Citizen Soldier: A Life of Harry S. Truman

Aida D. Donald. Basic, $25.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-465-03120-7
Boosting a revamped political profile of President Harry S. Truman, Donald suggests that this son of Missouri farmers, at the peak of his powers during post-WWII America, was one of the most effective chief executives in the modern era. Taking a psychological approach, Donald stresses Truman’s experiences as an officer in WWI in shaping the self-described “sissy” into a man ready for any challenge, who though tarnished by an early affiliation with the corrupt Pendergast machine in Kansas City, rose through the political ranks to the presidency. Donald moves capably beneath Truman’s public persona to uncover the plainspeaking, resolute inner man as he picks up the pieces of the stalled New Deal, ends WWII with two A-bombs, faces down Stalin at Potsdam, and fires the great Gen. Douglas MacArthur in a much publicized dustup. But Truman’s administration limped to its conclusion. The president was fighting a war on two fronts: in Korea, and at home: several corruption scandals dropped his approval rating from 82% in 1945 to a low of 23% during the Korean conflict. With her research and historical expertise, Donald, former editor-in-chief of Harvard University Press, has succeeded in making Truman much more than a silent commander of a failed watch, into a fully formed man of sizable defects and masterful achievements. Agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 361 pages - 978-1-4104-5527-7
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