In 1884, Ulysses S. Grant, desperate for money and terminally ill
with cancer, did what countless statesmen and military leaders had done
before him: he sat down to write his memoirs. Racing against the clock,
he turned out two substantial volumes on his early life and his
military experiences in the Mexican and Civil Wars.
measure, he had a lot to write about and a lot to tell. He produced a
classic memoir, as the genre was then understood: important events
related by a great man who shaped them.
But that was then.
Grant’s memoirs fall into the same sprawling category as "Callgirl:
Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure," "Bat Boy: My True Life
Adventures Coming of Age With the New York Yankees" and "Rolling Away:
My Agony With Ecstasy," to pluck just three titles from the memoir
mountain looming in the next month or two."
"We All Have a Life. Must We All Write About It?"
The New York Times [Reg. required]
Image: Joan Chiverton/NYT