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

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Shortly after losing all of his wealth in a terrible 1884 swindle, Ulysses S. Grant learned he had terminal throat and mouth cancer. Destitute and dying, Grant began to write his memoirs to save his family from permanent financial ruin.As Grant continued his work, suffering increasing pain, the American public became aware of this race between Grant’s writing and his fatal ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Da Capo Press (first published October 1st 2011)
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This account of Grant’s long dying, of the lucid lingering in which he composed his Personal Memoirs, made me think many times of Memoirs of Hadrian - especially the short opening section in which the emperor begins to discern, after a life of warfare and perilous travels, his quiet, domestic death, and in which he describes the abdications of his failing body:

To give up riding is a greater sacrifice still…if the choice of my condition had been left to me I would h
Ulysses S. Grant. Your story is remarkable. From a modest background you struggled to make a living until the Mexican War started. You enlisted and served in that war with distinction. After the war you served in peacetime and because you missed your wife so badly and children so much you left the service. Loose from the service you struggled to support you growing family failing at the many things you tried. Another war erupted this time, this time it was the North vs. the South. You joined Pre ...more
Lynn Eldredge
I loved Grant's Memoirs.

I loved this book because I really like U.S. Grant. He was an amazing man. "Just do it!" Unlike the other generals that were not ready yet.

I learned a few things from this book:

Know who you are going into business with. Know your numbers and what your are signing.
Don't smoke twenty cigars a day.
Be kind and forgiving.
Love your wife and family.
Write letters even if you don't send them to get thinks off your mind.
Have friends like Mark Twain! What a great friendship.
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 th ...more
Aaron Million
Flood reviews in detail Grant's final 14 months of life. This began with Grant's bankruptcy at the hands of two crooked investors: Ferdinand Ward and James Fish. Ward especially, with a strong assist from Fish, took all of Grant's money, as well as that of most of Grant's family.

Only two months after this, Grant began having problems with his throat, but foolishly refused to seek treatment. No exceptionally good reason is given for this fatal error, other than Grant probably wished to see his p
John Yingling
Before reading this book, I didn't have a terribly high opinion of Grant, because of his mediocre presidency,and his tendency to run up high casualty figures in the Civil War battles he commanded. After reading this book I give him a much higher appraisal. I can't imagine the pain and agony he suffered that last year of his life, from the cancer that was killing him. And to write what is considered one of the best, if not the best military memoirs ever during that time, and to do all this to hel ...more
Patrick Peterson
I liked the audio book till about the last CD or two (out of 7).
It starts out with some ominous foreshadowing, which was a grabber.
The writing and reading are not stellar, but the facts revealed are pretty compelling. I knew so little about Grant before this book, but he is portrayed in a very sympathetic, but not at all effusive manner. The book is kind, but not fawning. I like that relatively objective style very much.

Some very neat things I learned:

On Disc. 4 Track 16 Grant considered secessi
Ulysses S. Grant has always been in my very selective Pantheon of Heroes. Without Grant, the American Civil War and the ensuing peace would have turned out very differently. He was tenacious in making war and generous in making peace and many of his Confederate peers gave him the lion's share of the credit for the reconciliation that took place in the two decades after the war.

In my many readings, the death of Grant has been handled very briefly, almost in passing. But it's a compelling story: I
In what should have been the restful years of his life (what with having won the Civil War and serving as President), Ulysses S. Grant and his family members are swindled out of all of their money in one of Wall Street's first Ponzi schemes.

Without a pension and living on donations from admirers, Grant is then diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Charles Bracelen Flood's moving book chronicles Grant's last year, racing with Death and battling tremendous pain as he tries to write his memoirs so his fam
The Civil War is my favorite period to study in American history. I often feel as though its importance and magnitude is easily forgotten in the United States, where its issues, words, resolutions, and consequences still possess great meaning. Every time I learn something new I am reminded of the monumental changes it brought. This book focuses on the final year of U.S. Grant (Unconditional Surrender Grant!) and his struggle to finish his memoirs during his final year of life and battle with can ...more
Damian Shiels
Having read relatively little about Grant's final years, this account highlights Grant's remarkable achievement of writing his memoirs even as death approached. Poignant.
Leah K
Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year by Charles Bracelen Flood

Every (so I can assume) American knows who Ulysses S. Grant is. He would be the instrument to ending the American Civil War and would later go on to become president. But what of the man after such great things occurred? In 1884, Ulysses S. Grant would be swindled out of a great deal of money. And sadly so would many of his family members. After losing pretty much everything he would be slammed with more bad
For some reason, despite the fact that the title is not “Memoirs” and the author is not named Ulysses S. Grant, I thought this was Grant’s autobiography and the description was telling us he wrote it in the last year of his life. That is totally not the case and makes me think I am either losing it or reading things too fast.

This is the account of Grant’s final year of life, the year he wrote his “Memoirs” and the struggles involved in doing so due to his ill health.

The account starts with Grant
Ulysses S. Grant is one of my favourite historical figures, a real larger-than-life character, a man who, with Lincoln, changed the course of American history. He was the kind of man who met every challenge in his life head-on and, with the exception of his final year, overcame them all. But he couldn't overcome the cancer that killed him at the age of sixty-three, after suffering through a lingering year of pain and discomfort.

That said, Grant's final year was a triumph of sorts. After sufferin
Robert Enzenauer
Flood's biography is a compassionate narrative about Grant's final year. Grant, who had fought so hard to save the union, lost his family fortune through unscruptulous colleagues who took advantage of his trusting naivete, fought equally hard twenty years later to complete his memoirs to save his family from financial ruin. Flood is one of my favorite historians.
I mostly enjoyed this book, but two things bothered me. First, the author's style was very intrusive when he quoted original materials. Along the lines of, 'and here is what so-and-so said/wrote." Odd.

The second issue is more glaring: the central drama of Grant's final year, apart from his battle with terminal illness itself, was whether or not he'd finish his memoir and have it published, to save his family from the financial ruin he suffered the year prior. He finished the work about four days
Samantha Hartke
A very moving read of the final year of U.S. Grant's life told intimately, but almost a little too reverently. Grant was by no means a marble man and Flood's approach to him is almost saintlike. No doubt a man in financial tatters, battling the cancer that would ultimately claim his life, in a race against time to finish his memoirs that would ensure his family would be financially secure is a heroic act. One has to ask, though, is this the same man who hurled hundreds upon thousands of soldier' ...more

A story set in Grant's final year, after a disasterous financial setback and dying of cancer, he starts writing his Memoirs so that his wife and family would have some financial resources after his death. Aided by Mark Twain, Grant wrote about the Civil War in which he was the Union Genral that brought the war to a conclusion. These Memoirs are considered among the best of any by a military person and I would strongly recommend them!

Some 20 years after the surrender of RE Lee the commemeratory c
Samuel Johnson famously said that no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. Grant may have been financially naive, but he was no blockhead. After losing his fortune to charlatan business partner, Grant began writing his Civil War memoirs to raise money for his large family. Soon thereafter he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This book tells the story of his heroic race against time and disease. It's a bit padded with flashbacks, but it's readable and interesting. The biggest surpris ...more
Susan Paxton
Highly recommended. A brilliant general, a mediocre president, and a bad investor, the last year of Grant's life started with the catastrophe of him being the victim of a Ponzi scheme by his partner (leaving him and his family broke - former Presidents at the time recieved no pension and he had had to give up his Army pension on taking the office), continued with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, and ended with his courageous effort to write his memoirs, which he hoped would save his family financ ...more
T.M. Yates
Informative and well-written. Follows the chronology of General Grant's last year (almost to the minute in some sections) in a coherent, interesting way. Flood includes plenty of first-hand observations and statements from Grant and his contemporaries to provide a complex picture of the time period, developments with regard to Grant's health and work, and different perspectives from family, friends, and the public during that time.
Margaret Sankey
Weeks after the financial collapse (in a proto-Ponzi) of Grant & Ward, Ulysses Grant learned that he had throat cancer. Virtually penniless, he spent the final year of his life writing his memoirs to guarantee his family a solid income (and, in the way they they were deliberately written, leave a door open for national reconciliation)and rehabilitate his reputation after the scandal. Aided by a social network including William Vanderbilt, Mark Twain and P.T. Barnum, and suffering 19th centur ...more
Ironically for me, I finished this excellent book on the anniversary of Grant's death. I want to pick up my copy of his Memoirs and start reading it right now. I'll wait a few weeks though until I have a few days where I can do nothing but eat, sleep, and read. Okay, make that sleep and read. I can read while I am eating.

I had previously read the trilogy of books about Grant by Lloyd Lewis and Bruce Catton.

But until I read Grant's Final Victory, I had figured on having only a part of a shelf de
Nancy Householder
Very good book, shows Grant's strength in pain, physical and finacial.
"Grant's Final Victory" is the poignant story of General Grant's heroic efforts to finish his memoirs before he passed away. The author, in flashbacks, relates stories and events which led up to and necessitated Grant's writing efforts. Mr. Flood recounts General Grant's popularity during his lifetime among ordinary citizens and the military leaders of both the Union and Confederacy. The book is well written and a joy to read. Grant's memoirs are said to be the best literary achievement of any P ...more
Jim Cabaj
One of the best biographies that I have read in a long time. Well researched, you feel like you are present at President Grant last few years of his life. I had a hard time putting the book down.

President Grant was reluctant at first to record his memories. He is forced to write articles and his autobiography due to having all his money stolen right under him. He is also facing a battle with cancer.

Each page turns easily as President Grant's fights death and order to finish his biography.
Mark Luongo
I can't remember when a book moved me as much as this one. It is a story of courage, love and decency. It describes the type of courage that you wish you could have in facing any kind of adversity. Flood provides a narrative that is hard to put down. It directs itself to answering questions like, "Why is Grant buried here in NY?" and "How did Mark Twain come to publish Grant's memoirs?" A must read for followers of Grant, the Civil War and late 19th Century America. God, it was good.
I enjoyed this book very much, even though it made me very sad to read it. I think Grant was a great President who doesn't get enough credit--mainly because he lived in the shadow of the great Abraham Lincoln. He helped pull the country back together after the divisive Civil War and after enduring the Presidency of Andrew Johnson.

This book (as the title suggests) pretty much concentrates on Grant's last year of his life. What a brave and kind gentleman he was.

Had heard about Grant's last year of life and his heroic race to finish his memoirs with the sword of cancer cutting away his life. The family had been bankrupted the year before and this was his last attempt to ensure that his wife, the love of his life, would not be penniless. Excellent read.

Book ends rather abruptly. Would have like to have an epilogue that tied up loose ends about the sons, wife and grandchildren of Grant.
Darian G.
Nov 04, 2013 Darian G. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs
A solid review of Grant's last year and battle with cancer. What stands out most are the deep values and character traits that were carried by men of the time. Loyalty, friendship, honor, honesty, and provision for family; which all stand in such deep contrast to how men define themselves. Also, Grant's commitment to forgiveness and inclusion of the south even in the choice of pallbearers speaks deeply of his sense of purpose .
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Charles Bracelen Flood was born in Manhattan, and graduated from Harvard, where he was a member of Archibald MacLeish’s noted creative writing seminar, English S, and was on the literary board of the Harvard Lampoon. (In 2001, Flood was honored with the Lampoon’s Clem Wood Award; past recipients have included George Plimpton, John Updike, and Conan O’Brien.)

Love is a Bridge, Flood’s first novel, r
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