Thursday, October 28, 2010


I haven't posted any book reviews lately as I've been reading "Truman" by David McCullough for what seems like a year. I can't imagine ever reading a more complete record of Harry S. Truman's life. The nearly 1,000 page monster is one of the largest reading projects I've ever taken on in my adult life with the exception of perhaps "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. From Goodreads:

"This warm biography of Harry Truman is both an historical evaluation of his presidency and a paean to the man's rock-solid American values. Truman was a compromise candidate for vice president, almost an accidental president after Roosevelt's death 12 weeks into his fourth term. Truman's stunning come-from-behind victory in the 1948 election showed how his personal qualities of integrity and straightforwardness were appreciated by ordinary Americans, perhaps, as McCullough notes, because he was one himself. His presidency was dominated by enormously controversial issues: he dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, established anti-Communism as the bedrock of American foreign policy, and sent U.S. troops into the Korean War. In this winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize, McCullough argues that history has validated most of Truman's war-time and Cold War decisions."

As with most mildly educated people I knew many of the highlights of Truman's career in politics. What I really enjoyed about this book was the in depth detail McCullough took to present a full biography of Truman. Beginning with the roots of Truman's grandparents that migrated to Missouri from Kentucky in the 1840's and concluding with his death in Kansas City in 1972. The scope and detail of the biography is staggering but McCullough presents it in a very readable fashion. It's no wonder he won a Pulitzer Prize for this work, probably a great reward for the ten years it took him to write the book.

I can't recommend this biography enough. Again, the detail to who Harry S. Truman was and how he lived his life is enormous. Though he had his faults and loses along with his triumphs, this biography made me appreciate the great American and President that Harry S. Truman was. If only we had a man of his integrity and devotion to doing what is right regardless of public opinion today! The length and scope of the book can be daunting but it was well worth the couple of weeks it took me to read.

No comments: