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Truman Paperback – June 14, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 14, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671869205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671869205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (813 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

David McCullough writes the best, most throughly researched books I have ever read.
Dale M. Litzenberger
GREAT BOOK ABOUT A GREAT MAN Harry Truman, a man almost everybody underestimated, in this book is shown to be one of America's best presidents.
T. Renken
Anyone who cares about American history or enjoys reading biographies will love this book.
joe@ctr.vt.edu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

216 of 223 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1997
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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83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Tidwell on 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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130 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on 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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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powers on 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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