Harry S. Truman: A Life

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In this major new biography, Robert H. Ferrell, widely regarded as an authority on the thirty-third president, challenges the popular characterization of Truman as a man who rarely sought the offices he received, revealing instead a man who - with modesty, commitment to service, and basic honesty - moved with method and system toward the presidency. Ferrell's exhaustive research offers new perspectives on many key episodes in Truman's career, including his first Senate term and the circumstances surrounding the ...
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Harry S. Truman: A Life

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Overview

In this major new biography, Robert H. Ferrell, widely regarded as an authority on the thirty-third president, challenges the popular characterization of Truman as a man who rarely sought the offices he received, revealing instead a man who - with modesty, commitment to service, and basic honesty - moved with method and system toward the presidency. Ferrell's exhaustive research offers new perspectives on many key episodes in Truman's career, including his first Senate term and the circumstances surrounding the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. In addition, Ferrell taps many little-known sources to relate the intriguing story of the machinations by which Truman gained the vice presidential nomination in 1944.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ferrell, author or editor of eight previous books on Truman (Choosing Truman: The Democratic Convention of 1944) here presents a prodigiously researched and engrossing study of the 33rd president. Born and raised in Missouri, Truman (1884-1972) began his political career as a county judge backed by Kansas City's powerful Pendergast machine, which also supported his successful race for the U.S. Senate in 1934. A compromise candidate for vice president in November 1944, Truman became president five months later when Franklin Roosevelt died. Clearly an admirer, Ferrell presents his subject as an honest man of the people as well as a shrewd politician-not someone who just happened to be on the scene but a man who actively sought the presidency. He defends Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the quickest way to end WWII and details Truman's upset election victory of 1948 and his subsequent presidency, when the U.S. became involved in the Korean War. His description of Truman as a devoted husband and father agrees with earlier accounts. (Nov.)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This is Harry Truman's kind of book, and his qualities expand in its gaze. He might not have entirely liked the treatment he receives. Nevertheless, he would have read this book, one guesses, from cover to cover, as should anyone interested in American history.
Booknews
Ferrell (history, Indiana U.) challenges the popular characterization of the 33rd president as a man who rarely sought offices he received, revealing instead a man who moved with method and system toward the presidency. Ferrell offers new perspectives on many key episodes in Truman's career, including his first Senate term and the circumstances surrounding the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan. Includes numerous b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics

"In Harry S. Truman: A Life, Ferrell, the author of eight previous books on Truman, provides a definitive biography of the thirty-third president. The author highlights the origins, the youth, and the steady political climb of his subject. What eventually emerges is a respectful, unabridged account of the fascinating life of a shrewd, ambitious, and committed politico."--Booklist

"No other historian has ever demonstrated such command over the vast amounts of material that Robert Ferrell brings to bear on the unforgettable story of Truman's life. Based upon years of research in the Truman Library and the study of many never- before-used primary sources, Harry S. Truman is destined to become the authoritative account of the nation's favorite president."--American Political Biography

"Clearly an admirer, Ferrell presents his subject as an honest man of the people as well as a shrewd politician--not someone who just happened to be on the scene but a man who actively sought the presidency."--Publishers Weekly

"This is Harry Truman's kind of book, and his qualities expand in its gaze. He might not have entirely liked the treatment he receives. Nevertheless, he would have read this book, one guesses, from cover to cover, as should anyone interested in American history."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Ferrell's book is the masterful culmination of lengthy research on the 33rd president, the capstone achievement of America's foremost Truman scholar. Ferrell's treatment is more critical of Truman and more analytical than that of David McCullough's Truman. Ferrell finds Truman engaging, complex, a man of extraordinary talents."--Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945707400
  • Publisher: American Political Biography Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2007
  • Series: Signature Series
  • Pages: 501

Meet the Author

Robert H. Ferrell is the author or editor of more than two dozen books on U.S. presidents.  Ferrell is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Indiana University.

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