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Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948 (GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY) Paperback – April 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Series: GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri; Reprint edition (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082621066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826210661
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,648,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Mr. Donovan has reached in every direction for helpful insights into the Truman character, and much of what he comes up with is presented for the first time from documents, memoirs and letters freshly available. Yet his scholarship is as unobtrusive as it is prodigious. His style is crisp and direct, much in Truman's own manner. Events of staggering complexity are set forth with a clarity and economy that make the obscure comprehensible by shunning pedantic irrelevancies."--New York Times

"Conflict and Crisis is an extraordinarily fine blend of journalistic technique and historical method. Mr. Donovan writes very well, and his story is based upon extensive research in the major primary sources as well as relevant printed material. He is thoroughly conversant with the work of academic historians and adds his reporter's gift for description and narrative. His judgments are consistently sound and balanced. This is the best and fullest account yet of Truman's first term."--Alonzo L. Hamby

"From his own incomparable observation post at the Truman White House, as well as from scholarly sources and newly opened records, Robert Donovan has fashioned a masterly account worthy of his subject: pungent, plain-spoken, unvarnished. A readable, fair-minded, solid account of a remarkable presidency."--James MacGregor Burns

"Fascinating. I have enjoyed reliving those years with Harry Truman, relearning things I knew before, learning a lot I never knew, and seeing it all with Donovan's guidance from the perspective of 1977."--James Tobin

About the Author

Formerly a newspaper journalist and senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Robert J. Donovan covered the White House during the Truman years for the New York Herald Tribune. He is also the author of several books, including Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953 and Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir (both with the University of Missouri Press).

The Give 'Em Hell Harry Series, edited by Robert H. Ferrell.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on February 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
While David McCullough's more recent biography of Harry Truman has received widespread recent attention, Robert J. Donovan's earlier biography published in 1977 has much to recommend it. Whereas McCullough's extensive volume covers Truman's entire life, Donovan zeroes in on the pivotal period of a pivotal presidency. Donovan begins as Truman takes over the awesome responsibility of the presidency after Franklin D. Roosevelt's death. Donovan covers in perceptive detail Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan as a means of ending World War Two. Donovan follows the war to its conclusion, and also focuses carefully on the exciting 1948 presidential campaign, when Truman scored one of the greatest upsets in American political history by defeating heavily favored Republican nominee Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York.
Donovan turns an astute eye as well on Truman's great foreign policy accomplishments of the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, and the creation of NATO. As a Middle East historian, I was benefitted by his thorough presentation of the controversy leading up to the granting of recognition to the new nation of Israel, and how Truman's decision was crafted.
I would urge that any dedicated Truman scholar should read both the McCullough and Donovan volumes. McCullough covers a wider perspective, while Donovan, on the other hand, gives broader coverage to the pivotal foreign policy events from 1945 to 1948, as well as Truman's sensational upset victory over Dewey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John W. Duerr on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Robert J. Donovan's "Conflict and Crisis" begins with Franklin Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945 and Harry S Truman's ascendency to the presidency and ends with his upset election to the office on Novmeber 3, 1948. This may at first seem to be a very narrowly focused book, but in taking us through these 43 months, Donovan makes it clear that this brief time was truly a pivotal period in US and world history.

During this period the country was transformed from a wartime to peacetime economy. Laws and policies were set in place governing such diverse areas as wages and prices, agriculture and trade unionism. At the same time social and political issues such as race relations, governance of the military and control of atomic energy came to the fore. New Deal and wartime political alliances were being redrawn in the new order of American life.

On the world stage, World War II ended and the cold war began, the US emerged a The great world power, the United Nations was formed, the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine were established and the seeds of future and continuing conflicts in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East were sown. And of course the spectre of atomic weapons reshaped every aspect of international relations.

Although Donovan's book is focused on this brief period of history, it is fair to say that the sweeping events of this time shaped much of the following decades and continues influence current events. This was brought home to me when I was reading at page 125 how Truman proposed a comprehensive prepaid medical insurance program on the same day that President Obama signed the current Health Care legislation.
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