To the Editor:
IT IS disconcerting that in his review of Grant, by Ron Chernow, Philip Terzian writes that Grant’s memoirs were “written to spare his family disgrace,” and that it is noteworthy that they “end at Appomattox” rather than after his purportedly inadequate presidency (“Don’t Take Him for Granted,” January). This is disingenuous. Grant ended his memoirs there when he succumbed to the painful throat cancer that cut short his masterful writing. To the unsuspecting reader who is unaware of such circumstances, Grant is painted as a schemer intent upon self-rehabilitation.
Albany, New York
Philip Terzian writes:
I AM GRATEFUL to Mr. Shapiro for his close reading of my review of Ron Chernow’s biography. But if Ulysses S. Grant wrote his celebrated Personal Memoirs for some reason other than to spare his family financial disgrace, after the failure of his brokerage firm, I am unaware of it. And in my edition (1885), at least, the memoirs conclude with the end of the Civil War and a brief advisory chapter on its lessons.