“NEVER RETREAT, NEVER SURRENDER!” Ex-President Ulysses S. Grant struggles to complete his “Personal Memoirs” while combatting terminal cancer. He produces a masterpiece. The true story. Can be expanded to TV miniseries. Professional Coverage: “Recommend” - Dave Trottier (Author, The Screenwriter’s Bible) SEMI-FINALIST Fade In Awards - True Story/Bio Competition

In the spring of 1884, U. S. Grant -- the most well-known man in America and the world -- has been bankrupted by a Ponzi scheme. Virtually penniless, General Grant contracts with friend and supporter Mark Twain to write his “Personal Memoirs”, which Twain will publish. Simultaneously, Grant seeks treatment for a mouth infection which is diagnosed as terminal cancer of the tongue. Grant has about one year to live – a diagnosis he hides from his wife and family.

Undaunted, Grant proceeds with the formidable writing project in spite of violent coughing fits and a deteriorating physical condition.

Grant’s memories are depicted in the film as he writes the “Memoirs”. He recounts…

• The early days at West Point, his outstanding horsemanship, mathematical ability, and artistic talents, • His physical strength and heroic performance in the Mexican War, including encounters with Robert E. Lee, • His determination in leading his regiment to a California outpost via Isthmus of Panama during a cholera epidemic, • His resignation from the Army, drinking accusations, and subsequent failure in business, • His recall to active duty in the Civil War, and meteoric rise to Brigadier General, • His unique ability to concentrate and evaluate a situation – military or otherwise – and develop a clear, practical solution that works, • The Battle of Fort Donelson -- where he becomes “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, • His inner turmoil over Civil War casualties, • The surrender of General Lee at Appomattox.

Grant suffers greatly during this writing ordeal. He is unable to swallow without intense pain, and eventually loses his ability to speak.

His wife Julia, and children Nellie and Fred Grant stand by him – and also suffer -- throughout this ordeal.

Grant’s illness sparks a nation-wide death watch. Reporters camp out by his home and even try to dupe his doctors and the housemaid to get further information.

Then Grant has a severe choking experience which nearly kills him. Saved by his doctors – who use a unique medical procedure -- the Ol’ Warrior rallies and vows to finish his manuscript.

In June, 1885 Grant is moved to the Mt. McGregor Cottage in upstate New York to avoid the blistering heat of New York City.

There he complete his manuscript and dies on July 23, 1885.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant were published shortly after his death. Mark Twain's company printed 350,000 sets -- 700,000 volumes -- a record number of books for that time.

Grant’s “Personal Memoirs” were a great success -- praised by the public, historians and literary critics. They have been acclaimed as the foremost military memoir in the English Language.

They have never gone out of print.

Written by:
Author Bio:
Jim Saunders is a New York City-based professional writer, playwright, optioned screenplay writer and multiple contest winner. He has many years’ experience writing stage presentations, corporate films and multimedia projects; also a director and occasional actor.


Jim specializes in screenplays based on historical true events (including musicals), bio/pics and/or disasters. In alphabetical order:

“BOJANGLES, EUBIE AND BERT!” Three Black musical legends of the past – Bert Williams, Eubie Blake and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson – relive their show business success in spite of racism and theatrical bigotry.

Show More