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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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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. ( )
  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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140276748X, Hardcover)

Indelibly, we recall the iconic newsphoto: jubilant underdog Harry Truman brandishing his copy of  the Chicago Tribune proclaiming "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN." But far, far more exists to 1948's election that a single inglorious headline and a stunning upset victory. Award-winning author David Pietrusza goes beyond the headlines to reveal backstage events and to place in context a down-to-the-wire donnybrook fought against the background of an erupting Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, and the birth of Israel, a post-war America facing exploding storms over civil rights, and domestic communism.

It's a war for the soul of the Democratic Party with accidental president Harry Truman pitted against his embittered left-wing predecessor as vice president, Henry Wallace, and stormy 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, the stodgy but brilliant Ohio conservative Robert Taft, and the imperious but aged Douglas MacArthur.But Americans really want "none of the above." They do, however, "like IKE," but Dwight Eisenhower stubbornly resists draft movements in both parties to run--at least, that year.

It's an election year featuring a uniquely stellar supporting cast. Alger Hiss, Whitaker Chambers and Richard Nixon. Civil rights crusader Hubert Humphrey. GOP VP choice Earl Warren. Henry Wallace activists Paul Robeson, Lillian Hellman, and Pete Seeger. A passel of FDR kin--including Eleanor--disgusted with HST. Wisconsin's Joe McCarthy, Clark Clifford, William O. Douglas, George C. Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Adlai Stevenson, Drew Pearson, "Landslide Lyndon" Johnson, H. L. Mencken, Harold Ickes, Clare and Henry Luce, the "Do-Nothing" 80th Congress, Curtis LeMay, Ronald Reagan, and, last, but not least, NBC's forever embarrassed H. V. Kaltenborn.

David Pietrusza achieves for 1948's presidential race what he previously did in 
1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon--of which Library Journal (starred review) said "raises the bar with his winning and provocative chronicle. . . . Highly recommended." Pietrusza again brings history to life, spellbinding readers with tales of the highest drama while simultaneously presenting the issues, personalities, and controversies of this pivotal era with laser-like clarity.

With 2012's crucial presidential election approaching, 1948 transforms the way readers see modern American history.

Just a taste of what's inside David Pietrusza's riveting 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America's Role in the World--
Vitriolic Westbrook Pegler's exposé of Henry Wallace's secret "Guru" letters.Why the NAACP fired 80-old civil rights pioneer W. E. B. DuBois.Why a disgusted Nina Warren voted for HST--and against Tom Dewey and her own husband Earl.How A. Philip Randolph's threatened "March on Washington" integrated the army.J. Strom Thurmond: Segregationist white knight--with an illegitimate black daughter.The ground-breaking Oregon radio debate that settled a presidential nomination.How "Bull" Connor arrested Henry Wallace's running mate--and nearly arrested Wallace himself.The Case of the Missing President: HST's election night vanishing act.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

An examination of the 1948 presidential race explores Harry Truman's stunning upset in the context of an erupting Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the birth of Israel, and the brewing storm over civil rights and domestic communism.

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