Princess Julia

Discussion in 'History' started by Baruch Menachem, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    I found the memoirs of President Grant's grand daughter on interlibrary loan. It is called "my Life here and There." It is the story of her life up till 1917.

    Julia was the daughter of Grant's second son, Frederick. She was born in 1876 in the white house. Her father had been assigned to General Custer's command, but was brought back in the summer for his wife's confinement, and so missed out on the battle of Little Big Horn.

    Her first memory is going with her parents to Colorado to meet her grandparents at the conclusion of their round the world trip when she was five. The crowds that met the train freaked her out, even though they were very friendly.

    After the round the World trip, Frederick Dent went to work with his father and older brother in the firm of Grant and Ward. She told about the smash of the company and how it affected her family.

    She remember her grandfather writing his memoirs and all the visiters he had. For Julia Sherman and Sheridan were delightful visitors. She remembers Buckner coming for a long visit. Mark Twain frightened her. When she grew older, she became a big fan of his writing, but she never saw him again after her grandfather died.

    She remembers her grandfather's death as being a long painful struggle as he wrote. His last spring the GAR had a parade past the house, and her grandfather saluted the veterans as they marched by. For her it was quite a lark. In late spring the family moved to Mt McGregor NY and General Grant finished his book just before his death.

    In 1889 Fred Grant was appointed Viennese consul, when Julia was 13 and becoming a lot more aware. She got to meet Queen Victoria, who she liked, the Prince of Wales, who was an almighty jerk, and the princess of Wales, who was very gracious. They arrived in Vienna while the city was in mourning for the death of the crown prince, who had died in never really explained well circumstances, leaving no heir. The book contains a lot of really silly gossip about the Viennese court, the other ambassadors (The Imperial German ambassador got called back because his wife engaged in a great deal of Les Majestie regarding Willhelm II's intellectual attainments) and other fluffy stuff.

    I am only half way through, so this is as far as I got.


    She got married at age 23 to a Russian nobleman, had three kids and lived as part of the Russian aristocracy till the Revolution in 1917, when she fled with her family to Finland. Finland at this time had asserted its independence which was finally granted in 1920.

    She divorced in 1934, and did not remarry. She lived until 1975.

    She wrote three books about her experiences, of which this is the first in terms of narrative.


    Anyway, this is an interesting book so far, but she does not have her Grandfather's literary skills. Her prose runs from lavender to mauve and she very much likes the word "Gay" in terms of the meaning "happy." She will use it as much as three times a page.

    She also seems oblivious to anyone not in her immediate circle. Her account of the 1905 revolution seems a marvel of obtuseness. (I skipped ahead a bit here)

    Anyway, it is an interesting life and an interesting read. It puts a new perspective on things.

    Her discussion of the politics pre revolutionary politics of Russia makes it clear that she thought the Tsarina was a bitch and Nicholas II was totally unqualified, even though she liked him personally.
    [​IMG]
    Julia seated next to her mom, in front of her Grandfather, 1884
     
  2. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    I got the second volume of her memoir, where she is writiing of events from 1914-1917. The more I read, the more sympathy I feel for the bolshiviki. The house of windsor may be messed up, but the household of Nicholas II was messed up to an incredible degree. And Rasputin was just the tip of the dung heap.
    Nicholas had a particular favorite who was corrupt to a level appalling even by Russian standards. Nicholas could not get anyone to work with the man. According to her, there was talk of assassination of the whole royal family as incompetent and disgusting all through the winter of 1916. In Russia, there was precedent for this in dealing with the emperor Paul
    Julia missed both revolutions because she was living on her estates in the Ukraine during the events in the capital.
     
  3. whitehall
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    whitehall Gold Member

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    The winner writes the history books. It was no different after the US Civil War. Former substance abuser US Grant changed the rules of war. No longer would Soldiers be confined to outdated chivalrous behavor. Under Grant's decree even unarmed civilians could be victims of arson and robbery and even murder at the whim of Union commanders. Grants' presidential administration is considered as the most corrupt in history.
     

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