Man of the People A Life of Harry S. Truman

ISBN-10: 0195124979

ISBN-13: 9780195124972

Edition: 1998 (Reprint)

Authors: Alonzo L. Hamby

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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.
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Book details

List price: $21.50
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/8/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 784
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 2.00" tall
Weight: 2.442
Language: English

"I Was Kind of a Sissy": In Search of Self, 1884-1906
"I Tried to Dig a Living Out of the Ground": J. A. Truman and Son, Farmers, 1906-1914
"My Ship's Going to Come in Yet": Misadventures in Venture Capitalism, 1915-1917
"Our Young Man Was a True Patriot": The Forge of War, 1917-1919
"June 28, 1920 One Happy Year... June 28, 1922 Broke and in a Bad Way": Family, Fraternity, and Commerce in the 1920s
"I Became a Member of a Fighting County Court": The Darwinian World of Jackson County Politics, 1922
"McElroy and I Ran the County Court and Took All the Jobs": Ideals and Realities, 1923-1924
"Enough Left for a Living": Family, Business, Service, 1925-1934
"Am I an Ethical Giant... Or Just a Crook?": Achievement and Doubt, 1926-1934
"A Tremendous Amount of Strain": Crisis and Anxiety, 1931-1934
"I Have Come to the Place Where All Men Strive to Be": Questing for the Heights, 1931-1934
"Wisdom to Serve the People Acceptably": Life in the Senate, 1935-1940
"Vultures at the Death of an Elephant": Insurgency, New Dealism, Interest Group Politics, and the Regulatory State, 1935-1940
"I'm Going to Lick that Double-Crossing, Lying Governor": Struggle for Vindication, 1937-1940
"We Saved the Taxpayers About Fifteen Billion Dollars": The Truman Committee, 1941-1944
"Looks Like I've Arrived in the Senate": Statesman and Democratic Leader, 1941-1944
"Bob, It's Truman. F.D.R.": The Vice Presidency, 1944-1945
"I Feel Like I Have Been Struck by a Bolt of Lightning": Confronting the Presidency, 1945-1947
"I Am Here to Make Decisions": Potsdam and Hiroshima, 1945
"I'm Tired Babying the Soviets": The Cold War Emerges, 1945-1946
"Being President Is Like Riding a Tiger": The Trials of Liberalism in a Conservative Age, 1945-1946
"We Must Assist Free Peoples": The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, 1947-1948
"A Discouraging Prospect Indeed": The Palestine Controversy and the Birth of Israel, 1945-1948
"Congress Meets - Too Bad Too": Politics, Policy, and the Eightieth Congress, 1947-1948
"He Done His Damndest": The Precampaign Campaign of 1948
"I'll Give 'Em Hell": The Campaign of 1948
"The Great White Sepulcher of Ambition": Living with the Presidency, 1945-1953
"A Fair Deal": Liberalism and the Web of Government, 1949-1950
"A Period that Will Be Eventful, Perhaps Decisive": Triumph and Travail in Foreign Relations, January 1949-June 1950
"We've Got to Stop the Sons of Bitches": Korea: The Downward Spiral Begins, June 25, 1950-April 11, 1951
"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
"This Is No Time to Yield to Selfish Interests": Economic Mobilization and Corruption, 1951-1952
"I Have Served My Country Long, and I Think Efficiently and Honestly": Going Out, 1952
"I Took the Grips Up to the Attic": Old Harry, 1953-1972
Epilogue: Who He Was, What He Did, and Why We Care
Bibliographic Essay
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