Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman's Letters to Harry Truman, 1919–1943

Truman State University Press
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One evening in 1955, Harry Truman came home to find Bess burning her letters to him. “What are you doing? Think of history,” he said. “Oh, I have,” she said and tossed in another stack.
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.
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About the author

One evening in 1955, Harry Truman came home to find Bess burning her letters to him. “What are you doing? Think of history,” he said. “Oh, I have,” she said and tossed in another stack.
Clifton Truman Daniel is the oldest grandson of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman and son of the late E. Clifton Daniel Jr., former managing editor of the New York Times, and best-selling mystery writer Margaret Truman. Mr. Daniel is director of public relations for Harry S Truman College and is the honorary chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute in Independence, Missouri. He is a frequent speaker and fundraiser and the author of Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Truman State University Press
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Published on
Apr 1, 2011
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781935503262
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 20th Century
History / United States / State & Local / Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
Political Science / American Government / Executive Branch
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this riveting collection, published for the first time, we follow Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, two giants of the post–World War II period, as they move from an official relationship to one of candor, humor, and personal expression. Together they were primarily responsible for the Marshall Plan and NATO, among other world-shaping initiatives. And in these letters, spanning the years from when both were newly out of office until Acheson’s death at the age of seventy-eight, we find them sharing the often surprising and always illuminating opinions, ideas, and feelings that the strictures of their offices had previously kept them from revealing.

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.
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