Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman / Edition 1

Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman / Edition 1

by Alonzo L. Hamby
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195045467

ISBN-13: 9780195045468

Pub. Date: 10/26/1995

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Harry S. Truman is remembered today as an icon—the plain-speaking president, "Give 'em Hell Harry," the chief executive who put "The Buck Stops Here" on his desk. But Alonzo L. Hamby shows that there was more to Truman than the pugnacious fighter so prominent in popular memory. Insecure, ambitious, a man of honor, a partisan loyalist, an

Overview

Harry S. Truman is remembered today as an icon—the plain-speaking president, "Give 'em Hell Harry," the chief executive who put "The Buck Stops Here" on his desk. But Alonzo L. Hamby shows that there was more to Truman than the pugnacious fighter so prominent in popular memory. Insecure, ambitious, a man of honor, a partisan loyalist, an agrarian Jeffersonian Democrat who became a champion of big government, Truman was a complex figure who fought long and hard to triumph over his own weaknesses.
In Man of the People, Hamby offers a gripping account of this distinctively American life, tracing Truman's remarkable rise from marginal farmer in rural Missouri to shaper of the postwar world. Truman comes alive in these pages as he has nowhere else, making his way from the farmhouse, to the front lines in France during World War I, to the difficult small-business world of Kansas City—all the time struggling with his deep feelings of inadequacy and immense ambition. Hamby provides an honest, incisive look at the rising politician's relationship with Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast, who sponsored his career from the county court to the U.S. Senate. We see how Truman, a ferocious and skilled fighter in factional party battles, tried to balance his sense of honor with his political loyalties. Free of corruption himself, he nevertheless refused to repudiate Pendergast even when the boss was sinking under the weight of his ties to organized crime. Hamby also offers the best account yet of Truman's critical years in the Senate, covering not only his World War II probe of the defense program but also his neglected and revealing populist investigations of the railroads during the 1930s. He demonstrates that Truman was one of the most popular and respected members of the upper house.
Hamby is particularly acute in his portrait of Truman's volatile presidency. He criticizes some aspects of the decision to drop the atomic bombs against Japan but concludes that, considered in context, the act was understandable and justified. Providing new insight into the Cold War, he identifies the Turkish and Iranian crisis of 1946 as crucial turning points in Truman's attitudes toward the Soviet Union. Thoroughly covering Truman's struggle for "liberalism in a conservative age," Hamby also sheds great light on the president's Fair Deal domestic program.
Harry Truman, Hamby writes, was a flawed man—insecure, often petty and vindictive—yet one of the great presidents of the twentieth century. But Americans cherish him less for what he did than for who he was: an ordinary person who worked his way up the political ladder to the summit of power. In Man of the People, Alonzo L. Hamby provides a richly perceptive biography, giving us the best look yet at who Truman was, how he changed, and why he triumphed.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195045468
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/26/1995
Pages:
800
Sales rank:
418,522
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.62(h) x 2.30(d)

Table of Contents

Book I American Democrat, 1884-1945 3(290)
1. "I Was Kind of a Sissy": In Search of Self, 1884-1906
3(22)
2. "I Tried to Dig a Living Out of the Ground": J.A. Truman & Son, Farmers, 1906-1914
25(18)
3. "My Ship's Going to Come in Yet": Misadventures in Venture Capitalism, 1915-1917
43(14)
4. "Our Young Man Was a True Patriot": The Forge of War, 1917-1919
57(26)
5. "June 28, 1920 One Happy Year...June 28, 1922 Broke and in a Bad Way": Family, Fraternity, and Commerce in the 1920s
83(18)
6. "I Became a Member of a Fighting Country Court": The Darwinian World of Jackson Country Politics, 1922
101(14)
7. "McElroy and I Ran the County Court and Took All the Jobs": Ideals and Realities, 1923-1924
115(17)
8. "Enough Left for a Living": Family, Business, Service, 1925-1934
132(13)
9. "Am I an Ethical Giant... Or Just a Crook?": Achievement and Doubt, 1926-1934
145(16)
10. "A Tremendous Amount of Strain": Crisis and Anxiety, 1931-1934
161(16)
11. "I Have Come to the Place Where All Men Strive to Be": Questing for the Heights, 1931-1934
177(23)
12. "Wisdom to Serve the People Acceptably": Life in the Senate, 1935-1940
200(13)
13. "Vultures at the Death of an Elephant": Insurgency, New Dealism, Interest Group Politics, and the Regulatory State, 1935-1940
213(15)
14. "I'm Going to Lick that Double-Crossing, Lying Governor": Struggle for Vindication, 1937-1940
228(20)
15. "We Saved the Taxpayers About Fifteen Billion Dollars": The Truman Committee, 1941-1944
248(13)
16. "Looks Like I've Arrived in the Senate": Statesman and Democratic Leader, 1941-1944
261(13)
17. "Bob, It's Truman. F.D.R.": The Vice Presidency, 1944-1945
274(19)
Book II American President, 1945-1972 293(342)
18. "I Feel Like I Have Been Struck by a Bolt of Lightning": Confronting the Presidency, 1945-1947
293(19)
19. "I Am Here to Make Decisions": Potsdam and Hiroshima, 1945
312(26)
20. "I'm Tired Babying the Soviets": The Cold War Emerges, 1945-1946
338(23)
21. "Being President Is Like Riding a Tiger": The Trials of Liberalism in a Conservative Age, 1945-1946
361(26)
22. "We Must Assist Free Peoples": The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, 1947-1948
387(17)
23. "A Discouraging Prospect Indeed": The Palestine Controversy and the Birth of Israel, 1945-1948
404(14)
24. "Congress Meets--Too Bad Too": Politics, Policy, and the Eightieth Congress, 1947-1948
418(21)
25. "He Done His Damndest": The Precampaign Campaign of 1948
439(13)
26. "I'll Give 'Em Hell": The Campaign of 1948
452(15)
27. "The Great White Sepulcher of Ambition": Living with the Presidency, 1945-1953
467(21)
28. "A Fair Deal": Liberalism and the Web of Government, 1949-1950
488(21)
29. "A Period that Will Be Eventful, Perhaps Decisive": Triumph and Travail in Foreign Relations, January 1949-June 1950
509(25)
30. "We've Got to Stop the Sons of Bitches": Korea: The Downward Spiral Begins, June 25, 1950-April 11, 1951
534(23)
31. "It Isn't Polls or Public Opinion Alone of the Moment that Counts. It Is Right and Wrong, and Leadership": Fighting the Tide, 1951-1952
557(18)
32. "This Is No Time to Yield to Selfish Interests": Economic Mobilization and Corruption, 1951-1952
575(24)
33. "I Have Served My Country Long, and I Think Efficiently and Honestly": Going Out, 1952
599(20)
34. "I Took the Grips Up to the Attic": Old Harry, 1953-1972
619(16)
Epilogue: Who He Was, What He Did, and Why We Care 635(8)
Notes 643(76)
Bibliographic Essay 719(6)
Index 725

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