A Year Into COVID And We’re Still Trying To Keep Our Brains Occupied: TPM’s Favorite Biographies And Memoirs | Talking Points Memo

So, unbelievably (or maybe believably — take your pick) we’re hitting the one-year mark of quarantine life. TPM will get to celebrate this “momentous” occasion in about a week on March 11, the day the New York office started working remote.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1361772
1 Like

I am a bit disappointed that no books by Blacks or about Blacks.

Joe Ragazzo–Hearst was a major character in 2 of Gore Vidal’s American Chronicles novels: Empire(great) and The Golden Age(has its moments)
Have you read them? How does Vidal’s portrayal compare to the Nasaw’s?

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a really great read, a completely engrossing investigation/whodunnit that suffers not one bit from the fact that we now know whodunnit. In fact, it comes off even better knowing who and what the actual serial killer was, because it shows just how well he fit into the facts of the uncompleted investigation. Highly recommended.

1 Like

On Josh’s recommendation a couple years ago here at TPM, I am taking bites out Ulysses Grant’s memoirs. A masterful writer. Library of America edition.

1 Like

Didn’t Mark Twain help him write his memoirs?

There is a sort of urban legend to that effect that was long circulated by Grant’s detractors. But basically definitive evidence disproves the claim. The manuscript was only very lightly edited going into print and the draft original exists in Grant’s own hand. Equally interesting a basic read of Grant’s wartime correspondence and orders shows pretty clearly it’s the same writer.


Was there any relationship between Grant and Twain?

Grant and Twain: The Story of an American Friendship Paperback – Illustrated, May 10, 2005

by Mark Perry (Author)
“The authors of the greatest American novel and of our greatest military memoirs did much to inspire each other to create their masterpieces. Suffering from terminal cancer, ‘Sam’ Grant worked against a deadline of death to complete his memoirs while Sam Clemens stood at his side as editor and publisher even as Huckleberry Finn was entering the world. This gripping account of a remarkable partnership and friendship is a book that everyone interested in Twain and Grant will want to read.”
—JAMES M. MCPHERSON, author Battle Cry of Freedom , winner of the Pulitzer Prize

I haven’t read this yet but it looks interesting.

1 Like

Well, list the ones you’ve read and enjoyed, so we can all take advantage.

Try: Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts

Beside your point, but Grant was not only our greatest general, but one of the greatest ever – certainly in modern times.
The distinguished military historian John Keegan (1997) calls Grant one of the four greatest military leaders in history.

Keegan hit the nail on the head. Grant’s wartime written orders were clear concise and on point.

One of my faves is Destiny of the Republic, which centers on the shooting of President James Garfield. But also features so much of late 19th century America around him. Fascinating stories.