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Harry Truman and the Struggle for Racial Justice Hardcover – June 27, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"Wonderfully written and balanced."—H-Net Reviews

"Shogan has demonstrated once again why he is considered one of America's finest journalists. With typical skill, he tells the story of how Harry Truman overcame the prejudice of his youth to become a powerful force in the struggle for civil rights. This is a smart, gracefully written, thoughtful book that is essential reading for every student of the Truman presidency."—Steven M. Gillon, Scholar-in-residence, The History Channel

"Well-researched and nicely paced, this is a splendid account of a president who chose to embrace a moral imperative at a turning point in American racial history."—Alonzo Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman

"Shogan has written a politically savvy history of the racial conflicts that threatened the New Deal Democratic majority that Truman inherited from FDR in 1945. The racial turmoil within the parties in the 1960s and 1970s overshadows its origins in the Truman presidency. Shogan's book is a reminder of the long history of this conflict within the Democratic Party. His keen sense for the politics of the issue makes the book a must-read for those interested in the struggle for racial equality or the challenge of the issue for the party coalitions that were largely unable to promote it."—John R. Petrocik, coauthor of The Changing American Voter

About the Author

Robert Shogan, a former national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau, as a college journalist reported on Truman’s 1948 upset election victory. He is author of fourteen previous books, most recently Prelude to Catastrophe: FDR’s Jews and the Menace of Nazism and No Sense of Decency: The Army McCarthy Hearings.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (June 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700619119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700619115
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Murray on July 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In April 1965 former Pres. Harry Truman received the annual award from Freedom House at a dinner attended by 1,200 in the Grand Ball Room of the Waldorf Astoria. Pres. Johnson sent a telegram calling Truman "the man to whom the cause of freedom owes the greatest debt."(NYT, 14 April 1965) Earlier in the day Truman called Rev. Martin Luther King a "'rabble-rouser' who has hurt the Negroes' cause `because he hasn't got any sense.'"(ibid.) The day before, he referred to King as a "troublemaker....When reminded that the civil rights leader had won a Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Truman replied: `I didn't give it to him.'"(NYT, 13 April 65) In the 1960s Truman was no longer running for office and no longer needed Black votes. The "civil rights President" was showing different colors. In March 1960, a month after the first modern sit-ins, Truman declared: "If anybody came to my store and tried to stop business, I'd throw him out."(NYT, 25 March 60) In April 1960, Truman was the first guest invited for Cornell University's "distinguished visitors' program" where he asserted that "Communists were engineering the student sit-downs at lunch counters in the South...You can never tell,...where you'll find their fine Italian hand, and it's not Italian - it's Russian"(19 April 60)

It was not only sit-ins that riled the former President. "Truman...criticized Northerners who have gone South as Freedom Riders as meddlesome intruders. `They stir up trouble...they ought to stay here and attend to their own business and work through the people who are interested in the Negro's welfare...
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Harry Truman and the Struggle for Racial Justice
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