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1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory…

1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed…

by David Pietrusza

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741254,501 (4.21)5
The 1948 election was a war for the soul of the Democratic Party, with accidental president Harry Truman pitted against Henry Wallace, his embittered left-wing predecessor as vice president, and young South Carolina segregationist Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond. On the GOP side, it's a four-way battle between cold-as-ice New Yorker Tom Dewey, Minnesota upstart Harold Stassen, stodgy but brilliant Ohio conservative Robert Taft, and imperious but aged Douglas MacArthur. Author David Pietrusza goes beyond the headlines to place in context a down-to-the-wire fight against the background of an erupting Cold War, the birth of Israel, storms over civil rights, and domestic communism. Featuring a stellar supporting cast: Alger Hiss, Whitaker Chambers, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Earl Warren, Paul Robeson, Lillian Hellman, Pete Seeger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joe McCarthy, Clark Clifford, William O. Douglas, George C. Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, H. L. Mencken, Harold Ickes, Clare and Henry Luce, and Ronald Reagan.--From publisher description.… (more)



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4920. 1948 Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America's Role in the World, by David Pietrusza (read 9 May 2012) I read this author's book on the 1960 election on 25 Nov 2008 and enjoyed it so much that when I saw he had a book on the 1948 election I knew I had to read it. It is almost as enjoyable as the book on the 1960 election, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I enjoyed living the political year 1948, since during most of that year I looked forward to the November election with fearful gloom. As I read this book I knew that no matter how desperate things looked November would be a giddily great time. I think the author pays a bit more attention to the Wallace candidacy than necessary, but I have no other complaint about what he covers in the book. There are a few minor errors I noted: On page 90 he says Harold Stassen was the youngest governor ever, but he is wrong--there was a Governor of Michigan, Stevens T. Mason, who was elected when 24 and re-elected when 26, and California's J. Neely Johnson was elected governor in 1855 when he was 30. Stassen was 31 when elected governor of Minnesota in 1938. (The fourth youngest governor ever was Bill Clinton--32 when elected governor in 1978.) And on page 220 the author says the Barkley-Chandler primary contest was in 1936 but it was, as even I remembered, in 1938. And on page 247 he refers to Senator Chad Gurney but he should have known it was Senator Chan Gurney he meant. I suppose the book is not as elegantly written as some political histories but it was sure great reading of that amazing year. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | May 9, 2012 |
"This narrative of a U.S. presidential election and its significance will appeal especially to presidential history buffs and less advanced readers on the subject. Specialists may enjoy the story but will not find anything new here."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Jane B. Marino (Nov 1, 2011)
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