After mentioning Ulysses S. Grant in my latest blog posts, I decided I should read his autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. His autobiography is easily available free online. Amazon has several formats, and in digital format they have a 6-part free version:
The Gutenberg Library has a free online version here.
Bartleby has free version online too – here.
Often many interesting facets to the character and lives of important political figures get buried under the smears used by their political rivals and detractors. Grant is probably more widely known for his reputation as a drunk than as the general who led the Union to victory.
Just a bit of casual googling in the past few days and I learned that besides being a former U.S president and general, Grant was also an accomplished watercolor artist.
Recently, I learned that Karen Pence, wife of vice president, Mike Pence, is also an accomplished watercolor artist and has made promoting art therapy programs to help trauma victims a cause she’ll use her position as second lady to promote. The liberal media has painted her as a far-right, Christian zealot so often that I found it interesting to find out she’s an artist, but even more interesting, she’s a trained pilot:
“Karen comes from a family of pilots. “I was born on an Air Force base,” Karen said on Afternoons With Amos, a radio show. “My dad worked for United Airlines. I kind of grew up around planes. My godfather had his own plane, and when I was a teenager, I got to fly with him and it just kind of got in my blood.”
Although her license is not current, her son Michael has the flying gene. “My son, though, has taken me out because he’s a pilot now, he’s actually an instructor,” she said in the interview.”
The more facets we take the time to see in people, especially people who have been tarred by the media, the easier it is to see them more as sparkling diamonds than as cheap paste jewelry. Most people defy cookie-cutter descriptions. Most are complex, with many experiences and interesting tidbits to share. You can enrich your own life greatly by taking the time to get to know them.
Hope everyone has a nice day and let’s be thankful that yesterday’s missile alarm warning in Hawaii was a false alarm.
8 responses to “A few links on Ulysses S. Grant”
Thanks for the link JK. I did start reading Grant’s memoir (almost halfway through Part 1 of the free amazon series) – very interesting, both in how he wrote with a great degree of self-effacing wit, also, the rich details make you feel like you are right there beside him observing the same things.
Here’s a taste of what I mean:
“On the evening of the first day out from Goliad we heard the most unearthly howling of wolves, directly in our front. The prairie grass was tall and we could not see the beasts, but the sound indicated that they were near. To my ear it appeared that there must have been enough of them to devour our party, horses and all, at a single meal. The part of Ohio that I hailed from was not thickly settled, but wolves had been driven out long before I left. Benjamin was from Indiana, still less populated, where the wolf yet roamed over the prairies. He understood the nature of the animal and the capacity of a few to make believe there was an unlimited number of them. He kept on towards the noise, unmoved. I followed in his trail, lacking moral courage to turn back and join our sick companion. I have no doubt that if Benjamin had proposed returning to Goliad, I would not only have “seconded the motion” but have suggested that it was very hard-hearted in us to leave Augur sick there in the first place; but Benjamin did not propose turning back. When he did speak it was to ask: “Grant, how many wolves do you think there are in that pack?” Knowing where he was from, and suspecting that he thought I would over-estimate the number, I determined to show my acquaintance with the animal by putting the estimate below what possibly could be correct, and answered: “Oh, about twenty,” very indifferently. He smiled and rode on. In a minute we were close upon them, and before they saw us. There were just TWO of them. Seated upon their haunches, with their mouths close together, they had made all the noise we had been hearing for the past ten minutes. I have often thought of this incident since when I have heard the noise of a few disappointed politicians who had deserted their associates. There are always more of them before they are counted.”
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson). The Memoirs of General Ulysses S. Grant, Part 1. (Kindle Locations 590-602). Kindle Edition.
You’ll have a time of it LB … that’s an Arkianism incidentally meaning roughly, “a hearty good time.”
Near as I can recall getting acquainted with Grant’s writing must’ve been in the neighborhood of oh, 1969, 1970 or thereabouts. There was this retired guy name of Colonel Brink, an actual Colonel too aside from also coming from that “Long Grey Line” – I don’t recall hearing anyone call him otherwise. Even my school’s yearbook featured no other name except for that simple, “Colonel Brink US Army ret.”
And it was Colonel Brink who uhm … “recommended” me read US Grant.
I’m thankful for that.
I’ll need some time to arrange my thoughts LB, in order to place something along the lines of my “iced in adventure” ie, short and to the point regarding the honorable Colonel Brink.
Heck, to the best of my memory, I am unable to call forth even the guy’s wife saying his given name.
Well, JK, as you are aware our lives have crossed paths several times in several locations in the past without actually having met during those times. And with the mention of Col. Brink…. is this yet another such incident? The same Col.John Brink (Army Retired) who passed away in 09 in Springfield, Mo.?
Quite odd, maybe curious is more apt.
I’ve since mentioning Col. Brink, determined that he indeed died in Springfield and his first name was John however, the Colonel Brink who taught History and Mathematics at my high school preceded my own Father in death with the latter’s year of passing being 1995.
Hope you are well Ups. We’re doing about as expected. The sun is shining though and the winds are now turned and arriving from the south.
Quite a coincidence two retired Army Col. of the same name and so close geographically.
Same here, doing as expected. Glad to be out of the single digits, temperature wise.
Rarely comment, but do enjoy reading your blog, LB.