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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 4, 2011 4:15pm-5:15pm EST

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>> charles clarke recounts the finance of ulysses s. grant. the former president had terminal mouth and throat cancer was a great financial straits and writing memoirs in an attempt to restore his family felt. the author examines president grants writing process and the success of his memoirs that were finished four days before his death in published posthumously by mark twain. this is just over an hour. >> good evening, everyone. in 1953 my very good friend charles breece and slide with "the new york times" bestseller, love is a bridge with a law student at harvard have having krejci 1951 from harvard college for he was mentored by archibald mcleish, charlie left the last
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forever, setting his sights on a more elusive pursuit of a full-time offer. winner of the publishable word, charlie salas described by one critic as a first novel of exceptional merit. another critic wrote, when it is considered both as a bridge as a first novel by a writer known as 2030 or, it is a performance to hurt and anyone who looks to the novel of the united states. 50 years later charlie inscribe one of my copies of love as a bridge as a reminder that the race is to the swift, but also to the patient. his nearly six years as an author fiction, history and mcafee, charlie is followed his own true confidence, and ending in a novel when his is no longer spoke and embracing instead of satisfaction found in historical research and embracing the world of nonfiction with the same compelling narrative skills and sharp eye for character that made his novels bestsellers.
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charlie's autobiographical tales that he is yet to put to paper are as fascinating as the entities given to the letters of robert e. lee, adolf hitler, william sherman and ulysses s. grant. how many living souls outside of woody allen's fictional protagonists played by owen wilson and midnight paris can cash a recounts having shared a cocktail hour with ernest hemingway in the burn in paris or a steam bath with arthur miller in new york. three great men of the 20th century chap there capture charlie's fanciness had to meet them. churchill, hemingway and the pope. he batted two for three, somehow missing churchill tumescence unfortunate loss. the past president of the pan american center and organization founded in 19222 at the advanced literature, defense free expression and foster literary fellowship, whose membership is
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included to literary stars of the 20th century. he covered olympics in rome, tokyo or mexico city for "the associated press" as a senior fulbright scholar in taiwan and a fascinating book on the disastrous losses of the american revolution that ultimately led to her victory to fight again when an american revolution roundtable work for the best berkovitz chandra during the 1976 bicentennial. no faithful barrack for with bumps in the road added to the drama and emotional roller coaster of real-life. the year 1970 sells publication of the worthy and offense. charlie's very autonomous life and times has an attached member of an army company in the jungles of vietnam and cambodia. his narrative took no sides of the political controversy surrounding vietnam war and no charlie's book remains one of the truest and adoring an honest accounts, suffered for his lack of fixed to fit antiwar
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sentiment. during the worst pitching publication of his biographies on rise to power in the deep and enduring friendship turned grant and sherman at civil war, charlie rubin of the most compelling historical novels i've ever read. the late subject with the tilde of tuscany in a century -- is his life as a ruler warrior was as remarkable as any king or prince and more last imprint. unfortunate as published in germany coming up united states will have to take my word for it. in 2009 charlie's 1864 gates of history earned rave reviews including a three quarters page review. only to be undersold by the publisher in the wake of the economic recession. throughout these many achievements and occasional setbacks, charlie's most stunning success and greatest strength is as wife, kathy and three fantastic children and were recently grandchildren. when kathy transplanted charlie from his new york city to the
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bluegrass he quickly adopted the state of kentucky with open arms. he's performed most research at eastern kentucky university and has been faithful to our love in each spring and fall he can be found with mediocre success at the clubhouse. and fought the good fight against the armies effort to make nuclear waste. there is spent in madison county, we know in this graceland fun, he's the citizen teacher it all is ready for the most tramped task china landline in speaking out when necessary, than never to hear himself pontificate. charlie has an interim humanity and humility, which has tremendous late as a person that may have served him last file in the literary world of insatiable egos. above all, charlie has been his own man as a scholar, author, husband, father and friend. in being true to himself and his ideals has never been driven by publishers unreasonable demands for perception of what he should be writing for how he should be
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ready now. in pursuing his own creative inspiration, charles has heard many times over the accolades he's received from critics, colleagues and adoring public. i proudly present to you, my friend, charles breece and fled. [applause] >> it gives me a much better opinion of myself and a half five minutes ago. [laughter] i really wish that this had been in reverse because i would like to introduce gerry toner to you. i will however ask you just to go fast-forward and reverse its me and tell you a little bit about jerry. when i moved down here, i had one connection with kentucky and it was for seven years in the
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1950s, which permits one is, i was on something called the board of overseers, committee to visit the english department at harvard. the professors at harvard were not very pleased about this. the sake the regular army, who is the sky from the national guard commit to look at us and tell us what we're doing. there was one guy who was very pleasant and so whenever it needs somebody from kentucky around the united states, i'd say i think it's unlikely if you know what this is, but i know when kentuckian whose name is very big men senior. they always do. the men senior was. it was not totally cut down here here that i understood why a new very big men senior. in any event after event here a short time, barry who is very nice to catch the anime, his
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wife mary, he asked me to come over here for two or three days and serve on what he was duplicating of the committee we both been on a harvard at the industry department at the university of lord bill. so i did this unfounded theory and choosing. and as these couple of days went by, i became aware of this young man, a very young man and who is sort of always around and going to the right class and asking the right questions. and that turned out to be a very young and able lawyer here in willow hill and we became friends. and when i say friends, i mean that we have been very close over the years.
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iciness lifecare of the same kathy and me up in maine and we have had a lot of fun together. of the many times that we've been today very nice house for touristic males, one evening stands out in my mind. a few years ago chariot alludes to the fact that this new yorker does like to go to keeneland. there was one of the great bonuses at sun coming down here unexpectedly. so we are well aware of the fact that every spring and lugo, and despite what we think of keeneland, we have an event called the kentucky derby. so they were good enough to have us over. and he had touristic seats, about 200 yards from the finish and perhaps up a few of these
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metal seats, a few rows. the problem was that there is no overhead overhang and it happened to be a day that would completely eclipse this rain here today. the cherry very wisely went up to a hardware store and appeared at the track. there were 12 of us huddled under the same during the day. so came the turkey itself and i'm sitting there under this thing and we are perfectly placed to see the race if you can just keep wiping the rainout of your eyes. and in comes this horse at the rather unglamorous name of smarty jones. and i was able to see smarty jones at the perfect place because 200 yards from the finish he was looking around behind him to wonder where the other horses were. it was a great, great race. and then we all felt back on the
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12 of us in some other people to the toner size and evolve at dinner parties i've ever been to, this is the evening with the highest morale. everybody came pouring in like drowned rats and each person in each group had their own story of how they had survived this and where had been and how it had all happened. and it's just symbolic to me it's a great friendship that we've had. so i do think jerry very much, not just for his kind words tonight, but for many, many years of friendship. so now i will turn to it brings us all here. and i very much appreciate the opportunity to be here and appreciate your braving the reins and i'll try to make it all worth your while. you're aware of this book i named. my book begins in may of the teeny before, 29 years after
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appomattox. 62 years old and the most famous man in america. it's also on his way to be the most photographed man of the 19th century. in addition to his enormous contribution of winning the civil war, yet served two terms as prez didn't have the united states. grant was found in good health. among other things this man a slender stature had gained 40 pounds since his wartime weight of 146. he used crutches as a result of falling on a seamier exciter. however no one, including grants, had any ata he'd only 14 months to live. as we open on grant, he and his wife were living very comfortably in manhattan. they were able to afford this place because of the generosity of some rich new yorkers, including jpmorgan. and these men had got together quite a bit of money so that the grants could have the same kind of lifestyle that they had. and they did this because they
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thought in ulysses s. grant the same kind of determination, the same kind of vision, of vision, the same concentration that it brought them great success in entirely different fields. as the richest men in the world, william h. vanderbilt that, he is one of us. that is the way grant struck these people. i plan now is to take you back to the beginning of grant's life and give you some of the highlights on its way through to 1884. i want to give you the man if he really was rather thin how he so often been portrayed. grant is described as humorless, a person who would never laugh at himself. he was tone and that i know to tunes. when his yankee doodle and the other is -- [laughter] grant was the son of the operator of a small town in ohio and graduated from west point. after serving with distinction in the mexican war, he married julia sent, the thai daily
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halogen cross eyed daughter at a prewar slaveholding family and missouri. the civil war historian bruce katz and called their marriage and i quote, one of the great romantic american love stories. and so it was. separated while serving a remote army post on the west coast, he became desperately lonely and was drunk on duty during the payday. his colonel gave him the option for facing court-martial or a while resigning from the army. and grant said to some of his comrades, i would rather resign from the army and never had julia no but i was court-martialed for being drunk. so he did indeed resign. seven years later when the civil war began in 1861, he returned to the army, starting as commander of a regiment with less than a thousand men, he rose to become general in chief of the entire union army of the force more than a million.
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and the process and here's the point is though many have meant coming a became a transitional figure in the history of warfare. at shiloh in 1862, he was writing back and forth right behind alliances infantrymen who are fire in a nearby federate banks. by the time abraham lincoln driving east in 1864 to come in the entire union army and to oppose robert e. lee in northern virginia, he was communicating with his corps commanders by telegraph from his headquarters miles behind the front. contrary to the myth he was often drunk, and no time during the war with the incapable of affect of action to to consuming alcohol. i see at the top of this page he hammered note that says, take a drink of water whether you think you need it or not. [laughter]
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meteoric rise among union generals, grandpa only developed enormous administrative skills but became a great strategist. more than any other general on either side, he understood servers that this word integral part of vast battlefield area and could be used as avenues for penetrating and cutting up confederacy. lincoln described in this way. once grant gets hold of the place, he acts as if he had inherited. among the great impressions of grant that is mistaken is that he really wasn't very bright. during the last are the work he created an inc. and was headquartered at city point virginia what he called the bureau of military information. this was in fact a sophisticated and highly affect his 64 man intelligence gathering unit --
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union -- unit that surpassed any organized pair buster grant still a lot of blood and robert e. lee's forces, it's also worth remembering what we thought about that. finley subordinates were telling him about the way grant was reckless a piling of, lee replied, i think general grant is managing things very well. virtually every american knows the story of the way in which ulysses s. grant set new standards of military honor by the kind and gracious way in which he accepted the surrender of appomattox courthouse. but many are unaware of what came next. the success of andrew johnson and tentatively tried for treason, a crime punishable by death. grant walked into the white house and told johnson that lee was protected by the parole i.t., grants, had given me a
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appomattox. grant added if we were arrested he would immediately resign from the army in protest. johnson and his federal prosecutors had no intention of arguing with the immensely popular commanding general at the united states army. they quietly called the treason proceedings. he was never arrested. for the remaining five years the property's life, he never allowed a word to be spoken in his presence. in 1869, four years after the war ended, it is a sworn in as president of the united states, a position he held for two terms. his first term was a success in his psyche was not. during the second term, his political opponents bunched 30s seven separate investigations into corruption in this administration. despite their efforts, they could not demonstrate he was involved in any scandals. many resulting from the politically naïve grant of
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misplaced trust in those he believed to be honest men. taking an action unique in american presidential history and grants final message to congress as something later called the state of the union address, he apologized to the nation's legislators and threw them to american people for his inadequacies as a president, graham began with this. it was my fortune or misfortune to be called to the office of chief magistrate without any political training. it is the reasonable to assume that errors in judgment must have occurred. he added that he claimed quote, only that i've acted in every instance from a desire to do what is right, constitutional at them a lot and for the very best interest of the whole people. as for ending slavery and the subject of civil rights, soon after grant was sworn in, he
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announced to congress the ratification of the 15th amendment designed to protect the rights of locks to go. he said this. a measure which makes it wants 4 million voters were here for declared to his tribunal to be not servants of the united states, and are eligible to become so it is indeed to measure a grander importance than any other rack kind from the foundation of our free government to the present day. it's worth noting in the recent and long overdue movement among biographers and historians to restore grant to his rightful place in american history, professor shawn willett of princeton takes the position that grant is more for civil rights than any american president between lincoln and 10. once more, i want to bring the
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westbound side of grant to your attention. after his white house days in 1879, ulysses s. grant and his wife julia and barred on a two-year trip around the world, plain as a private facing journey it turned into an immense international tribute to grant. he symbolized the burgeoning civil war america in industrial and military power to be reckoned with. he and julia dined with queen of the tory a at windsor palace. in berlin he spent two hours with germany's iron chance other than base my, who grant characterized as quote the greatest statesman of the present time. this mark treated him with great respect as a military national leader who possess first-hand knowledge that he, bismarck, was easy to acquire. all this boat was neither what they thought would be the last
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chapter of his life. the are beach 94, living in manhattan in a handsome townhouse, just east of the fabulous millionaires mansions on fifth avenue. this is the air and our history known as the gilded age. granted@ulysses s. grant junior had become partners in a wall street investment firm known as grants and more. the moving spirit of this enterprise was ferdinand ward, known as the young napoleon of wall street. trustingly, grandpa at all his money on rewards management and had encouraged all of its immediate. at that moment the investors, papers indicate that the firm of 16 million. on that basis, grant had reason to think he was personally worth as he put it, i want to know in a time when household servants are paid $5 a week. the financial catastrophe struck
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swiftly. overnight in may of 1884, worst fraudulent financial house of cards collapsed. he had been running what a leader generation would call a ponzi scheme. grant and his family lost all their money. a description of grant as he was at this juncture was left by robert underwood johnson, a brilliant young editor on the staff of the century magazine. johnson met with grand pates and julia julia samarkand hegemon ridge, new jersey to discuss the possibility of writing articles about his famous titles in campaigns. johnson found a man far different from the rough warrior he expected to encounter. he wrote, the man who we've been told was solid and reserve show himself to me as a purse or a mosque in his nature and the most human expression of feeling. grant gave me the impression of a wounded lion. he'd been hurt to the quick and proud name as honor.
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he told me frankly and simply an arrived at one branch almost penniless. the long branch, julia who for eight years at the white house staff at her disposal did all the cooking for her ulysses for your family and guests. with johnson guiding hand, grant began to read about shiloh come the first of four articles describing his first bibles. he found he enjoyed it and johnson was the first to discover the same man who could read declares no strict military reports an after action report was capable of descriptive writing that transported the reader into the meadow in calgary horses. as graham focused his prestigious powers of concentration on his four articles for the century, he began to think of expanding the initial effort and what he came his massive and powerful personal memoirs. it was now grants friend, mark
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twain entered the picture. twain already greatly famous for his ventures of tom sawyer and other works was about to publish huckleberry finn. he may grant an offer that was generous to grant and although speculative, potentially very lucrative for himself. he would publish memoirs are a small publishing firm by charles webster and give grant $200,000 as an advance on the venture. twain, always demand for images described the arrangement this way. if these chickens should ever hatch, general grant's royalties will amount to $420,000 will make the largest single check ever paid to an author in the world's history. if i paid the general and silver coin at $12 per english pound, it will weigh 17 tons. as grant continued writing in the summer of 1884, he set an
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increasing pain and discomfort in his mouth. by late october this had been diagnosed as cancer, primarily at the time. the result of spoke in thousands of cigars. this was in fact it does sentence. the dramatic question now facing grant and the american public when they later learned of it was, could he complete his memoirs before he died? during the spring of 1885, as grant pushed himself ever harder as he wrote in his house in manhattan, the people of both the north and the south, while still divided concerned postwar political issues began to come together in an example of the american respect for courage and the native instinct to pull for the underdog. mark twain had been writing and thinking grant could recount his fellow works variances effectively, but he was bowled over by what he now saw and read.
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averaging a projection of 750 words a day while in a condition in which he likened a drink of water to molten lead, brad was putting on paper the work of remarkable literary quality. trying to compare these memoirs with julius caesar's commentaries, saying the same high merits distinguish both books. clarity statement majora mess, simplicity, manifest truthfulness, fairness and justice to fellow like an avoidance of flowery speech. general grant's book is a great, neat and unapproachable literary masterpiece. there is no higher literature than these modern literary masterpiece. there is no higher literature than these modern literary masterpiece. there is no higher literature than these modern. the style is flawless. no man could improve upon it. turn in the months it became evident that americans, not boldly in the north, out have come to a special feeling for grant. he'd always had his courteous but other than during his white house years he was referred to
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and thought of and learned of his grave illness caused gathered outside of his house on 66 street. they sometimes appear to go for a carriage ride central park, their reactions would range from applause to solemn silence, with men in the crowds taking off their hats. excuse me while i take another sip. and i certainly thank you. nobody knows this and people look at their watches or move their feet more than the speaker and that is not happen once. at the time of great 63rd birthday on april 27, 1885, 20 years after the nation's great redemptive moment at appomattox courthouse, who is clear that a new generation, not one of the time of his surrender was growing up with an inbuilt floating towards a man who likes linkin hunt preserve the union.
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typical of the letters he received from young people was this one from mackie irving of louisville, kentucky. she said in part, i am a little louisville girl who likes you so much. i'll general grant, please, please get well. i don't write you to get your autograph or anything of the sort. i only write to let you know how we all love you. i hope you won't suffer a bit. general grant, please accept the best wishes some of of this louisville girl. he also received this for a grant from the confederate survivors assist the nation, meeting and augustine, georgia. remembering him now that's a generous victor who at the ever memorable meeting at appomattox conceit of liberal and magnanimous terms of surrender do be standing by the graves of our confederate day respectfully tender to general grant assurances of arson here and profound sympathy and miss, and the season his direful
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extremity. because of the coming summer heat in manhattan, arrangements for me to take grant to a cottage pie in the hills above saratoga springs in upstate new york. i was known as though muckraker, a big resort hotel and the scottish astonished up some 200 yards from it. here, grant dug into what was literally a do or die effort. finding writing with a pen that exhausted him and his weakened condition he resorted to dick cheney as he neared the end of this massive two-volume were. at one point he had a brief discussion with his oldest son, frederick, concerning dedication grant added as these volumes are dedicated to the american soldier and sailor. frederic suggested they should be changed to specify he met the soldiers and sailors who would file for the north. grant replied, there's a great deal better than should be dedicated as it is.
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as it is,, dedication is to testify against as well as those who fought with. it may serve a purpose in restoring harmony. grant felt a quiet passion for the nation he had fought to preserve. in what proved to be the last weeks of his life, it choked with mucus and bleeding from cancer he fantastic dated in a barely audible whisper, revise manuscript a pencil and resold it to write in his thoughts on of paper. on one of these huberty summation of his feeling to former confederate generals, simon boulevard bochner who came to see him out though muckraker. a witness as my sickness just what they wish to see since the war. harmony and good feeling between the sections. i believe myself that the war was worth all that it cost us, fearful of folk was, since it was over i visited every state
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in europe and a number in the far east. i know if they could not be the value of our inheritance. on july 20, 1885 camillus assess grant finished the last changes he wished to make in his manuscript. three more inflator with the family surrounding his dad, his last moments began. he died with julia holding his hand. a temporary resting place for granted then select to riverside park on manhattan's cliffs high above the hudson river at a circular brick mausoleum had been built there. on the day of the grants coffin now closed was spotted eric downtown in manhattan city hall, the largest crowd ever to assemble on the north american continent. estimates range from half a million to one and half million people. land a five-mile loop of the funeral procession. what they witnessed was the united states showing the world how to honor a national hero.
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thousands of carriages followed the massive catafalque on which grants coffin rested. the crowds thought president grover cleveland past presidents rutherford g hayes and chester arthur and the justices of the supreme court. the governors of every state in the union went by "the new yorker" which their states had originally come at the union. in the military side is a galaxy of generals. 40,000 troops past have included the west point crew of cadets wearing black armbands. music was provided by 250 bands and drum cores. proof of how grant had brought the nation together with the fact that confederate general joseph e. johnston and simon boulevard buckner were among the honored participants. the last large segment of the enormous parade, a democracy's tribute that took a ton her son from ohio as a column of feet of
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similac did and appointed officials from all over the united states. the parade's combination military strength and the representatives of constitutional law but it pleased for him to believe so firmly in the prosperous future he saw for the country you served. in addition to the public outpouring of respect and affection, those who knew gradwell had more private reactions. on the day grant died, mark twain wrote in his notebook he was a very great man superlatively good. on their own. many citizens are up in south realized that they are doing it was possible to be at sometimes ineffective president, but a great man nonetheless. what is grants like this event? despite the rise and fall of historical schools of thought that it scurried and diminished his role in our history, he and lincoln remained to men who did
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the most to ensure that our country would remain one nation rather than become two nations, one of which was committed to maintaining slavery as a legal institution. his memoirs were published to greater claim than the sales that mark twain had hoped for a guaranteed julia would live very comfortably for the rest of your life. now this is an educated confidence in a bookstore, so i will take a minute or two to explain this legacy. 126 years after grant finished it, just thus far 2011 the personal memoirs of ulysses s. grant is so close to 50,000 copies. this is just this year. in three hardpacked into paperback editions, that figure is even more impressive when one considers the copyright has long since expired and unknown numbers of copies are downloaded free from the internet. so how do you sum up this unique life? in a speech given 15 years after
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grant's death, theodore roosevelt placed him in the very first rank of americans, the great madman like benjamin franklin and thomas jefferson deserve to be regarded as enormously valuable citizens. he's a grant to something more than that and spoke with him this way. as we look back with keener wisdom into the nation's past, the mightiest among the mighty dead bloom the figures of washing 10, lincoln and grant. these three greatest men have taken their place among the great men of all nations, the great and of all time. the state supreme in the two greatest crisis of our history on the great occasions when we stood in the van of humanity has struck the two most effective woes that have ever been struck for human freedom under the law. of all that was ever about grant, nothing would have pleased him more than julia's
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heartfelt and worked memory of the man she called with. julia said, hi his wife arrested in and was formed in the sunlight of his loyal love the great same and now even though his beautiful life is gone now, it is as if in some far-off planet disappears from the heavens, the light of this glorious standstill reaches out to me, falls upon me and warms me. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you could let me say again i very much appreciate the note which -- it's noticeable when it happens. i am ready to deal with your questions. i hope you have questions. i like the question-and-answer period. as far as i'm concerned there are no questions and if i don't know any of their, i will tell
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you that. any group like this, i am sure there always is somebody who knows them and that i don't know when that's the time for me to learn. in any case, please, please, be with your questions. yes, ma'am. this lady over here please. >> as a member of the american revolution, first state president was the governor's wife, mrs. seaman buckner. i'm researching and finding pictures of all of those previous state president understood that she was from virginia. and yet you say she was from richmond. >> i made a mistake. now, i went to a sourcebook that should have been right and they were wrong. so i thought with me. i'm from richmond, she's from richmond. put it in the vote.
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>> i was thrilled to think she was from richmond. >> i was two, briefly. good catch. very good. please somebody else. behind you, jerry. please go ahead. >> i cannot question our dinner. >> i have always found the civil war so fascinating and grant and lincoln. can he speak a little bit about what you know about their relationship, especially maybe during the war years, how often did they meet? what's the relationship? >> excellent question. and the answer is a little bit disappointing team, you know, that knowing both men and their responsibilities, they did not meet often. however, grant had a very -- he
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can't lincoln's attention at pittsburgh and after vicksburg and lincoln said at the time, after doing a little bit of transposing of the words here, but in effect histogram pulls this off greatest my man and i am his for the rest of the war and that indeed is what happened. although he said that grant had these advantages, the fact is all his predecessors as commanders in the army of potomac also had these advantages and did very, very little with them. and so i say come i'd rather go with the assessment of grant than anybody else's. i'd also want to digress for a moment. i don't think this says -- i think this touches on the question. but anyway, thinking very much appreciated grant and grant appreciated the opportunity.
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he was a career soldier. when it came to washington to accept and in effect is that i'm going to do the best i can and i'm going to ask you for what i need. i'm not going ask you for anything more. let's see how it goes. lincoln said that should stay with me. also, it is sad the story was around during the war that a delegation went to lincoln fairly early in the war and said that this man is a job. lincoln replied, well if you can get you the kind of liquor company with the kind of liquor that he drinks often that there'll to all my generals. as somebody else went to lincoln during the war and told him the story and said mr. president, is it true? lincoln went to get stories that i wish it were, but it's not. so there you have that went. but excellent question. give me a chance to degrasse here and there.
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anybody that error please yes, sir, the gentleman that era. >> i remember as a young boy about grant's as a butcher and high school he was not portrayed as a very significant president. so he certainly elevated here to a more successful human. >> that is a really good question and there's a lot more recently about this. there was -- he was for -- he was with theodore roosevelt said until about 1900, that was a perception, invalid perception. and then this reconstruction era era -- really after the reconstruction era, but all these historians decided to become revisionists. and their idea was -- i think it translates into this, we're going to really, really elevate property lee who deserved it. he was a great man and great general and noble figure.
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if they thought in order to get lee up they had to push grant down. as late as 1992 you had a respect to northern historians saying i don't see how ulysses s. grant could ever look at himself in the mirror. he was a pathological murderer. so this redress as i suggested earlier in my talk is long overdue. that is what you have here. in a very good question and it's really very au courant on what's going on and what to historians and biographers these days. very good. i hope anybody else back there before, to a trustworthy one. >> we became the president of a college and was therefore -- was there any contact? >> estimates another very good question. that would be what i enjoyed answering. a few weeks after grant was sworn in, he was not curated for his first term, he invited robert e. lee who had been
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pinned for five years a president of washington college became washington me upon his death and lee's death is going to be within a few months. he invited me to call on him at the white house. this was the last thing that we wanted to do because if you stand in the back of the capital a look across the river, you see arlington house, his wife's feet of leased boeing, which became the core of the 19 cemetery. but that is not what we wanted to do. ..
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>> grant was inviting the white south, already having done quite a bit to try to protect the rights of blacks. he was inviting the white south back to the white house in the person of robert e. lee. he arrived, they talked about 15 minutes. he left and they never saw each other again. i think it is very symbolic of both of them. lee tried very hard after the war to heal the wounds between north and south, in a constructive way. and grant did the same thing. it hits right on the meaning of
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the lives of these two men, so thank you for asking it. way back there. >> i have enjoyed reading about anything i can find about grant for a long time. >> can you speak of just a little bit? the last thing i heard was -- >> i've enjoyed reading about as many books as i can find, i'm sure there's a lot i have several books about grant, including her book about "grant and sherman." >> thank you. >> it was terrific, i enjoyed it. >> thank you. >> i thought this crowd might be interested, 198 or 10 years ago i was watching book notes, and the british historian, i think john keegan who is quite a military historian. >> terrific military historian. >> he was being interviewed by brian lamb. he was the greatest general of all time in the united states, and then he offered a thought, would it be eisenhower?
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lamb said that. he said no, no, it wouldn't. he said eisenhower was a very great general, but he said without question the greatest general ever in the united states was u.s. grant. because he said if they wouldn't have been a u.s. grant they're very likely would not have been one united states. >> i concur. >> i thought that was the ultimate compliment. >> i do, too. it's coming from a very gifted military historian. i didn't happen to know about that exchange but i certainly buy into it. i know jerry had something to ask me. anybody else? please. >> do i understand that generally made application for -- grant never acted on that? >> what happened to that, extreme interesting. i wrote in a book called lee, the last years, which was a long time ago. what happened was he did do that. he got any pigeonhole literally. was not rediscovered for than 100 years, and the man who
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restored it happened to be gerald ford. so he did do that, but i don't know how much difference it really made since he had grant protecting him every inch of the way. and in a sense almost protecting his reputation after his death. that's another very good question, and shows quite a lot of knowledge on the subject. thank you for that question. i think it's time for my good friend. >> taking us back to the year of lincoln, final, could you tell the folks here a little bit about the attempts to attempted grand to follow the pattern of mcclelland and other generals who kind of turned on their commander-in-chief, and what they did or didn't say about grant's sense of loyalty of purpose and kind of truth to his
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pledge, so to speak? >> he certainly, i think he didn't necessarily say well, blinking his ask king me too, therefore, but i think he felt very strongly by a process of elimination, i don't think grant was not an arrogant man at all. but i think he felt that he'd seen others fail, and it was his turn and he was going to come east and who's going to the very best he could. that although the dodgers your question but he certainly never, never criticizes lincoln. his idea was that lincoln had his job to do, he, graham, had his job to do, and god willing that between them they would get it done. and that, of course, is just exactly what happened. i hope that answers the question. >> a follow up.
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going back to grant-sherman. did he retain his friendship with sherman? >> that was very tricky, very tricky. there was some back and forth after the war about sherman wanted his position as commander of the army and other positions to which he exceeded to better define. and grant was not prepared to do that at the time. one of his appointees was going to die within a few months, and so there was a falling out for a time. but when the chips were down and grant was mortally ill, guess who came to new york from st. louis to see him? but sherman. and they met a number of times, and sherman wrote one of his daughters, he said, grant says that my visits to the more good than all the visits of the
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doctors combined. and when we have the final moment, which was at this temporary template not far from where the great marble thing was later erected, sherman had been the marshall of this parade, and the last moments before grants -- sorry, before his coffin was put behind this mausoleum, as a bugler was playing taps looking straight at sherman and sherman was looking straight at the bugler, and sherman, he was always a good figure of a soldier, had that west point carriage and so forth, he was standing absolute and his whole body was shaking from sobbing. so that's how that ended. and with -- yes, sir. >> how much of the amicable nature of the surrender came from grant and how much came
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from lincoln, or somebody higher up? >> this was entirely, entirely grant show. there's no evidence that lincoln, other than this, lincoln may have been thinking parallel when he went into richmond very shortly before he was killed. and he said to the american -- sorry, the union general in richmond, he said let them up easy, let them up easy. and grant may have been thinking in parallel terms. but also what grant understood was if he didn't let them all go there, if you decided to make them prisoners or this and that, he could still be going on today. they were ready, although they were starving, but they were brave to the very end and they were saying let us at them again, general. we will go back in the hills and we will be snipers. lee even said that to some of
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the men, these officers who were urging him to fight on. he said no, this is over, we are finished now. i would like to add one more thing on that. occasionally after the war somebody brought up to lee the whole subject about constitutional was secession and so forth. they were still a lot of diehard. there are some to this day. lee said wonderful understatement, you can imagine the noble, eloquent, graceful lee. he said that issue has been decided by force of arms, and that is the most wonderful way of closing the subject forever. and it was accepted that way at the time. but thank you again for that. anyone the last -- yes, sir. i'm with you as long as you want me. anyone else who needs to walk around or anything, please do so. >> we -- where did she are configured in? >> sheraton is very important. i myself think the problem,
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there is sort of a booster club for thomas, but i think fortunately they overplay their hand. i think great, great union generals were grant number one, sherman number two, need number three, and sheraton, the great cavalry leader number four. and thomas can be in there somewhere else but there's always going to be a diehard saying no, no. , thomas has been neglected, he should be a part. is my belief that but also, eisenhower anybody else, i think winston churchill is one of my great heroes come and he was asked after the war what he thought about alexander in italy or montgomery all over the place and so on. and how did he rate him? he said it depends on the task. if you transpose that to us in world war ii, it was entirely
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different from what patton had to do which was yet again entirely different from what eisenhower had to do. so who knows? each man i think really came to choose where he ought to be, doing what he ought to be doing. >> anything you can speak to about where was grant or his reaction to the assassination of president lincoln? >> that's a very interesting question. i'm sorry, i said i would be here as long as you wanted me. it's an extremely interesting thing which i go into detail in my grant-sherman book as it happens. he was taking his wife, julie, to a house they rented in new jersey on a train, okay? and stopping at a station where they're going to switch trains, this career came up to him and he looked at this telegram, and he just went wide. -- white.
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the president has been shot. don't act as if anything has happened. nobody else knows of this yet but i'm going to get you up to your house in new jersey tonight and then i will go back. but had he not been doing that with julia, he was supposed to be in that box with the lincoln. now, what grant later said, and he a modest man, he was a very muscular guy, and he said i wonder if i could have stopped the man from doing it, or you know, at least captured him, wrestled him to the ground and so forth. or other things about that day that are almost uncanny but i think they teach you the reaction. and he was certainly truly truly grieved, there's no question about that. >> joshua lawrence chamberlain, could you comment on him? >> what you want me to say?
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>> i'm just curious what your thoughts are? >> this is a wonderful story. the problem is there are so many wonderful stories. they serve breakfast or, i don't know. anyway, joshua chamberlain i feel is very strongly the biggest part of my background involves main. joshua chamberlain was a professor of classics at bowdoin college in maine before the war, and get a choice as the war broke out, he was do it for a sabbatical, a classics professor would've gone there, or join the united states army. he was a terrific example of the complete amateur who just had a tremendous military gifts. this great moment, there were some great moments but there are two i just want to isolate for you, they were at his 20th maine was the outfit that was at little round top at gettysburg. the stooges absolutely firm, --
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tasted absolutely firm. i have mixed feelings. i had a great grandfather who was the second kansas calvary, had three horses shot out from under him. was in the mississippi war it was cold but the last year of his life in a prison camp in tyler, texas. and i wrote a warm sympathetic study of robert e. lee on the other hand. i want to take that puppy and maine, you go to the historical sinusitis and you see these men from the 20th maine, attend the maine, this is a very serious group of men who you can see 20 years past their musket bearing incarnation, but we think, confederacy naturally, you know, wanted to have their reunions. those reunions were going on with the grand army of the republic. a look about a series as he
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gripped you could ever see. now, i forget just where -- chamberlain, the other part of chamberlain. when lee and grant were finished with what they had to do with each other at appomattox, both wrote off, lee to go back to richmond to pick up the pieces of his life and so forth, and grant to go back to washington and sort of became a tremendous demobilization. the man left to accept confederate surrender was joshua chamberlain. and he rode just wonderfully eloquently about what happened. little bit so downplays his own part, because his men were lined up to receive the surrender. and across the stream came the remnants of the army of northern virginia. and this is chamberlain's detail. some of the regiments were so

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