • It was quoted from the memoirs that Grant wrote he had been no friend of Lincoln's at first and he did not even vote for him. Then again, later he said something to the effect that Lincoln was one of the best men he ever met. What made him change his mind?
  • Marszalek said that Julia Dent Grant is hardly mentioned in the memoirs. Why is that? We know how much Julia meant to US Grant all his life. Did he want to protect Julia from too much public attention? Or were these "personal memoirs" strictly personal, not involving other members of the family?
Of course I don't expect the discussion to answer my questions, but maybe your thoughts meet some of mine at one point or another. Then I will be interested to read what conclusions you will come from your discussion.

Have fun tonight!
 

Cavalry Charger

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Marszalek said that Julia Dent Grant is hardly mentioned in the memoirs. Why is that?
It was one of my main questions after I read Grant's memoirs. We know she spent time with him during his campaigns. One of the surprising features of Grant's memoirs is that their love story leading up to his proposal to Julia features large at the beginning of his memoirs. That also makes the fact he doesn't mention her again somewhat surprising, too. I found there is an honesty in his writing, and at times a great vulnerability, which may be part of the reason it draws such praise.
 
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eeric

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As for the book itself, there were 3 things that I noted especially:
  • I was amazed to hear that not Mark Twain, but indeed US Grant himself was the author of the memoirs, with Mark Twain or better Samuel Clemens just lending a hand in some minor editing issues . Not that I know much about the memoirs, or Grant himself, but I had always heard that Mark Twain had been the ghostwriter behind Grant. Marszalek apparently proved that to be wrong. I wonder though, if these memoirs are the literature gem all experts declared them to be, praising Grant as one of the best American e fun tonight!
Twain says in his autobiography that he had no hand in Grants memoirs other than publishing, and this rumor was begun by Grants ***'t Badeau, due to some dispute he had with Grant.
 
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