The one truly great – and truly humble – presidential memoir
Ulysses S. Grant may not be remembered as our best president, but his memoir is often cited as the best of all presidential writings.
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How do we know? Their memoirs – including Cheney's new one – say so. But when it comes to books by men who lived in the White House (and the guy in the previous sentence who acted like he did), one president's memoirs stand apart because of their humility. In fact, many historians consider the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant to be the best of the bunch.
Yes, President Grant, the one with the alleged drinking problem. The one who once had a rock-bottom reputation among historians. And, of course, the one with the tomb. (No, his name is not the answer to the "Who's Buried In Grant's Tomb?" riddle. It's a trick question: He's technically entombed. Now you know!)
This week, I talked to Grant biographer Brooks D. Simpson, a professor at Arizona State University, to find out what makes this president's memoirs so memorable.
Q: Why do Grant's memoirs stand apart?
A: He seems somewhat more humble than most other presidential memoirs. He does mention that he regrets military actions which didn't prove to be successful, and he admits there were some mistakes.
Q: What's an example of his humility?