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Truman by David McCullough - The Last Great American PDF

Truman by David McCullough - The Last Great American PDF

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Published by: nedi904 on Sep 12, 2011
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Truman by David McCullough

One Of Mcculloughs Best

This warm biography of Harry Truman is both an historical evaluation of his presidency and a paean to the mans rock-solid American values. Truman was a compromise candidate for vice president, almost an accidental president after Roosevelts death 12 weeks into his fourth term. Trumans 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 Trumans war-time and Cold War decisions. As one has come to expect from a book by David McCullough, this book is thoroughly researched and beautifully written. If you like history/biograp hy you will love this book. I found it well worth the time I spent reading the almost 1000 pages of text. I have read most of David McCulloughs books and in my opinion this is one of his best. I think its the best of all that I have read, but I still have a few to go before I finish them all. I liked it more than John Adams but this is largely because I found Truman to be a much more likable subject. This biography covers the whole of Trumans life, not just his presidency. It actually begins with his grandparents and the area of Missouri in which he was born and raised. It covers his childhood, his service in WWI, his business years after the war, his early political years as a member of the Predergast political machine, his presidential years and th e 20 years that he spent after his presidency. Truman is shown to be a man of great character, straight forward, loyal and dedicated to his friends and to the US, over any political advantage that he might gain by being otherwise. He was guided by the si mple principle of trying to do what he believed was right and then letting the chips fall as they might. He was largely

underrated, but those who knew him, or even interacted with him briefly, came to see that he was not the simple man in a job that was o ver his head. Rather, he had the moral courage and the determination to lead and to make tough decisions (almost always ones that history has shown to be the correct) and not be swayed by negative public opinion. McCullough makes a strong case for him being one of the most important presidents that the US has ever had, a view shared by most current historians. He was forced to make decisions that set the course for the rest of the 20th century. McCullough clearly loves Truman and you may too when you finish this book. While almost uniformly laudatory of Truman, McCullough does cover the events that are less than complementary. For instance, his tendency to write scathing letters when he was angry (which fortunately for Trumans legacy were almost always just put into his desk draw instead of being sent) and, more importantly, his nationalization of the steel industry, which was deemed unconstitutional. Also, in private Truman used language, which today is considered racist. However, in spite of his southern upbringing, his innate sense of justice and fair play led him to desegregate the US armed forces by executive decree and to put forward civil rights legislation that almost cost him the 1948 election. His civil rights and health care legislation did not pass until many years after his term in office. Nonetheless, was willing to pave the way in spite of the considerable political cost to his presidency.

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