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Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess…

Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 (edition 1983)

by Harry S. Truman, Robert H. Ferrell (Editor)

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1402124,681 (4.38)5
Title:Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959
Authors:Harry S. Truman
Other authors:Robert H. Ferrell (Editor)
Info:W W Norton & Co Inc (1983), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 606 pages

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Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 by Harry S. Truman



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This is a large, though not complete, collection of the surviving letters from Harry Truman, at first his future wife and then his wife, from fairly early in their courtship to a few letters after he left the presidency. Most of the early letters are entirely about minor personal affairs. For me as a Freemason, the fairly frequent mentions of Harry's masonic activities (he was master of a lodge and an active ritualist) are the most interesting parts of these early letters. They are followed by his letters during World War 1 when he was serving in France and giving quite vivid descriptions of the French countryside and the lifestyle of the American soldiers. (He quotes someone as saying "The Germans fight for territory, the English for the seas, the French for patriotism and the American for souvenirs." --he sent home a few knickknacks made from shell casings.) Even then, he was thinking he might run for local office. When he did become a 'county judge" (commissioner) I realized for the first time (despite having read several biographies of him) that Jackson County where he served actually included all of Kansas City -- I had thought of it as the rural outskirts only. He was in fact quite a major cog in the Prendergast machine. When he went on to the US Senate, he worked hard tough investigations, especially of the railroad corporations, producing what the book calls the 'Truman-Wheeler Transportation Act --another aspect of his career I had not been very aware of. He does give quite a lot of comments to his wife about his very mixed opinions of his fellow senators, major railroad and stock exchange officials, and New Deal officials. There are only a few comments on his selection as VP in 1944, though I had not realized how hard he campaigned that year. When he became president. he seems in his private letters to be a bit overconfident (contrary to some statements he made more publicly) , and throughout the presidential years he keeps telling his wife how complimentary people have been about his speeches etc. It is clear, though, that he did continue to work hard and did the best he could. The letters tend to peter out after 1947, apparently because Mrs. Truman later burned them. The book is seriously under-edited; many people and events mentioned need more explanation. In one case the note speaks of Truman attending the Yalta Conference when in fact he was attending Potsdam. A final thought --if he had had a Twitter account, he would have been in serious trouble. ( )
  antiquary | Sep 2, 2018 |
A story told in letters to his wife by Harry s, Truman. Excellent. Book Jacket has only two photographs. ( )
  Kamerow | May 29, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harry S. Trumanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ferrell, Robert H.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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