After a long period of reading fiction, I felt it was time for a good biography. I had no idea just whose biography I wanted to read although I had given considerable thought to reading the recent Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson which was drawing its share of praise. It was time for my research.
I googled “best biography I ever read” and spent over an hour reading reviews on a multitude of biographies. It appeared the consensus winner was going to be John Adams by David McCullough when suddenly I began to read a lot of comments saying “if you think the John Adams book was great you have to read his biography of Truman”. One after another came rave reviews of “Truman”. My decision was made, Harry Truman had never been someone who I had thought much about but I determined now to get to know him better. I purchased the book for my phone.
One thousand, one hundred and twenty (1,120) pages later, upon the death of our 33rd President, I felt like I had just lost a good friend. David McCullough brings Harry Truman to life through extensive research and a writing style that is crisp, clean and easy to read. McCullough makes page-turners out of biographies.
The biggest thing I got out of reading this book was how little I knew about Harry Truman from his meager beginnings as a Missouri farm boy to just how many awesome accomplishments he was able to complete during his life and presidency. He was a simple man, a common man, an honest man and he was able to use these qualities to make tough decisions during some of our nations most trying times.
It’s tough to compress eleven hundred pages into a short review but the decisions made by this humble man who had to step into the shoes of Franklin D. Roosevelt were both remarkable and monumental, from the dropping of the atomic bomb, standing up to the Soviets, firing Douglas McArthur, the Korean War and desegregating our armed forces, Harry Truman proved time after time to be a man of integrity. His re-election in 1948 when the press and political pundits had already conceded the election to Thomas Dewey is a story in and of itself.
My sincere thanks to David McCullough for introducing me to Harry Truman and giving me an in depth look into a man who turned out to be one of our greatest and least appreciated U. S. Presidents. I gave this **** ½ stars and cannot tell you why it didn’t get five stars cause it probably deserves it.