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Truman [Download] ✤ Truman Author David McCullough – 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 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 historianThe 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 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 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.

10 thoughts on “Truman

  1. AJ Griffin AJ Griffin says:

    For some reason or another I had to read this book in 3 days It was like a full time job considering it's about 3284293842034820384238 pages long I did it though and for about two months or so I was a motherfucking Harry Truman expert Then I forgot almost everythingAnyway if you want seem like a history encyclopedia for a little while take a three day weekend and rip this bad boy open Maybe you'll get laidone word of caution reading this gave me the temerity to say mcarthur was a giant pussy in history class at which point i found out that the substitute that day had served under mcarthur apparently that's a sensitive subject be careful

  2. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Sometimes I even laughed Cheers for the late bloomers in life A man after my own heartHarry's cousin said Harry was 'always' a late bloomer He did everything a little later than his contemporaries He didn't marry until he was 35so why would it be crazy to him to first arrive in Washington in his early 50's? Harry is a fine man intelligent able and has integrity He doesn't know much about foreign affairs but he's learning fast Franklin D RooseveltThis book gets the reader involved I listened to hours and hours of the audiobook I'm still not done with the audiobook Eventually I checked out the e book from the library to speed things along The e book and audiobook that I have are not synced together which is not a bad thing I have reread and re listened to different parts a few times and I haven't cared one bitbeing in one part in the book behind in the audiobook Some parts are so personal showing us how much Truman loved his mother respected his father his love for his wife Bess and daughter Margaret He was a very hard worker loved books music theater and uiet time at home He read the Bible and was a Baptist Truman loved 'cake' and hated 'guns' There was so much 'warmth' for this manHis military experience knowing how much he hated guns was gut wrenching to readTruman spent 10 years working on a farm never got a formal College education but nobody self taught himself other parts give us a greater appreciation and understanding for a critical time in history when Truman was President There is so much to pull out of this book from his early life through the rise of the future President he would become to the history of the Cold War scandals challenges mistakes an understanding of the dispute between Truman and Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War Lots of major decisions that he had to make he had to make decisions with Churchill and Stalin shortly after Roosevelt died He had to decide to use the atomic bomb on Japangiving us the history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki We learn about how Truman helped with general Marshall to develop the Marshall plan to revive Europeand we got a look at the overall Republican and Democratic party machines and how they work There were many times when they were situations when it was easy to see that many of the problems were a source of egos Politicians all wanting to be leaders and be right I enjoy the subtleties of the inside thoughts of Truman For example before he was president Vice President with FDR as PresidentTruman wrote letters home to Bess his wife saying He so damn afraid that he won't have all the power and glory that he won't let his friends help as it should be done Truman was a man spoke his mind had integritya straight shooter Truman had been raised I'm straight answers by people who nearly always meant what they said Roosevelt wasn't that way Truman never publicly expressed how he felt but his biggest objection to President Franklin D Roosevelt was that he lied Do we need to wonder what he would think of Trump?It's impossible to read about past Presidents and not think about our own I've watched TV episodes of Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland I remember the first episode was a shock when Sutherland suddenly became President of the United States zero notice What was it like for Truman to wake up one morning no advance notice and because of the sudden death of Franklin D Roosevelt just like that Truman was President? Oh my the gossip and the newsI think would've driven me crazy Good God Truman will be President it was being said everywhere If Harry Truman can be president so could my next door neighbor Others knew Truman They knew what kind of man he was They knew how entirely honest he was He of course has the limitations upon his judgment and wisdom that the limitations of his experience produce but I think he will learn fast and will inspire confidence It seems to me that it is a blessing that he is President and not Henry Wallace David McCullough is a master at storytelling about our Past Presidents And Truman was a distinctive good man

  3. Diane Diane says:

    I was shocked that a presidential biography could be so good Many readers had praised the Truman book but I thought they were exaggerating I was happy to be proven wrongI think there are several reasons why Truman was so compelling First and most importantly was the man himself So epic was his odyssey that Truman seemed like a character in a novel Harry S Truman was born in a small town in Missouri and he grew up on a farm He was bookish played the piano and wore glasses which prevented him from playing sports He enlisted in the National Guard and fought during World War I Then he returned home to run a clothing store and was asked to run for county judge Later he became a US Senator and then he was picked to be Franklin Roosevelt's vice president in 1944 He became president when FDR died in April 1945Epic and astounding yes? Truman comes across as a decent hardworking loyal honest and down to earth guy It's hard not to root for him he was so genuine Another reason the book was so good was the brilliance of the writing McCullough is a skilled historian and he wove a beautiful narrative Truman was a prolific writer of letters and many details and uotes in the book came from those epistles I loved the stories of Truman's courtship of his wife Bess of his dream to be a concert pianist of his battle experiences during the Great War of his senator campaign of his unlikely path to become vice president of his whistle stop tour Marvelous just marvelous stories Finally there is the knowledge that Truman was such a key figure in American and world history He had to take command at the close of World War II he chose to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki he decided to send American troops to Korea and he ushered in a new kind of foreign policy for the United States Each of those events was incredibly significant and had lasting conseuencesOne aspect that I found especially interesting was how Truman handled the atomic bombs After he became president he was briefed on the Manhattan Project which had started way back in 1939 and was told the nuclear weapon would be ready within a few months I had assumed there would have been some serious debate over whether to use such a bomb but it sounded like the project was so far advanced that Truman didn't consider turning back The goal of dropping it was to shock the Japanese into surrendering and uickly ending the war but it was still jarring and disturbing to hear about the casualties inflicted Having read John Hersey's book Hiroshima I was picturing the devastation on the ground and I had to pause in silence for several minutesSpeaking of controversial decisions apparently some historians have criticized McCullough for not being tough enough on Truman It was clear that the author held the former president in high esteem but as a reader McCullough's narrative made it a enjoyable book If I wanted to read a harsh polemic on Truman's wartime and foreign policies I wouldn't have chosen an 1100 page biography That's what newspaper columnists are for I listened to Truman on audio that was narrated by McCullough and he had a fantastic reading voice The recording included various sound bites from Truman's speeches which were wonderful to hear I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves history

  4. Michael Michael says:

    Excellent read for lining up all the threads of a great leader's life in a narrative that flows like the story from a novel Even at 1000 pages so much history passed through Truman's hands that major events such as the decision to bomb Hiroshima and the Korean War have to slip by with only a few pages What comes through as a thread in the whole tapestry is the fundamental decency of the man a pragmatism typical of farmers who face diverse challenges day by day and a core belief in fairness for all and a distaste for wealthy privilege His empathy for the poor was based on his own experience of the farming life and early business failures His racist language is downplayed in relation to his efforts as president to support a Jewish State and steps toward civil rights His political origins through the Pendergast machine in Kansas City taught him how to use and live with a patronage system but it also seems to have given him enough knowledge of corruption and monied power to make his name exposing corruption as a senator and to be vigilant about influence buying while a president Got to appreciate a fellow who hated Hoover and McCarthy from the get go He saw enough war as an artillery captain in World War 1 to hate war but was effective enough at it to inform his role as Commander in Chief during both the end of World War 2 and the Korean War Despite a conception of Truman as hot tempered his restraint was often remarkable For example the impulse to fire McArthur immediately for pushing in the media for a war with China was tempered by waiting for assessment of his value from a military perspective by the Joint Chiefs

  5. Max Max says:

    McCullough’s engaging portrayal of Harry Truman depicts a man of integrity a trait rare in politicians As president his simple straightforward approach often led to extreme unpopularity His inexperience and initial indecisiveness took its toll But Harry Truman’s best uality as Clark Clifford noted “was Harry Truman’s capacity to grow” Thrust into a job for which he was ill prepared Truman overcame his shortcomings working through an onslaught of difficult problems to provide genuine leadership and unlike other presidents maintain his principles while doing it Even though unappreciated at the time Truman proved to be a remarkable president McCullough covers every aspect of Truman’s life but here I focus on his presidency and what I found most interesting Truman’s ability to adapt while keeping his values Truman’s character was shaped by hard work and hardship early in life The same is true of LBJ Both had fathers who failed financially making both highly motivated to succeed Yet Truman developed morals while LBJ became Machiavellian a difference which epitomized both their careers Truman was the compromise choice for FDR’s VP in 1944 acceptable to North and South selected primarily on lack of political vulnerabilities rather than consideration of his ability to be president This is somewhat surprising since FDR’s ill health was well known and Henry Wallace was dumped due to pressure from those who could not picture the extreme liberal Wallace as president FDR let others pick his running mate in one of his typical political dances even though FDR knew his own health was failing Even disturbing FDR did nothing to prepare Truman to assume the presidency only meeting with him twice and never discussing anything of substanceWhen Truman did take over he was immediately faced with tough foreign policy issues in which he had absolutely no experience; How to end the war and deal with a postwar world with a communist Russia as a major power His first test was meeting with Churchill and Stalin at the Potsdam conference as the war was winding down Here McCullough whose affection for Truman shows throughout the book cuts Truman some slack He cites how well Truman prepared for his meeting with Churchill and Stalin Truman prepared by reading background material and consulting with his Washington staff and his new Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes a former fellow Senator and ill considered selection also with limited experience Truman spent little time with his ambassador to Moscow Averill Harriman assisted by Kennan who knew Stalin and Russian politics well He also disregarded Churchill’s warnings about Stalin Thus Truman approached Stalin idealistically thinking as Roosevelt did before him that he could deal with Stalin as a person of good faith Harriman and his staff knew otherwise Truman was completely fooled by Stalin He thought well of Stalin and thought Stalin liked him Stalin later told Khrushchev he thought Truman was “worthless” Roosevelt and Truman were very different but both greatly overestimated their personal capacity to influence Stalin Truman as he later admitted was naïve Preparation and organization were not hallmarks of Truman’s early presidency Truman reacted to problems as they came rather than rigorously organizing an agenda His hurriedly crafted a wide ranging liberal program announced upon his return from Potsdam that was not properly vetted or politically evaluated His lofty propositions were rejected out of hand Truman was over his head He neither selected a competent staff he could work with nor did he master the art of delegation In foreign affairs he did not establish long term objectives around which to form a coherent policy His indecisiveness encouraged the Soviet Union to do as it pleased and lost the respect of the American public Stalin declared publically in February 1946 that Soviet and Western values were incompatible and another war inevitable Truman reacted by speaking out of both sides of his mouth Proponents of a hard line Soviet policy such as Admiral Leahy Forrestal and Dean Acheson were sure the president agreed with them Advocates of an accommodative policy such as Henry Wallace and Jimmy Byrnes were sure the President agreed with them More telling was his euivocation over Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri March 5 1946 Truman invited Churchill to give the speech and traveled with him to Westminster introduced him and supported Churchill’s hard line position in prior private conversation Then Truman backtracked publically and completely once wide spread media criticism of Churchill’s speech appeared He even invited Stalin who he still said he liked to America to give his own speech which Stalin declined Just think what would have ensued if Stalin had acceptedThe public perception of the president as weak and befuddled weighed in domestic matters as well In trying to resolve the 1946 railroad strike one of many after the war the president worked out a reasonable compromise Truman’s top assistant John Steelman telling labor leaders they had to agree to a fair offer from the President of the United States was told by them that nobody listened to this President Ineffective in negotiations Truman decided to draft the strikers into the army Told he was exceeding his constitutional limits Truman responded that he wasn’t interested in philosophy Think of a president saying that today While the Senate voted down his proposed law his speech to Congress was forceful and popular with the public But this was followed by embarrassing disarray as Henry Wallace Truman’s Secretary of Commerce spoke out in direct contradiction of Truman’s Soviet policy After waffling and again looking weak Truman finally fired Wallace but the perception of his presidency was again one of incompetence By the fall of 1946 his approval rating was 32% A year earlier it had been 82%Truman’s fortunes ticked up in 1947 with the appointment of George Marshall as Secretary of State Marshall was everything Truman hadn’t been organized a great delegator a good judge of men Marshall was also a team player something the man he replaced Jimmy Byrnes was not Marshall was respected and his choice reflected well on Truman He was someone who Truman could work with and who would help him Having also made Clark Clifford White House Counsel in 1946 with State Department Undersecretary Dean Acheson playing a prominent role the ascendance of George Kennan’s influence Averill Harriman Charles Bohlen and George Elsey staying on Truman was finally assembling a talented team March 1947 marked a turning point when The Truman Doctrine advocating containment of Soviet expansion was presented to Congress and aid for Greece and Turkey reuested The Truman Doctrine was based partly on George Kennan’s famous “Long Telegram” and the internal Clifford Elsey Report Finally a coherent policy of how to deal with the Soviet Union was being promulgated This was followed by formulation of the Marshall Plan which recognized America’s interest in Europe’s economic success The National Security Act followed in July establishing the CIA the National Security Council and the unification of the services under the Secretary of Defense Truman was leading with huge masterful strokes choreographed by his recently formed and exceedingly loyal staffJust as he grew in his ability to craft foreign policy so he grew in terms of Civil Rights Coming in with a Southern heritage in office he realized his country needed to change He was the first president to address the NAACP He put forward Civil Rights legislation to abolish the poll tax outlaw lynching and support eual rights when such a stand in 1948 was unpopular with most voters Later he issued an executive order to end discrimination in the armed forces and the civil serviceHe handled the issue of the partition of Palestine and recognition of Israel reasonably well given a heatedly divided staff Truman hesitated; looking wobbly again but in the end came through His Secretary of State the extremely popular General Marshall was adamantly opposed but with deference and patience Truman was able to get him to acuiesce and the US became the first nation to recognize Israel This was also politically expedient Truman’s response to the Soviet blockade of Berlin was smart and effective The blockade could have easily led to capitulation or conversely war Truman threaded the needle with his long term airlift which his advisors told him wouldn’t workTruman’s 1948 campaign is the signature event in his career his fortitude overcoming all odds his persistence proving the naysayers wrong It is unusual in national politics to see one person so right in his course so confident in his decisions when virtually every pundit every poll was against him Dewey helped overconfident and not personable running a lackluster campaign Truman knew how to take advantage and he did it by standing for the things he really believed in His authenticity connected with the American peopleTruman’s second term brought no respite Only restraint and persistence saw him through Russia acuiring the atomic bomb the decision to develop the H bomb the Klaus Fuchs atomic secrets spy scandal Joe McCarthy’s lists of “communist infiltrators” North Korea’s invasion of South Korea and last but far from least Douglas MacArthur’s public defiance As Truman related in retrospect he was probably too patient with MacArthur He and the country would have been better off if he had fired MacArthur months earlier Truman deserves kudos for leadership Firing MacArthur was extremely unpopular and Truman accepted the heat He wasn’t devious no FDR shell games He fired MacArthur straight out knowing the firestorm of protest that awaited him Truman left office unloved and unwanted 22% approval Nixon had 24% when he left office by a public lost in McCarthyism and the tail fins growing on their cars Only time would reveal his true legacy Cast in a role he never envisioned he got off to a shaky start but in the end he held his own in the most demanding times in the most demanding job in the world even if the public did not appreciate it And he did it the right way without resorting to deceit backhand deals and uid pro uos He guided America through many complex and dangerous challenges We in America were very fortunate to have him as our president Truman was a great leader and McCullough’s book is a great testament to his accomplishments

  6. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    ETA I adored this book when I read it but now my perspectives are a bit changed I am currently reading American Prometheus by Kai Bird It is essential to get another view on Truman's actions and choices concerning atomic weapons the arms race and the Cold War To get a fuller understanding of the time and era I strongly recommend reading American Prometheus tooI listened to the audiobook format of this book that means than 54 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it Little content could have been removed The narration by Nelson Runger was wonderful I have complained about his slurping before but the producers have removed the slurps His steady clear pace perfectly matches the informative text His intonation for Truman was perfect both the strength of his speeches in the presidency and his reflections to the point remarks and sarcastic jokes of the elderly man Our voice does change with age and Runger has mastered this Some voices were however in my opinion too low and ponderous At the end and this is a book that covers all aspects of Truman’s life from birth to death ie 1884 1972 there were tears in my eyes This is a book about a man dedicated to fighting for his beliefs but he was a politician at heart Keep in mind that I tend to instinctively distrust politicians It is rather remarkable that I so loved this book I will try to never again shy away from a book about politicianswell at least such books written by John McCulloughWhy did I love this book? You learn about American life and values as they were when America was still a land of pioneers to what it had become by the middle of the 20th Century What the political parties stood for has changed dramatically with time On completion of this book you have a thorough understanding of the American party system You travel from an agrarian Midwest value mindset through WW1 the Depression the New Deal WW2 the emergence of atomic weapons the birth of the UN and NATO the Berlin blockade and successful airlift the Cold War and McCarthyism the focus on civil rights the Korean War all the way up to Kennedy’s presidency You follow this time period through the life of a man living through its events and a man who as president shaped many of these events McCullough gives you a thorough understanding of all these events and a thorough understanding of the man Truman It is an honest book that never shies away from the mistakes made I wasn’t thrilled with Truman’s friendship and dependence upon Pendergast I felt that Truman’s relationship with his wife was at first not adeuately clarified By the end I understood Truman all of him I believe I comprehend both his familial relationships and the value he put on friendships which explain his relationship with Pendergast You see both the good and the bad I very much admire the strength and forthrightness of Truman who was at heart a marvelous politician Yes definitely a politician who fought for his party and made mistakes but dam he tried his best Always He never shirked his responsibilities He never ran away from a problem but faced them head on He was not infallible I still don’t understand why they never had childrenI was born in 1951 I understand now what my parents lived through and why they were who they were I understand now what lead up to the world I was born into I totally loved this book

  7. Manray9 Manray9 says:

    Few presidents have made as many pivotal decisions or faced the number of history changing events as Harry Truman the final five months of World War II the Potsdam conference the birth of atomic warfare the post war nationwide rail strike the Marshall Plan the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel the Czechoslovak coup d'etat the Berlin Airlift war in Korea and the relief of Douglas MacArthur the formation of NATO the reorganization of the US defense establishment and the wartime government seizure of the steel industry Truman faced these issues with determination honesty directness and complete faith in his administration and the fundamental common sense of the American people McCullough summed up Truman's story on the last pageHe was the kind of president the founding fathers had in mind for the country He came directly from the people He was America In his time in his experience from small town to farm to World War in far off France in 1918; from financial failure after the war to the world of big city machine politics to the revolutionary years of the New Deal in Washington to the surge of American power during still another terrible World War he had taken part in the great chronicle of American life as might have a character in a novel There was something almost allegorical about it all The Man of Independence and His OdysseyIf Truman's life was an American Odyssey then McCullough was his Homer He combined broad research and interviews with an engaging prose style to create a comprehensive detailed and easily readable look at the life of the 33rd President of the United States At 992 pages of text the Simon Schuster 1st edition it never dragged or seemed padded McCullough's Truman clearly demonstrates his standing alongside Jean Edward Smith as one of the two leading biographers of illustrious figures in American history Harry Truman deserved a biographer of David McCullough's skill and stature Truman is certainly Five Star material in my library

  8. Christine Christine says:

    David McCullough is a master plain and simple Who else could make a 992 page paperback biography compulsively readable? I knew essentially nothing about Harry Truman before reading this biography and now I think he might be my favorite president Truly a man of the people who never let the highest office in the country go to his head Truman made difficult decisions that would have crippled other men within the first four months of his presidency While not all of his policies were popular during his time most have been shown to be the right course of action in hindsight His decision to use the atomic bomb to end World War II lay heavily on conscience and because of that he was reluctant to ever use it again Because of this even with public outcry growing he refused to use the atomic bomb or the newly developed H bomb in Korea Truman was a man of his principles who put the good of the nation and the people who lived in it before the good of his own public image I think all of our modern leaders could learn some valuable lessons about public service by following the example of Harrison S Truman

  9. Lynne King Lynne King says:

    I see that Steve has recently given a marvellous in depth review of this splendid biography on Harry S Truman’s life that I purchased way back on 30 October 1992 I always date my books for reference and so I won't even attempt to write a review such as his but then I probably wouldn't have been capable of doing that anyway This after all is American historyI had forgotten that I had this book but I had been browsing through another goodreads' author’s books I always do this if they like the same book that I do and I just like to check on what sort of books they are reading and saw the picture of Truman on the cover of one of them Due to that I came across Steve’s reviewIt's a large book of 996 pages excluding the source notes index and bibliography and it took me a while to read but it was absolutely riveting The only thing that I didn't like and I never have is the use of an atomic bomb at Hiroshima and the disastrous conseuences Such a waste of human life but then to put it tritely that’s war I guess I am an individual who detests any form of violence I live in dread of another world war andor suffering to human beings and animals I cannot even intentionally kill an ant and if there is a downpour and all the worms are hurrying across the roads I will pick them up and put them uite a way from the edge of the road up so that cars will not run over themPart Three To the Best of my Ability from page 345 gives all the background to this horrific act Can one blame Roosevelt for setting this idea in motion in retaliation for what happened at Okinawa prior to his death on April 12 1945? Also why did Truman delay on the date? Did he subconsciously feel guilty? One will never know I guess“The battle of Okinawa still raged In the end than 12000 Americans would be killed 36000 wounded Japanese losses were ten times worse – 110000 Japanese killed – and as later studies show civilian deaths innocent people on the island may have been as high as 150000 or a third of the populationWas this a game of tit for tat? Could a country decide to do that now in 2013? Would they in fact even dare with the conseuences? Look at North Korea recently That’s a disturbing fact“Big bomb dropped on Hiroshima August 5 at 715 pm Washington time First reports indicate complete success which was even conspicuous than earlier test” The second sentence sounds so callousThe dreadful deed had been done Was the fear that the Russians getting in first the main worry that had brought this about?Apart from that fact time permitting I will reread this brilliantly written book and I highly recommend it

  10. Lisa Greer Lisa Greer says:

    Oh yes I am ambitious This book must be 1000 pages It's huge and interesting so far And it won a Pulitzer I'm reading it because McCullough's bio of John Adams made me bawl like a baby when I got near the end I mean how can one not cry upon reading about Adams and Jefferson BOTH living until and dying on July 4th the same July 4th out of sheer will? I wish Americans and people in general knew these stories and of these people rather than just knowing a lot of fiction And I do love fiction too but the stories of real lives matter most I think They are the ones that can truly inspire and make me feel that I am human or not alone in my foibles and weaknessesAnyway I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read six bios per year This will be my second ; I feel like I'm learning so much about whole time periods not just about individual figures And it's the little details about a person's life and times that are so interesting I find Right now I'm in the beginning where McCullough discusses Truman's roots in Missouri As I've read on I have learned so much about why the south and Missouri and other border states as they were called in the Civil War hold the viewpoints they do even to this day It literally goes back 200 years

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