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March 13 , 2008

Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant


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The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is an autobiography of American President Ulysses S. Grant, focused mainly on the general's actions during the American Civil War. Written as Grant was dying in 1885, the two-volume set was published by Mark Twain shortly after Grant's death.

Twain created a unique marketing system designed to reach millions of veterans with a patriotic appeal just as Grant's death was being mourned. Ten thousand agents canvassed the North, following a script Twain had devised; many were themselves veterans who dressed in their old uniforms. They sold 350,000 two-volume sets at prices from $3.50 to $12 (depending on the binding). Each copy contained what looked like a handwritten note from Grant himself. In the end, Grant's widow Julia received about $450,000, suggesting a gross royalty before expenses of about 30%.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant has been highly regarded by the general public, military historians and literary critics. Grant was a shrewd, intelligent, and effective writer. He portrayed himself in the persona of the honourable Western hero, whose strength lies in his honesty and straightforwardness. He candidly depicts his battles against both the external Confederates and his internal Army foes.

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