Nearly every page contains a "Trumanism" - an unexpected insight, a little-known anecdote, or a pithy piece of wisdom. His topics range from "do-nothing presidents" to the way he felt military service undermined a leader's ability to command a country to his admiration for Abraham Lincoln. Truman writes about moments in presidential history with a warmth and sincerity that brings figures from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt to life.
Willing to write frankly about his decision to drop the atomic bomb, but humble about his own impact on history, Truman offers a unique perspective on American history.
Adapting easily to their private lives, they nonetheless felt a powerful need to keep in touch as they viewed with dismay what they considered to be the Eisenhower administration’s fumbling of foreign affairs, the impact of Joseph McCarthy, John Foster Dulles’s foreign policy, and the threat of massive nuclear retaliation. Adlai Stevenson’s poor campaign of 1956, Eisenhower’s second-term mishaps, family events, speaking engagements, and Truman’s difficulties writing his memoirs are all fodder for their conversations. In 1960 their skeptical stance toward John F. Kennedy (and his father's influence) turned them toward Lyndon Johnson. After Kennedy won they discussed Acheson’s reluctant involvement in the Cuban missile crisis, his missions to de Gaulle and Prime Minister Macmillan, and the Allied position in Berlin.
Unbuttoned, careless of language, unburdened by political ambition or vanity, Truman and Acheson show their own characters and loyalty to each other on every page. Truman, a Missouri farmer with the unpolished but sharp intellect of the largely self-educated man, clearly understands that in Acheson he has a friend with a rare gift for providing unhesitant and truthful counsel. Acheson, well-educated, urbane, and well-off, understands which traits in Truman’s complex character to love and admire and when to admonish, instruct, and tease him. Both men share a deep and abiding patriotism, a quality that truly stands out in today’s world.
A remarkable book that brings to light the very human side of two of the most important statesmen of the twentieth century.
From the Hardcover edition.
Bess Truman thought her business was hers and nobody else’s, so she destroyed her half of the more than 2,600 letters she and Harry exchanged during their courtship and marriage. While making an inventory of the Truman home in the 1980s, archivists discovered 180 letters Bess had missed. Her grandson Clifton Truman Daniel shares them here, along with portions of Harry’s responses, family photographs, and stories. These letters provide new insight into the lives and personalities of Bess and Harry Truman during the formative years of his political life. Despite Bess’s shy and self-effacing manner, her lively correspondence offers a glimpse of a caring and witty woman who shared her concerns about family, politics, and day-to-day activities with her husband.
Completing previously published wartime correspondence between Churchill and Roosevelt up to the latter's death in 1945, this material records the thoughts and decisions of Truman and Churchill from April 12, 1945, nearly a month before Germany's surrender, until Churchill's defeat in the General Election in late July at Potsdam, shortly before the dramatic close of the Pacific war against Japan little more than a fortnight later. The two would subsequently maintain personal contact, first as associates and later as friends, a situation shaped by their meeting at Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill would deliver his famed Iron Curtain speech.