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Archive for the tag “politics”

The First Completely Annotated Edition of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs

9780674976290-lg

 

The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant are widely considered to be one of the most well-written pieces of non-fiction American literature. Mark Twain, a close friend of Grant’s and whose company published the first edition of the memoirs, called them ‘a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.’ The memoirs have been in continuous print since their original publication in 1885, which highlights the historical impact of the book. However, in those 130 years, no one has ever thoroughly contextualized the memoirs for the modern reader, until now. Just recently, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, under the management of the Executive Director John F. Marszalek, has announced an upcoming publication of the first comprehensively annotated edition of Grant’s memoirs. Published by Harvard University Press’s Belknap imprint, it will be available for purchase in September 2017.

This newest edition of Grant’s memoirs contains over 2,000 explanatory notes, which identifies nearly every person that Grant mentions, elaborates on details that Grant might have missed, and corrects him if he made an error. All of the scholarly notes that are included in this edition will be invaluable to researchers, historians, academics, and more importantly the casual reader.

Interestingly enough, Grant did not see himself as a writer, nor did he assume that people were interested in hearing his take on the Civil War. However, in June 1884, Grant’s financial trouble, and a diagnosis of severe throat and mouth cancer, forced him to reconsider his abilities as a writer. Immediately after his diagnosis, he began to compose his life story. The oncoming threat of death did not deter Grant. He was determined to complete his memoirs so he could leave his family with a hardy income. With astounding clarity, Grant was able to capture the essence of his early life and detail his personal experience in the Civil War. The general public was enamored by Grant’s direct and lucid writing style.

Sadly, Grant passed away only four days after completing his manuscript, so he was never able to see just how successful and well-received his memoirs would become. Hopefully, this latest edition will add to the historical value of the memoirs, and provide every student of American history with a more nuanced perspective of Grant.

If you are interested in purchasing this invaluable piece of Grant scholarship, you can visit any bookstore or online retailer. Or, you can purchase the book through Harvard, here:
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674976290

 

Louie P. Gallo

lpg58@msstate.edu

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Hancock County, West Virginia and the Start of the Civil War

Virginia, the home state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was notably divided during the Civil War. The growing factions were evident in the state’s most northern reaches. In May 1861, pro-Unionists in Hancock County, VA(now West Virginia), decided to organize a company of men to help fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers. The enlistments were for only three months, but those men quickly cemented their place in history by fighting in the first military land engagement of the Civil War, which catapulted Union General George B. McClellan to the national stage.

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A Cross to Bare

DISCLAIMER: This short story is purely a work of historical fiction. I wanted to write a factitious and allegorical account of slavery while incorporating Biblical undertones. This story is the result of that idea. Pay attention, and you may be able to recognize the Biblical story I am referencing. Enjoy. 

A teenage boy and his father, with their schooner anchored, sat next to their campfire along the beach of Lake Erie in the humid summer of 1837.It had been was quite a tumultuous year for Simon and his son Joshua. Simon, a widower, made his living by using his two schooners to trade salt and flour from the shores of the Western Reserve Territory in Ohio, to the canal ridden state of New York.

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John Forsyth: The Slave Owning Secretary of State

Secretary of State John Forsyth

Secretary of State John Forsyth

During the early nineteenth century, John Forsyth was a well respected American politician. Throughout different parts of his life, he served as a Congressman, Senator, and Governor of Georgia. However, most notably, he was the Secretary of State who led the US Government’s case against the Amistad mutiny. Read more…

February 14, 1814: The USS Constitution vs. the HMS Pictou

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USS Constitution

This year marks the bicentennial of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. One of the most famous naval vessels from the war was the USS Constitution, or better known by the nickname “Old Ironsides”. There are many written histories about Old Ironsides.  This post will detail the clash between the USS Constitution and the HMS Pictou. The reason I chose this topic is because it occurred exactly 200 years ago to the day, on February 14, 1814. Read more…

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