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.
- Pulitzer Prize
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Truman: Makes me wish I could still be a Democrat
Posted August 01, 2012 by Wayne , Odessa, TXWhy I had never read "Truman" is beyond me. Maybe it was the length or the often slow beginning to the book. However, after, staying with the book it turns magical. Suddenly, we have a man who goes from losing a haberdashery after the war to one of the most fitting men to ever serve as President of the United States. His character, flaws and all, make us fill as we have all been so often told "anyone can become president." His methodical record keeping and writings give us such an insight into the American story and psyche of 1940-1970. Thank you David McCullough for spending 10 years to get it right! You have portrayed this man and his family as I truly believe they were. What a great read! Truman was the poster child for what a Democrat should be; I could vote Democrat again if we had such another person again.
2 . Absolutely Wonderful!!!
Posted October 14, 2010 by CJ Corbin , PortlandI think this is by far David McCullough's best! I would have loved to meet Harry S. Truman. McCullough has written a very involved, very detailed accounting of HST's life. The ideals and the manner in which HST lived his life should be an inspiration to all -- especially current day politicians. Great Read!
Simon & Schuster
May 31, 1993
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Excerpt from Truman by David McCullough
Chapter 1 Blue River Country
As an agricultural region, Missouri is not surpassed by any state in the Union. It is indeed the farmer's kingdom....
The History of Jackson County, Missouri, 1881
In the spring of 1841, when John Tyler was President, a Kentucky farmer named Solomon Young and his red-haired wife, Harriet Louisa Young, packed their belongings and with two small children started for the Far West. They had decided to stake their future on new land in the unseen, unfamiliar reaches of westernmost Missouri, which was then the "extreme frontier" of the United States.
They were part of a large migration out of Kentucky that had begun nearly twenty years before, inspired by accounts of a "New Eden" in farthest Missouri -- by reports sent back by Daniel Morgan Boone, the son of Daniel Boone and by the fact that in 1821 Missouri had come into the Union as a slave state. The earliest settlers included families named Boggs, Dailey, and Adair, McCoy, McClelland, Chiles, Pitcher, and Gregg, and by 1827 they had founded a courthouse town called Independence, pleasantly situated on high ground in Jackson County, in what was often spoken of as the Blue River country. Those who came afterward, at the time of Solomon and Harriet Louisa Young, were named Hickman, Holmes, and Ford, Davenport, McPherson, Mann, Noland, and Nolan, Freeman, Truman, Peacock, Shank, Wallace, and Whitset, and they numbered in the hundreds.
Nearly all were farmers, plain-mannered and plain-spoken, people with little formal education. Many of them were unlettered, even illiterate. They were not, however, poor or downtrodden, as sometimes pictured -- only by the material standards of later times could they be considered wanting -- and though none were wealthy, some, like red-haired Harriet Louisa, came from families of substantial means. She had said goodbye to a spacious Greek Revival house with wallpaper and milled woodwork, the Kentucky home of her elder brother and guardian, William Gregg, who owned numerous slaves and landholdings running to many hundreds of acres.