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Truman [Kindle Edition]

David McCullough
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,019 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.00
Kindle Price: $13.99
You Save: $10.01 (42%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

From Publishers Weekly

Cracker-barrel plain in speech and looks, this seemingly ordinary man turned out to be one of our most dynamic presidents. It was Harry S. Truman who ordered the atomic bomb dropped, halted Communists in Turkey and Greece, initiated the Marshall Plan, NATO and the Berlin Airlift, ordered desegregation of the armed forces, established the CIA and the Defense Department, committed U.S. forces to Korea and upheld the principle of civilian control over the military by firing Gen. Douglas MacArthur. McCullough ( Mornings on Horseback ) has written a surefooted, highly satisfying biography of the 33rd president, one that not only conveys in rich detail Truman's accomplishments as a politician and statesman, but also reveals the character and personality of this constantly-surprising man--as schoolboy, farmer, soldier, merchant, county judge, senator, vice president and chief executive. The book relates how Truman (1884-1972) overcame the stigma of business failure and debt (as well as the accusation that he was "bellboy" to Kansas City's Pendergast machine) and acquired a reputation for honesty, reliability and common sense. McCullough pays considerable attention to Truman's family, especially his fervent and touching courtship of Bess Wallace, the idolized love of his life. Her mother never felt Truman was good enough for her daughter, even after he became president. The book's re-creation of the 1948 presidential campaign, during which Newsweek 's poll of 50 political writers predicted that the incumbent would lose the election to Thomas Dewey, is the most complete account of that surprise victory to date. The book is an impressive tribute to a man whose brisk cheerfulness and self-confidence were combined with a God-fearing humility; a great and good man who, in McCullough's opinion, was a great president. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC main selection; History Book Club and QPB alternatives; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5740 KB
  • Print Length: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (August 20, 2003)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0VVQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,978 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
231 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising for a biography, this was a page-turner. August 6, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
At first the size of this book can seem daunting. However, from the very first page I found it fascinating. For most of the 1,000 or so pages it read like a novel, a real page-turner. Because of the kind of time commitment necessary to read a book of this size, I read it in sections over a couple months, reading other things in between.

Having lived through most of the significant events discussed in the book, I found them presented with accuracy. Mr. McCullough showed all sides of every significant conflict.

The book gives a fascinating insight into the difficulties of public office and the setting of public policy. It also presents Harry S. Truman as a man of real integrity and one who will, in the long run, undoubtedly go down as one of our great presidents.

Throughout this book I was consistently impressed with Mr. Mccullough's writing style. Anyone who can keep the pages turning for 1,000 pages of biography is an extremely skilled writer!

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in 20th century American history, but also to anyone interested in just plain good writing!
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the BEST book I have ever read! December 26, 2000
Format:Paperback
I read this book two years ago during a Christmas vacation. At first, I was intimidated by the sheer size of the book. However, I found that once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! David McCullough is, perhaps, the best American historical biographer alive today. His writing is crisp, clean, and entertaining. I have to admit that before I started this book, I was pretty ignorant about who Harry S Truman was as a person, as well as the contributions that he made to the United States and to the world as President. I was absolutely STUNNED to learn how influential and accomplished Truman was during his presidency. Truman left a legacy of good works that still impact the world in which we live today. Like one earlier reviewer wrote, I too had always been looking for a hero, someone who came from humble beginnings and made a lasting impact on the world in which he lived. I found that hero in the pages of David McCullough's book. As I finished the last page of this book, I felt like both crying (because I was saying goodbye to a friend that I had grown to love), and cheering (because I had found my American Hero in Harry S Truman). This book should be a must-read for every American!
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138 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Coverage Of An Amazing Man's Life and Times! December 19, 2000
Format:Paperback
Into the press of circumstance and the irony of history strode the diminutive and bespectacled Harry S. Truman, who promptly grinned his way into becoming the single most surprising President of the 20th century. Written off as a party hack of the Missouri democratic machine until very late in his political career, Truman astounded everyone by picking up the shambles left in the wake of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's sudden death and turning in a deft and remarkable performance against the most formidable of odds. In this best-selling biography by noted author and historian David McCullough (The Path Between The Seas), one is treated to a massively informative and yet immensely readable treatment of Truman's life and times. The author uses a treasure-trove of newly available archives, personal interviews, and historical records to show how the unassuming man from Missouri who everyone under-appreciated became responsible for everything from the successful conclusion of WWII to the Marshall Plan to the formation of NATO to the Berlin Airlift rose to assume the Presidency in one of our nation's darkest moments.
From his first halting steps as a young man rising out of poverty and a farm family background to become a sudden war hero who led men bravely in combat, from his frequent missteps and failures as a post-war businessman to a first failed try for local political office, from his quick rise from county-level politics to become the darling and frequent benefactor of the quite colorful Pendergast political machine, this is the stuff of a momentous 20th century life, told as well as it can be by a master of historical biographies.
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86 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The biography of an authentic American June 1, 2001
Format:Hardcover
I am a great fan of biographies of great men. This is the first time I have ached to spend time in the company of the subject of a biography. There is something about Harry Truman --underestimated, shrewd, fallible, magnificent, decent and straight-taliking -- that comes across in this biography. I highly recommend this book.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb biography of a great President! February 29, 2000
Format:Hardcover
David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize winning biography "Truman" is undoubtedly the best Presidential biography I've read in recent years. Written in a graceful and powerfully eloquent style, it is meticulously researched, and accurately captures the essence of the man who was the 33rd President of the United States.
McCullough challenges a commonly held view of history that Harry S Truman was nothing more than a common man of mediocre abilities who became President almost by accident, and owed his political success to his loyalty to the Democratic party and the Kansas City political bosses. By tracing the life of this self-made man - a farmer, artillery captain during World War I, haberdasher, local politician, U.S. Senator, Vice President, and ultimately President of the United States - the author acquaints the reader with a highly intelligent, competent and complex man. Here is seen the highly principled politician whose ability to judge the character of others enabled him to select outstanding men like Dean Acheson and George Marshall to serve in his administration; a Chief Executive capable of making some of the most momentous decisions of the twentieth century, such as ordering the use of the atomic bomb against Japan in 1945, integrating the Armed Forces in 1948, and firing General Douglas MacArthur in 1951. But, here also is seen a man who remained loyal to personal friends and Democratic party bosses and tolerant of their often disreputable activities; and who, in a fit of petty anger, authored a threatening letter to a music critic who wrote unfavorably about his daughter.
"Truman" is above all a fair and balanced portrait of one of the most unique and greatest of American Presidents. In my view, this extraordinarily well written book is destined to be the biography of Harry S Truman against which all others will be measured. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Biography:
David McCullough is an incredible writer. Having read John Adams, I came I to his Truman bio with high expectations. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know if it's McCullough or Truman himself, ...
I don't know if it's McCullough or Truman himself, here, but I found this biography less-engaging and entertaining than his work on John Adams.
Published 1 day ago by sparrowhawkes
5.0 out of 5 stars A through biographe of a famous man
Thicker than a phone book. He was President when i was born and years on, yet my mother never mentioned him. Caught me up on a lot of interesting history. Read more
Published 3 days ago by William Henning
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Item as described. Thank you!
Published 4 days ago by Keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reads like a novel.
Published 5 days ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Six stars!
Wow. After reading 1776, I vowed to never read another McCullough book again. I'm glad I ignored myself. This is one of the best biographical works I have read. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Lance
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read if you have any interest in history particularly ...
Great read if you have any interest in history particularly the WW I and WW II era and the dawn of the nuclear age. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and entertaining
As usual, David McCullough tells the story of humble man and captivates the reader by bringing us into the world of HST. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Russ413
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets
As good as it gets! History in the making depicted in a personal and easy read way. Should be a must read for all students.
Published 9 days ago by Matthew and kathy Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
A superb book about an exceptional man of character whose decisions at the White House set the course of USA and the world for decades ahead.
Published 10 days ago by Marcio Silveira Barbosa
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More About the Author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback; His other widely praised books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Early Cold War Biography Suggestions
While not a biography, Garet Garrett's The People's Pottage (re-published as Ex-America) is crucial to understanding Truman and the "why" of the Cold War, particularly his final essay, "Rise of Empire." It is available here at Amazon.com or in a free on-line edition at Mises.org
Oct 20, 2008 by anarchteacher |  See all 4 posts
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