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The Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Harry S. Truman, whose presidency included momentous events from the atomic bombing of Japan to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War, told by America’s beloved and distinguished historian.
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.
a Jew would have in a Hitler court or a Trotsky follower before Stalin.” It was the one time he had ever attacked the President, the one time he had ever touched on, let alone defended his political origins in the Senate, and it was his worst moment in the Senate. Again he read from a prepared text. Yet he seemed out of control, grossly overreacting even if some of his points deserved hearing—the refusal of the courts, for example, to let anyone from Jackson County sit on the juries. “The
Cousin Sol. Counting everybody—Harrison, who remained a bachelor, sister Ada, a hired girl, several hired hands, and nearly always a visiting relative or stray neighbor child—this made a household of seldom less than fourteen or fifteen people spanning three generations, all under one roof on the same Blue Ridge where Solomon and Harriet Louisa had made their claim so many years before. 2 Model Boy Now Harry, you be good. —MARTHA ELLEN TRUMAN I Harry Truman liked to say in later
it wasn’t but I’m still not sure. I have another one under consideration, which restores civil and military rights to a captain in the quartermaster department. He was court-martialed in 1926 in Panama for some seven or eight charges under the ninety-third and ninety-sixth articles of war. Dick Duncan [a federal district judge in Missouri and former congressman] is interested because the fellow’s from St. Joe and he put the bill through the House and I put it through the Senate on two occasions,
the real change, in the view of his old friend Charlie Ross and others, had come with the elections. It was the sweeping Republican triumph, ironically, that had given Truman a new lease on life, freeing him at last from the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt as perhaps nothing else could have. He owed no one anything any longer. He was free to take charge, to be himself, and show what he could do if he had to. He was on his own again, much as he had been in the 1940 Senate race, when Tom Pendergast
line by another reporter, but this time to his benefit. Did he think it had been a “do-nothing” Congress? “Entirely,” Truman said. He thought that was quite a good name for the 80th Congress. • • • Upstairs at the White House the decline and fall of the old building was no longer theoretical. The floor of Margaret’s sitting room, across the hall from his study, had caved in beneath her piano. His own bathroom, the President was informed, was about to collapse. Nothing of this was disclosed,