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1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America Hardcover – October 4, 2011
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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"brilliantly portrays . . . Truman's successful efforts."
"coherent, compelling...A skillful, authoritative investigation'"
"If you think  is wild, this is really wild--Harry Truman and Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond and Tom Dewey."
[A] winning and provocative chronicle highly recommended.”--Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW]
"[A] colorful, character-driven narrative.... A lively look at the underside of a campaign."--Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
His book 1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies was named by ForeWord Magazine as among the best political biographies. Robert Caro has praised it as "terrific."
Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns. 1920 reached #1 best-selling rank in three amazon.com non-fiction categories.
Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award.
Pietrusza's Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, received the 1998 CASEY Award.
Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures.
He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN BookTV, C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel, EBRU-TV, and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes." He has served as a regular panelist on FoxNews.com Live.
Pietrusza holds a master's degrees in history from the University at Albany and has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York.
Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany.
More About the Author
His most recent book, "1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR: Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny" (starred review-Kirkus) is nominated for the American Library Association (ALA)'s Notable Books Council's 2015 Notable Books List.
His "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America," a study of the dramatic 1948 presidential campaign, is a selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Literary Guild.
ForeWord Magazine designated his book "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies" as among the best political biographies. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro has termed "1960" "terrific."
Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns.
Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled "Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series" was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an AUDIOFILE Earphones Award.
Pietrusza has edited three volumes on the career and works of Calvin Coolidge: "Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit & Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge," "Calvin Coolidge: A Documentary Biography," and "Coolidge on the Founders: Calvin Coolidge on the American Revolution & the Founding Fathers." Says Amity Shlaes: "an authority on the 1920s and [Calvin] Coolidge . . . David Pietrusza has brought Coolidge back to life with his volumes about the president . . ."
Pietrusza's "Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis," received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a Finalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.
Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called "Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures."
His books have been utilized as texts by such colleges as George Washington University, the City University of New York, the University at Buffalo, Baylor University, Bellevue College, the University of Illinois, the University of San Francisco, and Portland State College. "1920" has been part of the syllabus for the course "Congress, The Presidency & 21st Century Media" offered by C-SPAN, The Cable Center and the University of Denver. His talk on "Silent Cal's Almanack" is included in the curriculum for the C-SPAN Classroom initiative.
Pietrusza served as president (1993-97) of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and as editor-in-chief of the publishing company Total Sports.
He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN (including "The Contenders" and "First Ladies: Influence & Image"), C-SPAN Book TV (including "In Depth"), C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel ("The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents"), EBRU-TV, GBTV, the Voice of America, Newsmax TV, "Secrets of New York," and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes." He has served as a regular panelist for FoxNews.com Live.
An internationally recognized expert on American presidential elections, he has been interviewed by Le Figaro, Le Monde, Radio-France, Radio-France International, Greece's To Vima, and Denmark's Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.
Pietrusza holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University at Albany and has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York. He has served as public information officer for both the NYS Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform and the NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.
Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany and a member of the initial induction class of the Greater Amsterdam (NY) School District Hall of Fame.
Learn more at www.davidpietrusza.com
Top Customer Reviews
Pietrusza offers brief biographical sketches of both Truman and Dewey, as well as of minor-party candidates Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond. He also recalls the reluctance of Dwight Eisenhower to run and shows how figures such as Earl Warren, Alben Barkley, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and others factored into Election 1948.
The late Forties were a fascinating time in American history: the Cold War, civil rights, the creation of Israel, the Hiss Case, inflation, and the nascent medium of television were the talk of the country in 1948, and Pietrusza shows how these issues impacted the election.
The author's account of the Republican nomination process and of the splintering of Wallace and Thurmond from the Democratic Party is absorbing, he covers each of the parties' conventions, and his account of the general election campaign is also very good--Dewey began very sure he would win, so much so that he decided to run a bland, play-it-safe campaign (but he made one huge gaffe which really cost him).
GOP doubts began to creep in as Election Day approached, and their fears of a Truman win were realized the morning after the election.Read more ›
If Pietrusza is planning another campaign tome, I'd suggest he tackle 1968 -- and pay closer attention to what he did better in his two previous books.
He does a great job of giving an overview of the political climate itself and providing backgrounds of the four main candidates and their respective running mates. Pietrusza makes an interesting case for the lack of focus of each party on issues and more on who their supports were. Much like today the parties were defined more by who opposed them than by what they espoused. Still it was refreshing to see that despite the partisan nature of the attacks there were true bipartisan relationships existing.
The only weak spot is the lack of any analysis as to why Dewey lost. Now we hear so many had doubts but if so they went unshared. Pollsters stopped counting because they believed Dewey had the race won. Yes we see the numerical shifts but there is no context provided. I believe this book would have been perfect with a chapter analyzing what happened in a more contextual sense. Other than that, this is a great book and well worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Truman certainly showed the Republicans that he was going to defeat them. Dewey played a safe campaign by never saying bad or controversial things and Truman played him as part of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kevin M Quigg
Very well written book. Very balanced account of the 1948 election. That was one heck of a tumultuous year! But I have a couple of bones to pick with the author's account. Read morePublished 6 months ago by A. G Provencal
Reading 1948 Harry Truman’s Improvable Victory and the Year That Transformed America one gets the impression that David Pietrusza does not necessarily care too much for politicians... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michael Griswold
The 1948 presidential is the classic, come from behind upset in which President Truman, judged having no chance to win, gave them hell and won over a country. Read morePublished 9 months ago by James Gallen
Favorite President and couldn't put it down. Not the best book on President Truman but well written.Published 11 months ago by Bill Moe
Interesting, enlightening, and at times amusing. Politicians today should read it and learn lessons. He is definitely underrated in the list of Presidents !!Published on November 7, 2013 by kalanicc
Never underestimate The Republican Party's ability to snatch defeat from The Jaws of Victory! This book is a must read for members of The GOP on how not to run a presidential... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Richard Vanier