By Charles Bracelen Flood
In 1884 Ulysses S. Grant, the general who won the Civil War and the sixteenth President of the United States, fell victim to a financial swindle and had nearly lost everything. He lost his entire fortune and that of many of his family members as well. He was broke. A few months later he was diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer which would prove fatal. He died July 23, 1885.
Charles Bracelen Flood details Grant’s last year in his book, “Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year.” Beginning with the financial collapse of the investment banking firm of Grant and Ward (in which Grant was a partner, but had no active role in its day to day business operations), Mr. Flood’s well written, linear narrative moves to his diagnosis of terminal tongue and throat cancer, and finally to the writing of his memoir, the proceeds of which, being posthumously published, would later restore the Grant family’s fortune.
Grant, most modern American’s would likely be surprised to learn, was the most popular person in America during the nineteenth century; more popular even than Abraham Lincoln. His financial misfortune made headlines across the country, and shortly thereafter his terminal diagnosis, and his race with death to complete his memoirs, would also make headlines. The eyes of the public, North and South, friend and former foe alike were cast upon the General, and former President, in a macabre death watch, as he worked to finish his memoirs.
Four days after finishing his memoir, Grant died surrounded by family. Published after his death, by his friend Mark Twain, Grant’s memoir is looked upon today as a literary classic, and Mr. Flood demonstrates Grant’s steadfast determination in completing his memoir combined with his honesty in dealing with his vanquished foe, Robert E. Lee, at Appomattox Court House, and his bravery during the war and in facing his own death, helped bind up the wounds of the nation as it came together to mourn his passing.
“Grant’s Final Victory” is the thirteenth book written by Charles Bracelen Flood, who has also authored the bestselling “Lee: The Last Years” and “Grant and Sherman.” It is a very well researched book and is written in a style that is easily read. In the one hundred fifty years since the outbreak of the Civil War there have been many books written about Grant, and “Grant’s Final Victory” is certainly one of the finest.
ISBN 978-0-306-82028-1, Da Capo Press, © 2011, Hardcover, 8.9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches, 320 pages, Photographs, End Notes, Bibliography & Index, $27.50. Click HERE to purchase the book.