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Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman Hardcover – 1 Feb 1974
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Fine cloth copy in a near-fine, very slightly edge-nicked and dust-dulled dw, now mylar-sleeved. Remains particularly and surprisingly well-preserved overall; tight, bright, clean and strong. ; 448 pages; Physical desc. : 448 p. ; 24 cm. Subject: Presidents - United States - Biography.
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Arranged chronologically, the reader is taken through this remarkable life, the challenges Truman faced and his views on issues and personalities. On these pages we read Truman's uncensored opinions on MacArthur, Ike, Marshall and generals in general, Dean Atcheson, Richard Nixon, the presidency and a host of other topics. Here we learn his conviction that the U. S. has never had a crooked president and that "The only thing new is the history you don't know."
There are other, better, first biographies to learn the facts of Truman's life. Turn to "Plain Speaking" to meet Harry Truman.
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The last few presidents can't hold a candle to Truman, and that's the really sickening lesson I learned from this book. Just go order the book. Every time Truman opens his mouth, you'll just be amazed at his integrity and be rejuvenated by it. Seriously, just reading this book will make you a better person.
HST was fortunate in that history offered him many opportunities to prove his skills and his greatness. (Most historians now rank him among the top five). For example, not every president gets to be a 2-time wartime president, or to replace an FDR (the nation's only 3-time and 4-time president that most Americans truly loved (regardless of how the Neocons now portray him), or to make the many critical decisions that HST was compelled to make.
The book's table of contents pretty much summarizes the major problems that HST had to deal with during his long political career and his 2 terms (minus 3 months) as president: two times he had to fight hard as the underdog for his seat in the Senate and once, in 1948 - likewise, as the underdog against Dewey, he had to overcome great odds to win his presidential re-election fight. Many times he had to render major, often unpopular, decisions: for example, he endorsed the establishment of the new state of Israel; he ordered the dropping of A-bombs on Japan; he ordered the integration of the armed forces; he halted a steel strike that threatened the unbroken supply of war materials; he ordered the implementation of the post-war, multi-billion dollar economic recovery plan for Europe (called the Marshall Plan - but actually Truman's plan); he endorsed the creation of the U.N.; he endorsed the creation of NATO with U.S. participation; he ordered U.S. troops into Korea in 1950 to halt communist aggression; he `fired' the highly popular 5-star General MacArthur when the latter challenged the authority of the president; etc., etc.. HST said that hard decisions were easy for him; he simply did what he thought was right!
Many reviewers confess that prior to reading this book they had no sense of HST's presidency, or that he was significant or even great. After reading this book, however, many of them now feel that HST was both a great man and a great president. Is there any better example of what a little reading can do for a person's judgment - or, expressed another way, is there any better example of how 'ignorance can breed contempt' - or indifference?
citizen, soldier, patriot, failed haberdasher, who made decisions that literally saved
The Man from Independence was the real deal. His star has steadily risen, while his
critics who hated him have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
He lived by Mark Twain's words- always do right, it will gratify some and astonish the rest.