Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Booknotes: My Dearest Julia

New Arrival:
My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife
  Intro by Ron Chernow (Library of America, 2018).

Found in all biographies of U.S. Grant is the determination that being a husband and father was at the very core of the man's being. Of course, Grant was hardly the only frontier army officer to experience intense longing for family and harbor serious doubts about being able to adequately provide for them, but in his case those considerations likely were overriding factors in Grant's decision to leave the army altogether in 1854.

Physically separated for extended periods, Grant "wrote hundreds of intimate and revealing letters to his wife, Julia Dent Grant," during his army service, and My Dearest Julia: The Wartime Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Wife consists of a selection of over eighty of those letters. Written between 1844 and 1865, they encompass key life events such as the couple's engagement, Grant's experiences of the war in Mexico, his frontier service, and the general's illustrious Civil War career. 

The volume, published in a handsome little package by the Library of America, is introduced by noted Grant biographer Ron Chernow. The following is a rundown of the table of contents:

Introduction by Ron Chernow

LETTERS
Part I: June 4, 1844 to February 2, 1854
Part II : May 1, 1861 to April 25, 1865
Coda: June 29, 1885

Biographical Notes
Sources And Acknowledgments
Index

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