An overweight rheumy eyed drunk who, after eight years of scandal and mismanagement, had been run out of Washington, D.C. did what every president since has done – when they can no longer stand the heat of the kitchen they travel rooting for foreign plaudits to shore up their reputations at home. Listening to the Republican rhetoric of today chastising the Democrats for attempting to follow Lincoln’s playbook must have Clio laughing and weeping in alternating fits. As the GOP follow the Whigs into inconsequential oblivion this book – which is a delight to read – serves as a first-rate lesson as to why neither memoirs nor journalism should be used as historical sources.
Around the world with General Grant John Russell Young ; abridged, edited, and introduced by Michael Fellman Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 448 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm. Map on end papers. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
After leaving the office of the presidency in 1877, Ulysses S. Grant embarked on a journey worthy of his legendary namesake, an around-the-world tour that took him from Europe to the Middle East and Asia over two and one-half years. Accompanying Grant was journalist John Russell Young, a wartime associate who was working in Europe as a correspondent for the New York Herald when Grant first arrived in England. On assignment for the Herald, Young joined the former president’s entourage and recorded every detail of the grand tour – the sightseeing, official visits, travel conditions, and Grant’s candid discussions with heads of state and other notables about the Civil War and other matters of state. So far from home, Grant felt free to speak his mind about his fellow Union officers, his Confederate adversaries, and the conduct of the war, at far more length than he would in his memoirs. These salty reminiscences of the war give this travelogue its greatest importance for union apologists.
First published in two volumes in 1879, Young’s account has been abridged by historian Michael Fellman and is now available in a single volume that, besides his adventures abroad, distills Grant’s unvarnished memories and judgments of his wartime and executive experiences. We read Grant’s opinions of such Civil War figures as Stonewall Jackson (“Jackson’s fame as a general depends upon achievements gained before his generalship was tested, before he had a chance of matching himself with a really great commander.”) George McClellan (“It has always seemed to me that the critics of McClellan do not consider this vast and cruel responsibility – the war, a new thing to all of us, the army new, everything to do from the outset, with a restless people and Congress.”) and Joe Johnston (“I have had nearly all of the Southern generals in high command in front of me, and Joe Johnston gave me more anxiety than any of the others. I was never half so anxious about Lee… Take it all in all, the South, in my opinion, had no better soldier than Joe Johnston.”). An intimate portrait of one of America’s military men, Around the World with General Grant is filled with half-remembered details of exotic places and on Western, particularly British, imperialism as America was on the reluctant verge of entering the world stage.