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Where the Buck Stops: The Personal and Private Writings of Harry S. Truman Paperback – October 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446391751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446391757
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The book is set up in bite-sized chapters, almost like lectures.
JOHN GODFREY
It was really amazing to me that an essentially "self-taught" man was so brilliant with such a deep understanding of a vast array of issues.
M. E. Nunn
I think high school students should be made to read this book, so that American History would come to life for them.
lanoitan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recommend three books for those who want to read about Truman: "Plain Speaking" by Merle Miller, "Truman" by David McCullough, and this book by Harry S Truman himself. This book should be read as often as the Bible and Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations." It's a political book (an apology) as well as a memoirs intended to offer advice to present and future politicians. "What It Takes to Be a Good President: 1) Making Up Your Mind, 2) Sticking To It, 3) Listening and Persuading, and 4) Accepting the Past and Having Enough Time." This method could also be very useful in trying to accomplish anything in life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By lanoitan on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I feel lucky when I find a book I really enjoy and this one I really enjoyed. He called Daniel Webster a "gasbag". He said Teddy Roosevelt did a lot of talking but very little in the way of acting to solve problems. Truman loved Andrew Jackson and after reading his description of Jackson I also feel that he was one of the best presidents and one of the most interesting characters. This was a really enjoyable way of learning the history of this country and seeing these guys the way they really were and not the mythic characters I used to think from taking American History in high school. I think high school students should be made to read this book, so that American History would come to life for them. I never thought anything of James Polk before reading what Harry wrote about him. And Calvin Coolidge sleeping (I mean zzzzzzz) his way through the Presidency! I liked the way Harry didn't blame Hoover for the depression. Harry was the little kid describing the Emperor's new clothes!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely essential for the student of Harry S. Truman in particular, as well as for the student of History in general. Truman goes through all the important historical phases of our country and makes the information really breathe. In this age of political sophistry, it's very refreshing to hear a politician just being himself. It's interesting that Truman was vilified in his day. Perhaps he told it too much like it was for ears of that time. Nonetheless, this is a book that can be read again and again. This and Merle Miller's wonderful book, Plain Speaking -- An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, should be in every Truman admirer's library.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jay Grossman on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a child and young adult, I was taught to have great respect for Mr. Truman. Among the things he was praised for was his plain-speaking manner and the fact that he told it as it was, with no sugar coating. I never really understood what that meant until I read this book. The Harry Truman that comes across here is a person you could easily image as your next-door neighbor. He always gives it to you in a no-nonsense, down-to-earth way that anybody can understand the first time.
That having been said I just want to voice two criticisms. First, I think Mr. Truman's understanding of history might be a little too "black and white". For example, he states that after WWI, the allied powers didn't really go to hard on Germany in terms of making the Germans pay reparations. I think just the opposite is true. The allied powers at Versailles imposed very hard terms on the Germans. Mr. Truman was correct in stating that the allies never entered German soil, however, the severity of the peace terms combined with the fact that the Germans never saw an enemy soldier sowed the seeds for Hitler's preaching that the Germans were stabbed in the back. I'm just saying that perhaps Mr. Truman's historical understanding was not as sophisticated as me might think.
Second, it seems that Mr. Truman's dislike of Mr. Eisenhower finds it's way onto virtually every page of the book. No matter who or what he's talking about, he seems to find a way to turn the subject into a criticism of Ike. I guess he really didn't like him too much.
All that having been said, I think this is great book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Nunn on October 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book does something very rare--it actually reveals the plain-spoken nature of Harry S. Truman while still demonstrating the depth and breadth of Truman's knowledge of history, politics, economics, and foreign affairs. It was really amazing to me that an essentially "self-taught" man was so brilliant with such a deep understanding of a vast array of issues. Unlike our current president, Harry S. Truman understood the complexities of international relations and implications of taking unilateral approaches in our foreign policy.
Truman also recognized that military action was something to be used as a LAST resort, especially when the rest of the world is against such an action. Although Truman had an appreciation for some military experience in public servants, he also recognized the danger of career military men in those positions. Unlike politicians of today, Truman was bold enough to make the unpopular decision to fire General McArthur because our foreign policy should not be predicated on our ability to anhilate every other country on the face of the earth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
He was a good man, honest, loyal & expected loyalty in return. He also held grudges. He had an impressive grasp of history & of course he helped write it. His daughter, Margaret, edited this book, primarily for length, not for content. It was not to be published until after his death. She honored that request & we are rewarded by rare candor from a president. This book is in essence a history of the U.S. via the presidents good & bad & the constitution.
Unexpectedly, he has special venom for his immediately successor, Dwight Eisenhower. He devotes an entire chapter, I Don't Like Ike. You realize soon that this is a partisan book. The facts of history don't always match with Harry's opinions. His problem with Ike was mostly personal. In fact the transition from his to Ike's administration was pretty seamless, especially in foreign policy. He admired Ike & was very pleased when the general decided not to run for president in 1948. That was Harry's turn to win it on his own. He felt betrayed however, when Ike decided to run in 1952. Harry wasn't even running. He campaigned hard for Adlai Stevenson, who lost badly. Ike was much like Truman. His completion of the interstate highway system, over Republican opposition was classic Truman. He thought Ike lazy, dis interested & past his prime. Probably right. He contradicts himself when it suits him. He has a belief that generals make bad presidents. Zachary Taylor, U.S. Grant & Eisenhower are his examples. Yet the two presidents he admires most, George Washington & Andrew Jackson were generals. Harry claims they were not professional soldiers. I think Washington would be insulted. Jackson preferred to be addressed as "General" the rest of his life. He of course derides George III & that is expected.
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