The Memoir Of The Dying President Ulysses S. Grant

To save his family from destitution, a dying President Ulysses S. Grant wrote his memoirs in just five weeks while in excruciating pain. He died a few days after finishing. His memoirs were a critical and commercial success, earning his wife $450,000 ($13.5m today). Grant turns 200 today!

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is an autobiography written by Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, and completed as he was dying of throat cancer in 1885.

It focuses primarily on his military career during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. Mark Twain published the two-volume series shortly after Grant’s death.

AuthorUlysses S. Grant
CountryUnited States
PublisherCharles L. Webster & Company
Publication date1885 and 1886
Pages584 (Vol. I) 648 (Vol. II)
Dewey Decimal973.8
LC Class10032706
TextPersonal Memoirs of U. S. Grant at Wikisource
Source: Wikipedia
Ulysses S. Grant, at a cottage in Mt. McGregor, New York, 1885, working on his memoirs

Just as Grant’s death was being lamented, Twain devised a novel marketing method to reach millions of veterans with a patriotic appeal. Thousands of agents scoured the North, following a script created by Twain; many were veterans clothed in their old outfits.

They sold 350,000 two-volume sets for $3.50 to $12 per set, depending on the binding (approximately $110 to $360 in 2021). Each copy had what appeared to be a handwritten letter from Grant. Julia Grant, Grant’s widow, got around $450,000 ($13,571,670 in 2021), implying a gross royalty before expenses of roughly 30%.

The general public, military historians, and literary critics have all praised U. S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs. Grant’s prose has been described as sharp, intellectual, and effective, and has received a lot of praise.

He took on the role of the honourable Western hero, whose strength comes in his honesty and forthrightness. He tells it like it is about his battles with both external Confederates and inside Army adversaries.