• Dewey Defeats Truman

  • The 1948 Election and the Battle for America's Soul
  • By: A. J. Baime
  • Narrated by: Scott Aiello
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Accidental President comes the thrilling story of the 1948 presidential election, one of the greatest election stories of all time, as Truman mounted a history-making comeback and staked a claim for a new course for America.  

On the eve of the 1948 election, America was a fractured country. Racism was rampant, foreign relations were fraught, and political parties were more divided than ever. Americans were certain that President Harry S. Truman’s political career was over. “The ballots haven’t been counted,” noted political columnist Fred Othman, “but there seems to be no further need for holding up an affectional farewell to Harry Truman.” Truman’s own staff did not believe he could win. Nor did his wife, Bess. The only man in the world confident that Truman would win was Mr. Truman himself. And win he did.   

The year 1948 was a fight for the soul of a nation. In Dewey Defeats Truman, A. J. Baime sheds light on one of the most action-packed six months in American history, as Truman not only triumphs, but oversees watershed events - the passing of the Marshall plan, the acknowledgement of Israel as a new state, the careful attention to the origins of the Cold War, and the first desegregation of the military.   

Not only did Truman win the election, he succeeded in guiding his country forward at a critical time with high stakes and haunting parallels to the modern day.

©2020 Albert Baime (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Dewey Defeats Truman

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Excellent account of the 1948 election

Interesting parallels to current political situation- Loved learning how the country was so sure that Dewey was going to win and how Truman was able to upset the expectations. Biggest lesson learned: Every vote is important. Make sure to cast your ballot!

4 people found this helpful

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Well Done

This book amazed me. As a Truman fan, I learned so much about the 1948 election and some of the fears surrounding it. The book fairly traces all of the political sides to the election and was an eye opener for me. I thought I was familiar with this, but found so much more that I did not know. A J Baime is an excellent writer and Scott Aiello's narration truly brought this book to life for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Fabulous

Excellent read. All the facts were woven into an exciting narrative. I learned a lot about Truman and the time period.

2 people found this helpful

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Every Bit As Good as McCullough’s Truman!

Wow! AJ Baime has done it again! Just as in his other books, history reads like a novel. He takes you into the minds of Truman and Dewey and into the feeling and atmosphere of the time (and the similarity to our own current time is extraordinary!) David McCullough’ Truman will always be the pinnacle of Presidential literature, but WOW AJ Baime is right there! While McCullough took us through the complete timeline of Truman’s life, AJ Baime lets us stop and be “time tourists” in some of the key months....experiencing everything in vivid detail. I’m not a professional reviewer, so I’ll stop there, but whether you love American history like I do, or just love a great story, I know you’ll love “Dewey Defeats Truman!”

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent and Timely

To think about the parallels between the election issues of 1948 and the America of today is powerful and a must read. On the one hand you realize the press had 48 even more wrong than 2016. That similarity is crazy, as is the states won, and the campaign tactics used by Trump and Truman. Descriptions of rally’s and speeches could be easily used to describe Trump in 2016.

More importantly though this book highlights the racial issues that dominated 1948 and shows we may have made progress but it is crazy that 2020 will be as much about race, civil rights, and police brutality as the 1948 election was.

The book is well written, easy to follow, unbiased in its reporting of the events and a must read for anyone looking to understand how history certainly repeats itself.

2 people found this helpful

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Good ... but the Narration ...

I'm a big fan of A.J. Baime. I've bought all of his books on Audible, and have always found them interesting and well researched. I also look forward to his "My Ride" columns in the Wall Street Journal.

That said, this book is good, but does not live up to the standards of "The Arsenal of Democracy," "Go Like Hell" and "The Accidental President." Still, I learned a lot I did not know about the 1948 election, Thomas Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and, especially Truman. I would say that the book lowered my opinion of Truman a little. On foreign policy, I think he was faced with a lot of tough choices and made some extremely difficult decisions (the Atomic Bomb), some really good decisions (the Marshall Plan), and some that are highly debatable (Korea). On domestic policy, Truman is to be particularly commended for desegregating the military and supporting civil rights. However, on the rest of domestic policy, it was just more spending and supporting the same old talking points that are still debated today. Truman was more hard left than I had known.

One thing that comes through loud and clear is Truman's fighting spirit. When even his wife Bess did not think he would be elected (not re-elected, because he became President when Roosevelt died), Truman was confident he would pull it off. And through a well-executed ground game--probably the last time a national campaign was made by rail--he pulled it off.

My real peeve about this book is the narration. Aiello is fluent and smooth enough, but he over-emphasizes everything and uses a very accusatory tone. It's almost as if he is calling out everyone with a snide tone: Those disagreeable Republicans, then those disagreeable Democrats (if they disagree with Truman), and then even people in Truman's inner circle. And he does it even with mundane subjects. After an hour of this, I was saying "enough already" to myself. I really have no idea what he was trying to achieve. Fortunately, he does not narrate Baime's other books on Audible. The narration tones down a little at the end, but not much.

I may be in a minority here, because others have given him good reviews. But be sure you can stand the narration.

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Good read for history buffs

An era of USA history I knew little about. Well written book. Nicely narrated book.

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Awesome part of history. Explains our politics

The more things change they never do. Harry to current day. This piece of history tells volumes.

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It was like I was there.

Fascinating. Though I knew much about the period, I learned much I didn't know. But it was the gripping description of election night 1948 that made me feel like I was actually there. I screamed to my wife, "Truman pulled it out!" Narration was excellent.

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Way to Go, Harry!

This comprehensive look at Truman's 1948 election victory proves the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. While Truman was criss-crossing the country on his campaign train, newspapers of the day were reporting that two white men charged with murdering a Black man were freed by an all-white jury; China's government, which was falling inexorably into Communist hands, was stirring up unease in Eastern Europe and Asia; Russia was sabre rattling and flexing its military muscle on the international stage; the Republican party was gerrymandering voting districts in an attempt to block the Black vote while also offering physical threats to Black citizens who attempted to register to vote. And oh yes, Truman won the tightly contested election but could have lost by as few as 16,000 votes if matters had gone only slightly in Dewey's favour in the usual swing states. Aielio's narration is good.