Thursday, August 23, 2012
Walking With The Indian Ghosts At Village Creek Thinking About Ulysses S. Grant
A Green Bayou with a big white bird. Is that a swan? Or an egret?
Speaking of historical areas.
An historical area I am currently in to is The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.
This book excerpts the Civil War years from Grant's famous auto-biography. I've long known that Grant's memoirs are thought of as the best work of its kind. But, knowing that did not prepare me for what I've been reading.
Just the excerpt of the Civil War years covers over 500 pages. In small print. Grant wrote his memoir while he was dying from cancer in a desperate bid to make money for his family, after he'd been swindled out of pretty much all he owned.
Mark Twain got Grant's memoirs published, they turned into a huge best seller, leaving Grant's family financially set. Grant died only a week or so after finishing his memoirs.
What is amazing me is the level of detail. How did Grant remember such detail? And he writes so well, very modern style, no purple prose flourishes.
Grant had no typewriter to type his story on. It was all handwritten.
As I walked with the Indian Ghosts today I was feeling very melancholy. I don't know why. Maybe it was due to dwelling on U.S. Grant. He died not knowing he'd written a best seller. He died embarrassed that he'd been swindled out of his money. He died knowing his presidency was known as the most corrupt, up to that time. The corruption never touched Grant. He remained an American hero.
After Grant finished with being president, he and his wife left America for 3 years, touring Europe and Asia. Everywhere Grant went he drew huge crowds, hailing him as the Hero of the War for Freedom. Grant's triumph abroad was so great that when he returned to America his popularity was restored, with some in the Republican party wanting to nominate Grant for President in 1880.
But, that Republican convention of 1880 turned into a deadlock between Grant and James G. Blaine, with the deadlock ended by the selection of a dark-horse candidate named James Garfield, who was assassinated in his first year as President.
The networks are not going to be devoting much time to covering the upcoming conventions. The conventions have become boring, pointless and anti-climatic. We need to bring back deadlocks and multiple voting cycles.
That would make for some good Reality TV viewing.