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Harry Truman
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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953). As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice-president and the 34th Vice President of the United States, he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his fourth term.

During World War I Truman served as an artillery officer, making him the only president to have seen combat in World War I (his successor Eisenhower spent the war training tank crews in Pennsylvania).

After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county commissioner in Missouri and eventually a United States senator. After he gained national prominence as head of the wartime Truman Committee, Truman replaced vice president Henry A. Wallace as Roosevelt's running mate in 1944.

Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The disorderly postwar reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft–Hartley Act over his veto.

He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, helped by his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program.

He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to create loyalty checks which dismissed thousands of communist supporters from office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism.

Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Korean War.

Corruption in Truman's administration reached the cabinet and senior White House staff. Republicans made corruption a central issue in the 1952 campaign.

Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen."

He overcame the low expectations of many political observers who compared him unfavorably with his highly regarded predecessor.

At different points in his presidency, Truman earned both the lowest public approval ratings that had ever been recorded, and the highest approval ratings to be recorded until 1991.

Despite negative public opinion during his term in office, popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs. Truman's legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates.

Most American historians consider Truman one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Source - Wikipedia

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod

message 3: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig A newer book on the 1948 election:

Truman's Whistle-Stop Campaign (Library of Presidential Rhetoric) by Steven R. Goldzwig by Steven R. Goldzwig

Faced with the likely loss of the 1948 presidential elections, Harry S. Truman decided to do what he did best: talk straight. When Truman boarded the train to head west in June 1948, he and his campaign advisors decided to shift from prepared text to extemporaneous stump speeches. The "new Truman" emerged as a feisty, engaged speaker, brimming with ideas on policies and programs important to the common citizen.

Steven R. Goldzwig engagingly chronicles the origins of Truman's "give `em hell" image and the honing of his rhetorical delivery during his ostensibly nonpolitical train trip west, which came to be known as his "whistle-stop tour." At the time, Truman was both applauded and derided by the public, but his speeches delivered at each stop helped win him the presidency. Goldzwig's detailed look at the background of the campaign, Truman's preparations and goals, the train trip itself, and the text and tone of the speeches helps us better understand how Truman carried the 1948 election and came to represent the plainspoken "man of the people" who returns from behind to win, against all odds.

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you so much for the add Bryan.

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message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Truman Doctrine - Part I:

Europe is in shambles and Harry Truman fights the communist infiltration of Greece and Turkey.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Truman Doctrine - Part II:

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Harry S Truman delivering his speech to Congress on the Truman Doctrine:

The Truman Doctrine

delivered 12 March 1947 before a Joint Session of Congress

Source: American Rhetoric

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 29, 2011 10:13PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan (from its enactment, officially the European Recovery Program [ERP]) was the primary plan of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger foundation for the allied countries of Europe, and repelling communism after World War II. The initiative was named for United States Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. The reconstruction plan was developed at a meeting of the participating European states on July 12, 1947. The Marshall Plan offered the same aid to the Soviet Union and its allies, if they would make political reforms and accept certain outside controls. However the Soviet Union rejected this proposal with Vyacheslav Molotov describing the plan as dollar imperialism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in July 1947. During that period some $13 billion of economic and technical assistance was given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. By the time the plan had come to completion, the economy of every participant state, with the exception of Germany, had grown well past pre-war levels. Over the next two decades, many regions of Western Europe would enjoy unprecedented growth and prosperity. The Marshall Plan has also long been seen as one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased tariff trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level. An intended consequence was the systematic adoption of American managerial techniques. Wikipedia article: Global Marshall Plan Initiative:

Excellent Video follows:

Source: Google

message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks for the posts, Bentley.

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
You are welcome.

message 13: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Here are two books on Dean Acheson, Truman's Secretary of State.

Acheson by James Chace James Chace

Amazon review:
World Policy Journal editor James Chace has produced a balanced, intricate portrait of Secretary of State Dean Acheson, one of the chief architects of America's foreign policy in the mid-20th century. Starting with Acheson's childhood as a preacher's son in Connecticut, Chace traces his subject's rise through Yale and Harvard Law School (where he shared a house with several classmates, including a pre-Broadway Cole Porter), a two-year stint as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis's law clerk, and key roles in the Departments of Treasury and State under FDR.

But it was Harry Truman who, upon being reelected in 1948, rewarded Acheson with the offer of secretary of state, a position he took with some initial reluctance, protesting that he was not adequate to the requirements of the job at such a critical juncture in history. He proved himself wrong with his decisive role in the shaping of the Truman Doctrine and the NATO alliance, averting war with the Soviet bloc on the European front. But, as Chace shows, Acheson's efforts were not as effective in China and Korea. And there were domestic problems as well; Acheson and his department were a particular target of the anticommunist witch-hunt even before Sen. Joseph McCarthy got in on the act. Chace's richly detailed narrative is particularly effective in placing Acheson's marginal role in the Alger Hiss affair in its proper context while highlighting Acheson's personal integrity in the matter.

After 1953, Acheson remained an outspoken commentator on America's foreign policy, frequently criticizing Eisenhower's reliance on nuclear weaponry, and serving in an advisory capacity to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, the latter of whom took Acheson's advice to get out of Vietnam to heart. Acheson even had occasion to advise Richard Nixon, who had accused the secretary in 1952 of heading a "Cowardly College of Communist Containment," although he broke with Nixon after the president ordered the bombing of Cambodia. Chace's account of Acheson's life and career is as lively as it is intelligent, a well-crafted story that provides the reader with much insight into the unintended origins of the cold war. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Dean Acheson A Life in the Cold War by Robert L. Beisner Robert L. Beisner

Beisner's diplomatic history of Dean Acheson, President Harry Truman's secretary of state, is comprehensive yet not solely of scholarly interest. It sifts Acheson's record at the State Department and yields a positive assessment with a few caveats. Beisner questions Acheson's decisions during the Korean War, particularly in encouraging Truman to approve the military advance to the China-Korea border that ended in disaster. Explaining that Acheson was an Atlanticist who knew little about Asia, Beisner writes more approvingly about his role in establishing institutions such as NATO. His diplomatic strategies in reviving a prostrate Western Europe against an obstreperous Soviet Union form the bulk of the narrative. Aristocratic in appearance and accent, Acheson did not suffer fools gladly, whether Communists or congressmen. In addition to detailing his pungency, Beisner also discusses Acheson's attitude toward power and his loyalty to Truman. Significant cold-war historiography that merits the consideration of larger libraries. Gilbert Taylor

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Bryan Craig Two Americans Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World by William Lee Miller William Lee Miller William Lee Miller

Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, consecutive presidents of the United States, were midwesterners alike in many ways—except that they also sharply differed. Born within six years of each other (Truman in 1884, Eisenhower in 1890), they came from small towns in the Missouri–Mississippi River Valley—in the midst of cows and wheat, pigs and corn, and grain elevators. Both were grandsons of farmers and sons of forceful mothers, and of fathers who knew failure; both were lower middle class, received public school educations, and were brought up in low-church Protestant denominations.
William Lee Miller interweaves Truman’s and Eisenhower’s life stories, which then also becomes the story of their nation as it rose to great power. They had contrasting experiences in the Great War—Truman, the haberdasher to be, led men in battle; Eisenhower, the supreme commander to be did not. Between the wars, Truman was the quintessential politician, and Eisenhower the thoroughgoing anti-politician. Truman knew both the successes and woes of the public life, while Eisenhower was sequestered in the peacetime army. Then in the wartime 1940s, these two men were abruptly lifted above dozens of others to become leaders of the great national efforts.
Miller describes the hostile maneuvering and bickering at the moment in 1952–1953 when power was to be handed from one to the other and somebody had to decide which hat to wear and who greeted whom. As president, each coped with McCarthyism, the tormenting problems of race, and the great issues of the emerging Cold War. They brought the United States into a new pattern of world responsibility while being the first Americans to hold in their hands the awesome power of weapons capable of destroying civilization.
Reading their story is a reminder of the modern American story, of ordinary men dealing with extraordinary power.

message 15: by G (new)

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments I am new to this group and may have missed this somewhere, but Is there a definitive biography of Truman you would recommend?

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
G this thread has quite a few books which have been recommended.

message 17: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig G wrote: "I am new to this group and may have missed this somewhere, but Is there a definitive biography of Truman you would recommend?"

You came to the right thread. On the right hand-side of the screen you will see Books Mentioned in this Topic. Feel free to browse.

There are two strong, one-volume biographies I would recommend:

Truman by David McCullough David McCullough David McCullough

Man of the People A Life of Harry S. Truman by Alonzo L. Hamby Alonzo L. Hamby

Let us know what you choose and how you liked it.

message 18: by G (new)

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments Thank you!

message 19: by G (new)

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments I bought the Hamby book. I have so much to read, it will probably have to wait a few months. Goodreads has basically made cleaning the house impossible. I'll let you know about the book. Thanks!

message 20: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) G wrote: "I bought the Hamby book. I have so much to read, it will probably have to wait a few months. Goodreads has basically made cleaning the house impossible. I'll let you know about the book. Thanks!"

G you made me laugh. Yeah, we all get to reading and there goes the housework. Trust me, you are not alone on that score.

Don't forget the book and author link. Even though it was mentioned in a previous post, in a thread like this that is not devoted to one book the citation is still necessary.

Man of the People A Life of Harry S. Truman by Alonzo L. Hamby by Alonzo L. Hamby

and my advice to you is just ignore the dust bunnies. they may not be attractive but they are harmless. :-)

message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Here is Truman during his service in WWI

message 22: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Truman in WWI

Truman enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in 1905, and served until 1911. At his physical in 1905, his eyesight had been an unacceptable 20/50 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left. Reportedly, he passed by secretly memorizing the eye chart.

With the onset of American participation in World War I, Truman rejoined the Guard. Before going to France, he was sent to Camp Doniphan, near Lawton, Oklahoma for training. He ran the camp canteen with Edward Jacobson, a Kansas City clothing store clerk. At Fort Sill he also met Lieutenant James M. Pendergast, nephew of Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Pendergast, a Kansas City politician. Both men were to have a profound influence on Truman's later life.

Truman became an officer, and then battery commander in an artillery regiment in France. His unit was Battery D, 129th Field Artillery, 60th Brigade, 35th Infantry Division, known for its discipline problems. During a sudden attack by the Germans in the Vosges Mountains, the battery started to disperse; Truman ordered them back into position using profanities that he had "learned while working on the Santa Fe railroad." Shocked by the outburst, his men reassembled and followed him to safety. Under Captain Truman's command in France, the battery did not lose a single man. His battery also provided support for George S. Patton's tank brigade during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.[26] On November 11, 1918 his artillery unit fired some of the last shots of World War I into German positions after the armistice was signed at 5 am but before the ceasefire took effect at 11 am. In a letter he wrote, "It is a shame we can't go in and devastate Germany and cut off a few of the Dutch kids' hands and feet and scalp a few of their old men". The war was a transformative experience that brought out Truman's leadership qualities; he later rose to the rank of Colonel in the Army Reserves, and his war record made possible his later political career in Missouri.

message 23: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Jill the picture you posted is fascinating. My image of a WWI doughboy.

message 24: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) He was a tough little bugger......and looks it in that photo.

message 25: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig With his infamous glasses; he was nearly blind without them!

message 26: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan

Prompt and Utter Destruction Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan by J. Samuel Walker J. Samuel Walker


In this concise account of why America used atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, J. Samuel Walker analyzes the reasons behind President Truman's most controversial decision. He delineates what was known and not known by American leaders at the time and evaluates the role of U.S.-Soviet relations and American domestic politics. In this new edition, Walker takes into account recent scholarship on the topic, including new information on the Japanese decision to surrender. He has revised the book to place more emphasis on the effect of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in convincing the emperor and his advisers to quit the war. Rising above an often polemical debate, Walker presents an accessible synthesis of previous work and an important, original contribution to our understanding of the events that ushered in the atomic age.

message 27: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan

The Most Controversial Decision Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan by Wilson D. Miscamble Wilson D. Miscamble


This book explores the American use of atomic bombs, and the role these weapons played in the defeat of the Japanese Empire in World War II. It focuses on President Harry S. Truman's decision making regarding this most controversial of all his decisions. The book relies on notable archival research, and the best and most recent scholarship on the subject to fashion an incisive overview that is fair and forceful in its judgments. This study addresses a subject that has been much debated among historians, and it confronts head-on the highly disputed claim that the Truman administration practiced "atomic diplomacy." The book goes beyond its central historical analysis to ask whether it was morally right for the United States to use these terrible weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also provides a balanced evaluation of the relationship between atomic weapons and the origins of the Cold War.

message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you for the add Bryan.

message 29: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom Bryan wrote: "With his infamous glasses; he was nearly blind without them!"

Hmm, above, he's listed as 20/40 and 20/50 in different eyes. That's not "nearly blind". I had been under the impression his eyesight was worse than this.

message 30: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Peter wrote: "Hmm, above, he's listed as 20/40 and 20/50 in different eyes. That's not "nearly blind". I had been under the impression..."

I guess for the army, it was, lol. I had the impression it was worse, as well. Maybe his eyes got worse as he got older.

message 31: by Bryan (new)

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

Citizen Soldier A Life of Harry S. Truman by Aida Donald Aida Donald


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 celebrated historian Aida D. Donald explains in this incisive biography of the 33rd president.

In Citizen Soldier, Donald shows that, for all his failings, Truman deserves recognition as the principal architect of the American postwar world. The son of poor Missouri farmers, Truman overcame professional disaster and personal disillusionment to become something of a hero in the Missouri National Guard during World War I. His early years in politics were tainted by the corruption of his fellow Missouri Democrats, but Truman’s hard work and scrupulous honesty eventually landed him a U.S. Senate seat and then the Vice-Presidency. When Franklin Roosevelt passed away in April 1945, Truman unexpectedly found himself at the helm of the American war effort—and in command of the atomic bomb, the most lethal weapon humanity had ever seen. Truman’s decisive leadership during the remainder of World War II and the period that followed reshaped American politics, economics, and foreign relations; in the process, says Donald, Truman delineated the complex international order that would dominate global politics for the next four decades. Yet his accomplishments, such as the liberal reforms of the Fair Deal, have long been overshadowed by a second term marred by scandal.

Until we reevaluate Truman and his presidency, Donald argues, we cannot fully understand the world he helped create. A psychologically penetrating portrait, Citizen Soldier candidly weighs Truman’s moments of astonishing greatness against his profound shortcomings, offering a balanced treatment of one of America’s most consequential—and misunderstood—presidents.

message 32: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military

The Double V How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military by Rawn James Jr. by Rawn James Jr. Rawn James Jr.

Executive Order 9981, issued by President Harry Truman on July 26, 1948, desegregated all branches of the United States military by decree. EO 9981 is often portrayed as a heroic and unexpected move by Truman. But in reality, Truman's history-making order was the culmination of more than 150 years of legal, political, and moral struggle.

Beginning with the Revolutionary War, African Americans had used military service to do their patriotic duty and to advance the cause of civil rights. The fight for a desegregated military was truly a long war-decades of protest and labor highlighted by bravery on the fields of France, in the skies over Germany, and in the face of deep-seated racism on the military bases at home. Today, the military is one of the most truly diverse institutions in America.

In The Double V, Rawn James, Jr.the son and grandson of African American veterans expertly narrates the remarkable history of how the strugge for equality in the military helped give rise to their fight for equality in civilian society. Taking the reader from Crispus Attucks to President Barack Obama, The Double V illuminates the African American military tradition as a metaphor for their unique and dynamic role in American history.

message 33: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks Alisa.

message 34: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown I've always enjoyed reading about the Korean War and the relationship between Truman and MacArthur. As somebody once said, battlefields and politics should never mix...

message 35: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Indeed and Korea was a big mess.

message 36: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown Probably old news to most people on this site but this book:

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 byWilliam Raymond Manchester

especially the later chapters, gives good insight into the battle of wills between Truman and MacArthur.

message 37: by Bryan (last edited Feb 12, 2013 08:53AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks, R.M.F. Don't forget to add a book cover and author photo.

American Caesar Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Raymond Manchester William Raymond Manchester William Raymond Manchester

I this one was mentioned, too, but I have not read it:

Truman & MacArthur Policy, Politics, and the Hunger for Honor and Renown by Michael D. Pearlman Michael D. Pearlman

message 38: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig A Companion to Harry S. Truman

A Companion to Harry S. Truman by Daniel S. Margolies Daniel S. Margolies


Acceding to the US presidency on the death of the much-loved Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman faced a huge array of intractable problems as World War II was reaching its destructive denouement. Truman quickly became a key architect of the post-war era, laying the foundations for America’s attempt at global hegemony during the formative period of the Cold War.

This companion offers a wide-ranging presentation of the many different interpretations of the Truman presidency and its significance in American and world history. Authored by a selection of the most accomplished scholars in the field, the essays focus on essential historiographic themes and questions. The content maintains a disciplined emphasis on Truman as a person and politician, on his administration, and on the long term impact of his policies during his administration. Eschewing any one methodology or approach, it explores the varying views of Truman as a historical figure of great complexity, changeability, and continuing fascination.

message 39: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Congress and Harry S. Truman

(no image)Congress and Harry S. Truman: A Conflicted Legacy by Donald A. Ritchie


This collection of essays examines President Truman's somewhat contentious relationships with Congress. Authors evaluate Truman's successes and defeats and measure him against later presidents of the United States. While the Truman era has been perceived as a stalemate between the executive and legislative branches, and while Congress failed to enact many of Truman's major domestic proposals, he still scored some notable legislative achievements in foreign and military policy. Truman tapped into experiences from his ten years in the Senate to forge relationships with members of Congress at a difficult time. A Democratic President facing a Republican Congress and a divided Democratic Party, Truman stands as a model for other presidents during periods of divided government.

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The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism

The First Cold Warrior Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism by Elizabeth Edwards Spalding by Elizabeth Edwards Spalding


From the first days of his unexpected presidency in April 1945 through the landmark NSC 68 of 1950, Harry Truman was central to the formation of America's grand strategy during the Cold War and the subsequent remaking of U.S. foreign policy. Others are frequently associated with the terminology of and responses to the perceived global Communist threat after the Second World War: Walter Lippmann popularized the term "cold war," and George F. Kennan first used the word "containment" in a strategic sense. Although Kennan, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall have been seen as the most influential architects of American Cold War foreign policy, The First Cold Warrior draws on archives and other primary sources to demonstrate that Harry Truman was the key decision maker in the critical period between 1945 and 1950.

In a significant reassessment of the thirty-third president and his political beliefs, Elizabeth Edwards Spalding contends that it was Truman himself who defined and articulated the theoretical underpinnings of containment. His practical leadership style was characterized by policies and institutions such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Berlin airlift, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council. Part of Truman's unique approach -- shaped by his religious faith and dedication to anti-communism -- was to emphasize the importance of free peoples, democratic institutions, and sovereign nations. With these values, he fashioned a new liberal internationalism, distinct from both Woodrow Wilson's progressive internationalism and Franklin D. Roosevelt's liberal pragmatism, which still shapes our politics. Truman deserves greater credit for understanding the challenges of his time and for being America's first cold warrior. This reconsideration of Truman's overlooked statesmanship provides a model for interpreting the international crises facing the United States in this new era of ideological conflict.

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A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954

A Cross of Iron Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945 1954 by Michael J. Hogan by Michael J. Hogan Michael J. Hogan


A Cross of Iron provides the fullest account yet of the national security state that emerged in the first decade of the Cold War. Michael J. Hogan traces the process of state-making through struggles to unify the armed forces, harness science to military purposes, mobilize military manpower, control the defense budget, and distribute the cost of defense across the economy. President Harry S. Truman and his successor were in the middle of a fundamental contest over the nation's political identity and postwar purpose, and their efforts determined the size and shape of the national security state that finally emerged.

message 42: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks Jerome.

message 43: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Thanks, Mike. I really enjoyed Algeo's book, as well. You don't see an ex-president going on a cross-country drive today.

I will have to read the second one, it looks good.

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo by Matthew Algeo (no photo)

FDR's Funeral Train A Betrayed Widow, a Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance by Robert Klara by Robert Klara (no photo)

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Bryan Craig Bess Truman: C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image:

message 45: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4366 comments Mod
An upcoming release:
Release date: February 4, 2014

Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict

Genesis Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict by John B. Judis by John B. Judis (no photo)


A probing look at one of the most incendiary subjects of our time—the relationship between the United States and Israel

There has been more than half a century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world. In Genesis, John B. Judis argues that, while Israelis and Palestinians must shoulder much of the blame, the United States has been the principal power outside the region since the end of World War II and as such must account for its repeated failed efforts to resolve this enduring strife.

The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis shows, can be traced back to the Truman years. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century. As a result, understanding that period holds the key to explaining almost everything that follows—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace through holding elections among the Palestinians, and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both parties to the negotiating table. A provocative narrative history animated by a strong analytical and moral perspective, and peopled by colorful and outsized personalities, Genesis offers a fresh look at these critical postwar years, arguing that if we can understand how this stalemate originated, we will be better positioned to help end it.

message 46: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4366 comments Mod
Another book on the same subject:

A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel

A Safe Haven Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Ronald Radosh by Ronald Radosh (no photo)


On May 14, 1948, under the stewardship of President Harry S. Truman, the United States became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel—just moments after sovereignty had been declared in Jerusalem. But it was hardly a foregone conclusion that America would welcome the creation of this new country. While acknowledging this as one of his proudest moments, Truman also admitted that no issue was "more controversial or more complex than the problem of Israel." As the president told his closest advisers, these attempts to resolve the issue of a Jewish homeland had left him in a condition of "political battle fatigue."

Based on never-before-used archival material, A Safe Haven is the most complete account to date of the events that led to this historic occasion. Allis and Ronald Radosh explore the national and global pressures bearing on Truman and the people—including the worldwide Jewish community, key White House advisers, the State Department, the British, the Arabs, and the representatives of the new United Nations—whose influence, on both sides, led to his decision.

Impeccably researched, brilliantly told, A Safe Haven is a suspenseful, moment-by-moment re-creation of this crossroads in U.S.-Israeli relations and Middle Eastern politics.

message 47: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence

The Hidden White House Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence by Robert Klara by Robert Klara (no photo)


Critically acclaimed author Robert Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration’s controversial rebuilding of the White House.

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War.

Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America’s most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today’s White House. Leaving only the mansion’s facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter,

The story of Truman’s rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country’s national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.

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Bryan Craig Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman--from World War to Cold War

Six Months in 1945 FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman--from World War to Cold War by Michael Dobbs by Michael Dobbs Michael Dobbs


A riveting account of the pivotal six-month period spanning the end of World War II, the dawn of the nuclear age, and the beginning of the Cold War.

When Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met in Yalta in February 1945, Hitler’s armies were on the run and victory was imminent. The Big Three wanted to draft a blueprint for a lasting peace—but instead set the stage for a forty-four-year division of Europe into Soviet and western spheres of influence. After fighting side by side for nearly four years, their political alliance was rapidly fracturing. By the time the leaders met again in Potsdam in July 1945, Russians and Americans were squabbling over the future of Germany and Churchill was warning about an “iron curtain” being drawn down over the Continent.

These six months witnessed some of the most dramatic moments of the twentieth century: the cataclysmic battle for Berlin, the death of Franklin Roosevelt, the discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, Churchill’s electoral defeat, and the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan. While their armies linked up in the heart of Europe, the political leaders maneuvered for leverage: Stalin using his nation’s wartime sacrifices to claim spoils, Churchill doing his best to halt Britain’s waning influence, FDR trying to charm Stalin, Truman determined to stand up to an increasingly assertive Soviet superpower.

Six Months in 1945 brilliantly captures this momentous historical turning point, chronicling the geopolitical twists behind the descent of the iron curtain, while illuminating the aims and personalities of larger-than-life political giants. It is a vividly rendered story of individual and national interests in fierce competition at a seminal moment in history.

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1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America

1948 Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America by David Pietrusza by David Pietrusza (no photo)


Everyone knows the iconic news photo of jubilant underdog Harry Truman brandishing a copy of the Chicago Tribune proclaiming “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” David Pietrusza goes backstage to explain how it happened, placing the brutal political battle in the context of an erupting Cold War and America's exploding storms over civil rights and domestic communism.

Pietrusza achieves for 1948's presidential race what he previously did in his acclaimed 1960--LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: bringing history to life and intrigue readers with tales of high drama while simultaneously presenting the issues, personalities, and controversies of this pivotal era with laser-like clarity.

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American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--and the Shoot-out that Stopped It

American Gunfight The Plot to Kill Harry Truman--and the Shoot-out that Stopped It by Stephen Hunter by Stephen Hunter Stephen Hunter


American Gunfight is the fast-paced, definitive, and breathtakingly suspenseful account of an extraordinary historical event -- the attempted assassination of President Harry Truman in 1950 by two Puerto Rican Nationalists and the bloody shoot-out in the streets of Washington, D.C., that saved the president's life.Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Hunter, the widely admired and bestselling novelist and author of such books as "Havana, Hot Springs," and "Dirty White Boys," and John Bainbridge, Jr., an experienced journalist and lawyer, "American Gunfight" is at once a groundbreaking work of meticulous historical research and the vivid and dramatically told story of an act of terrorism that almost succeeded. They have pieced together, at last, the story of the conspiracy that nearly doomed the president and how a few good men -- ordinary guys who were willing to risk their lives in the line of duty -- stopped it.

It is a book about courage -- on both sides -- and about what politics and devotion to a cause can lead men to do, and about what actually happens, second by second, when a gunfight explodes.

It begins on November 1, 1950, an unseasonably hot afternoon in the sleepy capital. At 2:00 P.M. in his temporary residence at Blair House, the president of the United States takes a nap. At 2:20 P.M., two men approach Blair House from different directions. Oscar Collazo, a respected metal polisher and family man, and Griselio Torresola, an unemployed salesman, don't look dangerous, not in their new suits and hats, not in their calm, purposeful demeanor, not in their slow, unexcited approach. What the three White House policemen and one Secret Service agent cannot guess isthat under each man's coat is a 9mm German automatic pistol and in each head, a dream of assassin's glory.

At point-blank range, Collazo and then Torresola draw and fire and move toward the president of the United States.

Hunter and Bainbridge tell the story of that November day with narrative power and careful attention to detail. They are the first to report on the inner workings of this conspiracy; they examine the forces that led the perpetrators to conceive the plot. The authors also tell the story of the men themselves, from their youth and the worlds in which they grew up to the women they loved and who loved them to the moment the gunfire erupted. Their telling commemorates heroism -- the quiet commitment to duty that in some moments of crisis sees some people through an ordeal, even at the expense of their lives.

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