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Truman by David McCullough

Truman (1992)

by David McCullough

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Well written, well organised. The author does a notably fine job of showing Truman as human and therefore flawed. These flaws were not crippling and he was a good man. His political origins were out of the Pendergrast machine and it is notable that he seems to have grown past that potentially crippling connection. The contrast with Roosevelt is stark - FDR was the quintessential example of speaking to the room while Truman seemed to genuinely value the truth. A really fine book. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Jul 3, 2017 |
Truman is the best audio book by David McCullough that I have listened to so far. The narrator was the author. I picked this one because I really did not know very much about Truman except for his morning constitutionals and seeing the picture of him holding up the newspaper that said that Dewey had won.

Coming from the Midwest, I was impressed that he was so humble and actually self-deprecating. This may be a regional trait. I tended to be the same way until I had to learn not to be for job interviews. His world opened up for him when he first got his glasses, he share that experience with Teddy Roosevelt. Another Midwestern trait was to be a reader, he and his friend read a whole public library. That warms my heart as I did too although, I did skip all the math and business books. He had good grades and good manners and worked as a bank teller until he was called home by his father to work the family farm. I also got the message that his actions were more statesman than politician which makes me extremely happy.

What I liked best about this audio book was that actual recordings of his famous speeches were included. That made the story seem more real. Also it ended with a recording of Truman playing the Black Hawk Waltz on the piano.

I cannot form my total opinion of him yet except that he was a fine Midwesterner. I think the story stayed away from negative criticism so I plan to read more about it. So this portrayal was mostly positive. ( )
  Carolee888 | May 15, 2017 |
I listened to the condensed version of this very long McCullough tome. It was about right, so those who complain about the 998 page version should be warned. The condensed version provides just enough facts for the average reader. If you are doing a PhD thesis on the Truman decision process however, don't read the short version. I learned that he was a successful farmer and a not so successful haberdasher, for which he is known. His military service was exemplary during WWI. And, he was apparently an active VP for the 80+ days that he held the job, additionally, well respected in Congress. Stalin underestimated him and probably misjudged as he urged Korea and China to enter/initiate the Korean conflict. Well written, the condensed version probably skipped some elements that I'll never know, but I liked it. (less) . ( )
  buffalogr | Jan 30, 2017 |
TRUMAN by David McCullough, A Biography published in 1992. Reviewed in July 2016 by Mike Hodges
At 992 pages of straight text, this book is a mite long and a pound or two too heavy to hold in one hand. Truman however had a long life of 88 years and died in late 1972. My coming of age at 15 started in 1957 and Truman had become US president in 1945 on the death of FDR and as a consequence Truman heralded the post ww2 era immediately before my generation’s political coming of age.
McCullough covers the period leading up to Truman’s birth in 1886 and extending with an almost daily account through 1972, and especially the day by day account of Truman’s life and events of Truman’s presidency as the 33rd president of the US.
McCullough’s book starts with the history of the original Missouri and Kansas settlers originating from their earlier Kentucky log cabins and migrating westward on the Missouri river before disembarking onto the western Missouri and Kansas areas to farm in a more fertile valley such as the newly formed township of Independence.
However the events of greatest interest, I believe, to today’s history buffs, start on page 345 and are namely, the Potsdam Conference and the daily meetings with Stalin at the close of WW2 in mid- 1945 Europe, the first atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, the Iron-Curtain across Europe, the 1948 Berlin Airlift, the USSR atomic and Hydrogen bombs and the ensuing Cold War with the accompanying massive US military expenditures, the 17 billion dollar Marshall Plan initiated in 1947 to save Europe from both famine and communism,, the birth of the Jewish State in 1948, the Korean War starting in 1950 and MacArthur’s quest to nuke China. And not least the ensuing civilian control of the Atomic Energy Commission, the McCarthy era, the US communist witch hunts and the US State department witch hunts, the post war industrial unrest. Thru out all these events Truman maintained a regimen of unflappability and conscientious long working days with an occasional breakaway to the southern White House in Key West.
Truman’s farming days and his WW1 US Army career, pp 102- sets the stage for his future career in local, then in national politics and also his early career Judgeship gained with the help of the Prendergast Political organization see pp151-351. His post WW1 occupation as a failed haberdasher at a time of post WW1 depression and the failure of many businesses are reviewed.. Then the house and senate political life as a DC resident occupies center stage. Truman advances to chair an investigative committee on National Defense Expenditures that establishes his political acumen. Clearly his investigations uncovered the secrets of the Manhattan project putting lie to the fact that in 1945 he entered the White House without prior knowledge of the A-bomb. Secrets or no secrets. Clearly once in the White House or at least the temporary White House, as the original White House was undergoing a massive repair, the pace is faster than the Hoover Dam out flows.
The vast reach of history is hereby covered in the remaining 650pp. The book is complete with an additional 60pp of source notes, a 25 page bibliography, a 32 page index and 92 photos. Fortunately the language is clear and therefore the text is easy to follow, even with no end in sight. This biography is a must read for all history buffs interested in the post WW2 era. I enjoyed the entire sweep and so will you. ( )
  MichaelHodges | Jul 16, 2016 |
One of the best biographies I have ever read. What a wonderful man. ( )
  Kathiland | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
THROUGH most of his nearly eight years as President, Harry Truman was profoundly unpopular. Joe Martin, the Republican Speaker of the House in the late 1940's, called Truman "the worst President in history." Liberals so despaired of him during his first term that they tried to draft Dwight D. Eisenhower to replace him as the Democratic nominee in 1948. Even among the many who liked Truman personally, there was always a tendency to view him as one member of the Cabinet did on April 12, 1945, the day Franklin Roosevelt died. Truman was sitting alone in a big leather chair against a wall in the Cabinet Room of the White House, waiting for the Chief Justice to arrive and swear him in as President. The Cabinet member glanced at him and later remembered thinking: "He looks like such a little man."

Truman's popularity revived at times during his Presidency, most notably during his remarkable campaign for re-election in 1948. But the revivals were always brief. The real rehabilitation of his reputation -- the process that has turned him into something of a folk hero -- began later, well after he left office, and has accelerated in the 20 years since his death. Its culmination may be "Truman," David McCullough's warm, affectionate and thoroughly captivating biography. "Truman," Mr. McCullough writes near the end of this long book, "held to the old guidelines: work hard, do your best, speak the truth, assume no airs, trust in God, have no fear." He was "a figure of world stature, both a great and good man, and a great American President." . . .
added by PLReader | editNY Times, Alan Brinkley (Jun 21, 1992)
No brief review can begin to do justice either to Truman or to the monumentally persuasive job McCullough has done re-creating his life and times.
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We can never tell what is in store for us.
---Harry S. Truman
For Dorie Kane McCullough
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In the spring of 1841, when John Tyler was President, a Kentucky farmer named Solomon Young and his red-haired wife, Harriet Louisa Young, packed their belongings and with two small chidren started for the Far West.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671869205, Paperback)

This warm biography of Harry Truman is both an historical evaluation of his presidency and a paean to the man's rock-solid American values. Truman was a compromise candidate for vice president, almost an accidental president after Roosevelt's death 12 weeks into his fourth term. Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory in the 1948 election showed how his personal qualities of integrity and straightforwardness were appreciated by ordinary Americans, perhaps, as McCullough notes, because he was one himself. His presidency was dominated by enormously controversial issues: he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, established anti-Communism as the bedrock of American foreign policy, and sent U.S. troops into the Korean War. In this winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize, McCullough argues that history has validated most of Truman's war-time and Cold War decisions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters-- Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson--and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man--a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined--but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman's story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman's own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary "man from Missouri" who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.… (more)

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