Truman

Truman

Paperback

By (author) David McCullough

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  • Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: Paperback | 1117 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 234mm x 51mm | 1,410g
  • Publication date: 28 October 1993
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0671869205
  • ISBN 13: 9780671869205
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 316pp b&w photographs
  • Sales rank: 73,571

Product description

This biography of Harry Truman goes beyond the traditional portrait of the "ordinary man" to present an extraordinary American President. Drawing on archival material and extensive interviews, McCullough chronicles Truman's boyhood in Missouri, his entry into politics and his surprising success as a US senator. But it is Truman's emergence as a decisive and confident President that forms the heart of this book. McCullough casts new light on Truman's character and motivations, and shows how he set the course of politics and policy for the next 40 years. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1993.

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Review quote

"McCullough is a master storyteller whose considerable narrative skills have been put to exquisite use in re-creating the life and times of America's 33rd president." -- Robert Dallek, "Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Editorial reviews

A gargantuan but surprisingly agile and spellbinding biography of the plain-speaking, plain-dealing Man from Missouri. As depicted by McCullough (Brave Companions, 1991, etc.), Truman, though the first President of the nuclear era, was fundamentally a throwback to 19th-century midwestern ideals of honesty. Like the young Teddy Roosevelt in the author's Mornings on Horseback (1981), the pre-Presidential Truman most impresses McCullough as a battler against overwhelming odds: the failed farmer and haberdasher; the WW I captain who kept his unit together under deadly fire; and the scorned product of the Kansas City machine who won Senate colleagues' respect by chairing an investigation into WW II defense spending and winning a ferocious primary contest. With the stage thus set, the narrative picks up whirlwind force, following Truman from his assumption of the Presidency upon FDR's death - when "the sun, the moon, and the stars" seemed ready to fall on him - through the decisions to drop the atomic bomb; confront Stalin at Potsdam; send troops to Korea (the most important decision of his Presidency, Truman felt); and fire MacArthur. The book's main event, however, is the legendary "Whistle-Stop Campaign" of 1948, when Truman puffed off the political upset of the century. Readers jaded by Vietnam and Watergate may ask: Could any President be this serene, honest, and courageous? Yet McCullough weaves his spell, convincingly limning a politician who didn't lie, steal, pay attention to pollsters or pundits, or quail in the face of diplomatic or political combat (his major fault seems to have been excessive loyalty to cronies who betrayed his trust). Truman apparently really was, as his Secretary of State Dean Acheson said, the "captain with the mighty heart." Rich in detail, enthralling, and moving: a classic Presidential biography. (Kirkus Reviews)