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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grant

It's impossible to explain why I'm feeling a kinship to certain people, most of them dead. Something subconscious knows about an inner connection. There is an understanding that makes us soul mates. This sounds very esoteric, I can't deny it, but I don't know how to describe it differently. As one of those "relatives" of mine I regard Ulysses S. Grant, the anti-militaristic Civil War general. Until 1861, he was a complete failure, an aborted farmer, an incompetent clerk, an occasional drunkard. Three years later, he was the commanding general of the United States Army. What his success makes so compelling is that he was not a brilliant genius. He didn't even enjoy the soldier's life and thoroughly hated war. There were days when he hardly spoke a single word. But his autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, one of my favorite books, is a great literary work.

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