Ulysses S. Grant’s Letters to Wife Draw Intimate Portrait

October 1, 2018
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The Civil War’s greatest general as you’ve never seen him before.

My Dearest Julia

THE WARTIME LETTERS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT TO HIS WIFE

with an introduction by Ron Chernow

“I thought of Julia. How much I should love to see you now to tell you all that happened.” (Ulysses S. Grant, Mexico, May 11, 1846) 

 Ulysses S. Grant is justly celebrated as the author of one of the greatest military autobiographies ever written, yet many readers of his Personal Memoirs are unaware that during his army years Grant wrote hundreds of intimate and revealing letters to his wife, Julia Dent Grant. Now, presented with an introduction by acclaimed biographer Ron Chernow, MY DEAREST JULIA: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife (Library of America; 978-1-59853-589-1; October 10, 2018) collects more than eighty of these letters, beginning with the couple’s engagement in 1844 and ending with the Union victory in 1865 in a deluxe hardcover volume: the perfect companion for readers of the recent biographies eager to discover Grant in his own words.

“MY DEAREST JULIA opens a fascinating window on Grant’s character.–Ron Chernow”

Grant’s wartime letters to his wife record his first experience under fire in the Mexican War, the aching homesickness that led him to resign from the peacetime army, and his rapid rise to high command during the Civil War. Often written in haste, sometimes within the sound of gunfire, these letters vividly capture the immediacy and uncertainty of that war and help to humanize a still-frequently misunderstood historical figure. “The world has never seen so bloody or so protracted a battle as the one being fought,” he wrote from Spotsylvania in 1864, “and I hope never will again.”

MY DEAREST JULIA opens a fascinating window on Grant’s character. “However spare in style,” Ron Chernow writes in his introduction, the letters gathered here “candidly portray Grant’s emotional state, showing his remarkable evolution from an insecure young soldier to a capable, self-confident general. A man so reserved in public needed a private outlet for his feelings, and his correspondence with Julia was the ideal repository for these confessions.”

About the Author:

Ron Chernow is the prizewinning author of seven books including, most recently, the national bestseller Grant-and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and Alexander Hamilton-the inspiration for the Broadway musical-won the American History Book Prize. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Chernow was unavailable for an audio interview. 

MY DEAREST JULIA

The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife Introduction by Ron Chernow

Library of America; October 10, 2018

978-159853-598-1; $19.95 cloth

 Now in its fourth decade, Library of America is a nonprofit organization that champions the nation ‘s cultural heritage by publishing America’s greatest writing in authoritative new editions and providing resources for readers to explore this rich, living legacy.

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