Mark Mortensen's Reviews > The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World

The Accidental President by A.J. Baime
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it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, presidential

Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd U.S. President on April 12, 1945 following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first 1/3 of the book provides a background while the final 2/3 captures Truman’s first four months in office most notably as Commander-in-Chief during the final stages of World War II. When Truman took office the stage was already set for rapid historical events to unfold, but certain decisions still had to be made. The fall of Germany, the Postsdam Conference and the climactic mission of Enola Gay dropping Little Boy serve as a backdrop to Truman’s daily inner thoughts. Author A. J. Baime shows the strengths and weaknesses within the president who shunned the limelight.

On a side note, in 2011 actor/screenwriter Ed Nelson and his lovely wife visited our home a few times. As a voting member of the Academy Awards he had visions for my WWI biography to be on the “Big Screen” and he would do the screenwriting. Ed was most famous for playing Dr. Michael Rossi on the TV series Peyton Place however for a few years in the mid-70’s he filled in for James Whitmore playing President Truman on stage, on the National Tour of "Give 'Em Hell, Harry". During his first visit Ed stood in our living room and performed a few segments as Truman!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
November 28, 2017 – Shelved
November 28, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
November 28, 2017 – Shelved as: biography
November 28, 2017 – Shelved as: presidential

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson Looks like a winner!!


Mark Mortensen Yes, a lot of history in 4 months! There are some traits within Truman that I appreciate but others that I do not. The author noted in his epilogue that during Truman’s first 4 months his approval ratings were high as America ended WWII. Although he was reelected in 1948 his popularity dwindled throughout his later years in office.
I find it hard to fathom that Truman wished to abolish the Marine Corps and have it melded into the army. Thankfully USMC Commandant General Vandegrift successfully stood his ground during his “Bended Knee” Congressional testimonial on May 6, 1946, giving reason as to why the Marine Corps founded on November 10, 1775 should continue to exist within the National Security Act of 1947. My only reasoning is that during the First World War Truman was an army artillery captain. Likely his resentment stemmed from the American service rivalry in WWI.


message 3: by Jerome (new) - added it

Jerome I recall that Truman thought the Corps' role was redundant, at best: "The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's."


message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson I hadn't heard that Truman quote. All I can say to that is "Semper Fi".


message 5: by Gerry (new)

Gerry A good insightful and personal review Mark.


Mark Mortensen Jerome wrote: "I recall that Truman thought the Corps' role was redundant, at best: "The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda m..."

That's correct Jerome. A great book to counter Truman's thoughts is "Once a Marine: The Memoirs of General A. A. Vandegrift Commandant of the U. S. Marines in WWII".

Once a Marine The Memoirs of General A. A. Vandegrift Commandant of the U.S. Marines in WW II by A.A. Vandegrift


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