The Memoirs Of General Ulysses S. Grant
Mark Twain approached Grant about publishing the war hero’s memoirs with a plum deal that would give Grant 75 percent of the profits as royalties.
Cash-strapped Grant had little choice but to accept Twain’s offer, and the Civil War-focused “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant” hit stores in 1885.
Grant’s memoirs were an instant runaway hit. Twain’s company made the clever choice of employing former Union soldiers in full uniform as salesmen, and the book became one of the best sellers of the 19th century.
Today, the book is considered by many to be the best presidential memoir ever written, but there’s some controversy over who actually did the bulk of the writing. Twain always claimed that he had only made slight edits to Grant’s text, but the prose was so strong that many suspected Twain himself had ghostwritten the book.
Sadly, Grant didn’t get to see the success of his book; he died shortly after its completion. But his widow Julia banked over $400,000 in royalties from the memoir.