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Publisher's Summary

Jeffrey Frank, author of the best-selling Ike and Dick, returns with the first full account of the Truman presidency in nearly 30 years, recounting how so ordinary a man met the extraordinary challenge of leading America through the pivotal years of the mid-20th century.

The nearly eight years of Harry Truman’s presidency - among the most turbulent in American history - were marked by victory in the wars against Germany and Japan; the first use of an atomic weapon; the beginning of the Cold War; creation of the NATO alliance; the founding of the United Nations; the Marshall Plan to rebuild the wreckage of postwar Europe; the Red Scare; and the fateful decision to commit troops to fight in Korea.

Historians have tended to portray Truman as stolid and decisive, with a homespun manner, but the man who emerges in The Trials of Harry S. Truman is complex and surprising. He believed that the point of public service was to improve the lives of one’s fellow citizens, and he was disturbed by the brutal treatment of African Americans. Yet while he supported stronger civil rights laws, he never quite relinquished the deep-rooted outlook of someone with Confederate ancestry reared in rural Missouri. He was often carried along by the rush of events and guided by men who succeeded in refining his fixed and facile view of the postwar world. And while he prided himself on his Midwestern rationality, he could act out of emotion, as when, in the aftermath of World War II, moved by the plight of refugees, he pushed to recognize the new state of Israel.

The Truman who emerges here is a man with generous impulses, loyal to friends and family, and blessed with keen political instincts, but insecure, quick to anger, and prone to hasty decisions. Archival discoveries, and research that led from Missouri to Washington, Berlin, and Korea, have contributed to an indelible, and deeply human, portrait of an ordinary man suddenly forced to shoulder extraordinary responsibilities, who never lost a schoolboy’s romantic love for his country and its Constitution.

©2022 Jeffrey Frank. All rights reserved (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Excellent illuminating work

Well worth the read or listening. So much here to learn from. I did not realize the Korean War was virtually completely on Truman’s watch. I think Eisenhower gets more of the credit though the conflict was an absolute disaster that continues to affect millions of people.

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Harry should give Jeffery Frank Hell

Nothing new here. For a better in-depth understanding of Truman read McCullough's Truman written in 1992. McCullough is a true historian.

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Filling FDR’s Big Shoes- History Has Been Kind

Give’m hell Harry! And he did. He has shaped the world we live in today. As Russia is still a persistent threat to world peace, we can comprehend the threat that communism and Stalin posed to Truman. History does indeed repeat itself!