Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.59 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America Hardcover – October 4, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"brilliantly portrays . . . Truman's successful efforts."
"coherent, compelling...A skillful, authoritative investigation'"
"If you think  is wild, this is really wild--Harry Truman and Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond and Tom Dewey."
[A] winning and provocative chronicle highly recommended.”--Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW]
"[A] colorful, character-driven narrative.... A lively look at the underside of a campaign."--Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
His book 1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies was named by ForeWord Magazine as among the best political biographies. Robert Caro has praised it as "terrific."
Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns. 1920 reached #1 best-selling rank in three amazon.com non-fiction categories.
Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award.
Pietrusza's Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, received the 1998 CASEY Award.
Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures.
He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN BookTV, C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel, EBRU-TV, and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes." He has served as a regular panelist on FoxNews.com Live.
Pietrusza holds a master's degrees in history from the University at Albany and has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York.
Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Pietrusza offers brief biographical sketches of both Truman and Dewey, as well as of minor-party candidates Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond. He also recalls the reluctance of Dwight Eisenhower to run and shows how figures such as Earl Warren, Alben Barkley, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and others factored into Election 1948.
The late Forties were a fascinating time in American history: the Cold War, civil rights, the creation of Israel, the Hiss Case, inflation, and the nascent medium of television were the talk of the country in 1948, and Pietrusza shows how these issues impacted the election.
The author's account of the Republican nomination process and of the splintering of Wallace and Thurmond from the Democratic Party is absorbing, he covers each of the parties' conventions, and his account of the general election campaign is also very good--Dewey began very sure he would win, so much so that he decided to run a bland, play-it-safe campaign (but he made one huge gaffe which really cost him).
GOP doubts began to creep in as Election Day approached, and their fears of a Truman win were realized the morning after the election. Pietrusza's recollections of how the candidates as well as other key figures and interested onlookers spent Election Day and Election Night will be greatly enjoyed by any fan of political history.
President Obama looks as though he plans to run a campaign that mirrors Truman's campaign against Congress, but history suggests that that does not work most of the time. Typically, the electorate fires presidents in presidential election years and fires Congress in midterm election years. Since the end of the nineteenth century, 1948 is anomalous in that it is the only occasion on which the voters kept the president and fired Congress in a presidential election year. Running against a "do-nothing, block-everything" Congress of the other party generally doesn't end well (see Bush, George H.W., 1992).
Pietrusza's latest book is outstanding and even somewhat thought-provoking--when looking back at a close election, one is always tempted to wonder what might (or might not) have happened had the loser won, much more so with the election of 1948, considering what happened in China and Korea from 1949 to 1953. "1948" is a no-brainer addition to any collection of political history.
Pietrusza provides several explanations for Truman's electorall success. Unlike Dewey who gave the same speech everywhere, Truman customized his delivery to local audiences. His campaign “secret” – government WPA guides created during the New Deal which provided a backgrounder to each community. He attacked the Republican Congress which had an even lower popularity than he did. A third surprising tactic, instead of playing to the Democratic strongholds of the ethnic immigrant and labor vote, Truman went after the rural and farm vote with a vengeance where Truman's home spun approach resonated far better than New York Thomas Dewey. The issues were entirely domestic – containing inflation, rent control (pro), regulation of commodity speculation, a minimum wage of 75¢/hour and civil rights.
Especially fascinating was Pietrusca's description of the splinter candidates, former VP Henry Wallace, a Progressive Democrat who siphoned off enough votes to cause Truman to lose New York and Pennsylvania to Dewey, and segregationist Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond who took a similar number of votes from the Democratic right, between them costing Truman 5% of the vote. Interestingly enough, Thurmond rejected support from the far right radio personality and founder of the “America First” party Gerald K. Smith.
As history records, the election was a squeaker that wasn't settled until the early hours of the morning. One is tempted to attribute Truman's victory to his tenacity but it could easily have gone the other way.
Pietrusza gives us an insider view into the election The Republicans lost because of their own ineptness and arrogance. Truman was an unpopular President living in the large shadow of FDR. Two factions of The New Deal Coalition bolted The Democrat Party. The left wing Progressive Party and the segregationist States Right Party ran against Truman and should of cost him the election.
Because of arrogance or suicidal tendencies, Dewey took the high road and never attacked Truman during the campaign. I guess we could say that "Dewey mailed it in"! Truman on the other hand, attacked Dewey and the "Do Nothing" Republicans with everything he had. He went barnstorming across the country with his famous whistle stop tours. Truman was able to cobble together enough of The New Deal Coalition(labor, minorities, Catholics and farmers) to win a narrow victory over Dewey.
Dewey was the Mitt Romney of 1948, he did not cause any excitement in The GOP rank & file. Lost in the dust of Truman's dramatic victory is the fact The Democrats regained control of The Congress lost to The GOP in 1946.
As you probably have surmised, I am no fan of Truman. But I have to give him credit for running a brilliant underdog campaign and letting The Democrats hold on to power for 4 years longer that they should of.