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Citizen Soldier: A Life of Harry S. Truman
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Citizen Soldier: A Life of Harry S. Truman

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  15 reviews
When Harry S. Truman left the White House in 1953, his reputation was in ruins. Tarred by corruption scandals and his controversial decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan, he ended his second term with an abysmal approval rating, his presidency widely considered a failure. But this dim view of Truman ignores his crucial role in the 20th century and his enduring legacy, as...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Basic Books
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Monty
Very good concise biography of a man who is usually given less respect in the Presidential pantheon than many of our illustrious leaders. Harry Truman is presented as a no-nonsense, common sensical type of man who endured many family and career failures before entering the US Army in WWI. His early struggles on the family farm, early jobs in banking and haberdashery, helping to take care of his young siblings, all contributed to his poor self-esteem until he was given command of an artillery bat...more
Robert
Best read as an introductory biography of Harry Truman, one that is accessible and comprehensive, covering his entire life, it is written in a refreshing style, almost that of a friend speaking before friends.

The emphasis is on Truman's personality and his personal life rather than on the details of his political career or his administration. It is based primarily on his own words: his letters to Bess and others, his 'Memoirs', his official papers, and other writings, including the recently rel...more
Carol
I thought that Aida D. Donald wrote an excellent, short biography on Harry S. Truman. If I used a few words to describe this book it would be: "never-give-up" and "persevere." I have to say that Truman was a man that had great patience and when he wanted something, he did his best to make it happen. His mother was the one who made Truman to be the man his father wasn't. Initially I didn't care for Bess because her priorities were money and the importance of being popular. But after the horrible...more
Joan
I found myself disagreeing with many of the author's conclusions. For example after quoting Truman saying he had liked the little sob (Stalin) many years later when he realized how deceptive Stalin had been, she comments that it is hard to understand such contradictory statements. I see no contradiction and I don't think there is any great insight needed. Truman had enjoyed Stalin's company and found him pleasant to be with. I'm sure Stalin could be very likable when he felt he needed to be. Tha...more
Adam
There is so much to be said about the life of Harry S Truman; so much this book doesn't cover. It's fair to say upfront that this isn't a good book and I wouldn't recommend it. The detail is lacking, the writing is bland and sometimes erratic.

This isn't a book for research or one that delivers rich historic detail, but instead it reads like a lecture outline. It's a short 239 pages, written in a very informal and often lazy prose, with random quotes and broad, unsubstantiated generalisations abo...more
Sue
A pretty basic but not overly in depth bio. It is the type of book that makes for a good intro to Harry but beware the sloppiness. The author repeats a lot of bits and I found a couple of mistakes.
Trey
Donald wrote a solid biography. Her insight was woven through a clear and concise narrative of Truman's life that pointed out both his strengths and flaws. She did a wonderful job of placing his most difficult decisions in context and left me with the view that Truman was a great accidental president and a good flawed man.
Chris
this is a really accessible book about Harry Truman. I'd recommend it for someone who wants to read about Truman for a warm up to a bigger biography or for someone that wants a short read on him.
As some have mentioned, it's not meant to be a scholarly biography with length or footnotes, and the author spoke her mind about her view of politics and history. I thought the poke at Eleanor Roosevelt about halfway through the book stood out as being a bit harsh (especially about the cooking) but I thi...more
Cortney
My 5th grader had to do a biography report and he chose Truman. The library did not have any chapter books 100+ pages for his level, so we chose this book for him. I figured I'd read it as well to help w/ the report if he needed it. I don't usually read non-fiction books like this and I didn't know a whole lot about Truman but I really enjoyed learning about the person and president he was. I enjoyed the history involved. I thought it read easily and was a good, basic, informational piece that c...more
Russ Haeber
He doesn't know sh*t from apple butter..
Deigh
This book triggered me to do more reading on Truman perhaps by someone not so linked into current political bias. She would make statements and then contradict them 3 lines later. There was some interesting insights in Truman's formative time in the Army in WWI. I have always admired his honesty and straightforward way of behaving. Wish he was around today.
Helen
Although this was a short book, I think the author adequately detailed the major parts of Truman's life. Her thoughts regarding Trumans use of the atomic bomb is especially interesting.
Stefan Fergus
Middling. Some parts were very good, some parts weren't. I'll write up a full review over the next week or so and put it up on Politics Reader.
Faisal Hamid
This biography is drenched in bias. Donald cherry-picks facts in her attempt at hero-worship.
Jen
Good intro to Truman.
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