Truman (Paperback)

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Truman (Paperback)


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Staff Reviews

One may think this is a strange book to read right now.  But there is never a wrong time to read about American history, especially when in times of great change and crisis. 

Truman was thrown into the presidency without wanting it at all, during the worst war we have ever seen, and without any knowledge of the atomic bomb, Truman had to step out of the shadowed legacy of FDR and become his own man.  And, not without blunders, he did.  He was an honest, extremely hardworking man from Missouri, where the odds were always stacking against him.  Without waver he always stuck to the ideals of world peace in a realistic no nonsense fashion and living life with integrity.  He came alive when the going was absolutely the toughest.  I am not a fast reader and was intimated by the sheer size of the book — no need, its a page turner.  It’s not only a comprehensive look at one of our most remarkable presidents, but a jumping off point to explore endless facets of important US history which set the course for issues that still face us today.  It is also a fascinating look at our own state of Missouri, how and what type of people settled in the western part of the state, and is insightful about why we are the way we are today. One of the best books I’ve ever read, hands down.

— From Gena

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.
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 acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater JourneyThe American SpiritThe Wright Brothers, and The Pioneers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit
"Meticulously detailed, elegantly written, tightly constructed, rich in revealing anecdotes and penetrating insights. It is, as its subject demands, biography on the grand scale."
-- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"A warm, affectionate and thoroughly captivating biography....the most thorough account of Truman's life yet to appear. "
-- Alan Brinkley, The New York Times Book Review

"McCullough's marvelous feel for history is based on an appreciation of colorful tales and an insight into personalities. In this compelling saga of America's greatest common-man president, McCullough adds luster to an old-fashioned historical approach...the sweeping narrative, filled with telling details and an appreciation of the role individuals play in, shaping the world."
-- Walter Isaacson, Time

" may open it at any point and instantly become fascinated, so easy, lucid, and energetic is the narrative and so absorbing the sequence of events."
-- The Economist

"McCullough is a master storyteller whose considerable narrative skills have been put to exquisite use in re-creating the life and times of America's 33rd president."
-- Robert Dallek, Los Angeles Times Book Review