Dr. Chris Mackowski, professor of journalism at St. Bonaventure University, has published a new book on the last days of former President Ulysses S. Grant.
“Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” recounts the last eighteen months of Grant’s life.
“Grant had been swindled by business partners and left destitute. He decided to write his memoirs as a way to earn some money, but shortly after he began, he was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer,” Mackowski said. “His effort to complete his book became a race against time—the ultimate deadline.”
It is, Mackowski said, a compelling postscript to the American Civil War.
“Grant had resisted writing his memoirs for years, but once he got into the project, he discovered that he really liked writing,” Mackowski explained. “When the book came out, critics hailed it as a literary masterpiece, and it still stands today as one of the great works of nonfiction in American history.”
For Grant, writing the book not only meant telling the story of the Civil War from his perspective but defining what the war meant for future generations. “This was very much about the war’s legacy for him, not just his own legacy,” Mackowski said.
“Grant’s Last Battle” has a cast of supporting characters that includes Mark Twain, who was Grant’s publisher; William Vanderbilt, the richest man in America; William T. Sherman, one of the most colorful generals of the Civil War; and even showman P.T. Barnum, founder of the famous circus.
“Hollywood couldn’t make up a supporting cast like that and get away with it,” Mackowski said.
Published by Savas Beatie, LLC, the largest commercial publisher of Civil War books, “Grant’s last Battle” is the 14th book in the Emerging Civil War Series. The book contains more than 175 historical and modern photos.
Mackowski has served on the St. Bonaventure faculty since the fall of 2000.
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