Got the book as a gift, and it was a very pleasant summer read. I have not read McCullough, but this effort will likely lead me to take that book up. The book includes an audio cd, which contains some of the memorable Truman speeches, and the book builds the chapters and narrative around those speeches. The audio quality is pretty good, and the chapters deal with some of the monumental events in U.S. history. Starting with Truman’s ascent to the Presidency after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, the chapters bring us announcements of the surrender of Germany and Japan, the bringing forth of the Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of a war shattered Europe, the Truman campaign for a full term in 1948, and the long odds he faced as he started that campaign, the Korean War, and the controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur. Truman and his administration were faced with “winning the peace” and showing the necessary resolve against the “probing” of Josef Stalin, our erstwhile WWII ally. This book gives you a better than Readers Digest version of Harry Truman, and does not aspire to be a biography, but rather a snapshot of some fascinating and important events in U.S. history. Truman left with a pretty low approval rating, but correctly predicted that history would bring him the positive recognition he deserved.
Some pretty good speeches by the “plain speaking” President are included. Track 24 got my attention, where the President warns of the excesses of the anti-communist movement, speaking against sacrificing our constitutional protections in order to defeat communism. Clearly an anti Joe McCarthy speech, but the Senator was never mentioned. Truman’s words ring true, and may have some real importance today.