Civil War Era
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click to enlarge [Truman] Jonathan Daniels, THE MAN OF INDEPENDENCE. NEW copy, trade PAPERBACK. (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1998). Bibliography, index, 384 pp.
~~~ Having worked closely with Harry S. Truman in the triumphant campaign of 1948, Jonathan Daniels believed that President Truman was an "everyday" American, an ordinary human who aspired to greatness and achieved it. Thus, it was Daniels's intention that The Man of Independence not be a conventional biography; rather, he wanted it to reveal in real terms "the Odyssey of the 'everyday' American through our times." As a result, this comprehensive work not only presents Truman's life, it also details the development of the America in which the president grew up.
~~~ Truman spent his youth and his political life believing that old- fashioned, determined conservatism was vital to the preservation of personal liberty. Daniels re-creates Truman's remarkable journey through life—employing newspapers, letters, memos, family papers, as well as interviews with Truman, his family, and his close acquaintances. In the process, Daniels provides powerful evocations of the time during which Truman lived.
~~~ Daniels tells this extraordinary story by following this simple farm boy from Missouri through his youth and his years as a farmer, a veteran, and a businessman, on to his early career in politics, and then his presidency. Along the way, Daniels deals with issues, events, and ideas that were part of Missouri and American politics in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s; ultimately, he gives us the Truman who was to become the legend.
~~~ This inside account provides thought-provoking and personal information about Truman. His relationship with Thomas Pendergast, the seeming conflict between Truman's midwestern conservatism and his belief in equality for American blacks, and his momentous decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war—these are just a few of the topics touched on. Ending in 1949 when Truman was for the second time sworn in as president, The Man of Independence provides a fascinating and valuable look at one of America's most important and beloved presidents, as well as a crucial look at the America from which he emerged.


click to enlarge [Truman] Robert J. Donovan, CONFLICT & CRISIS: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948. NEW copy -- still in shrinkwrap -- trade PAPERBACK. (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1996). Illustrations, index, 512 pp.
~~~ "Mr. Donovan has reached in every direction for helpful insights into the Truman character, and much of what he comes up with is presented for the first time from documents, memoirs and letters freshly available. Yet his scholarship is as unobtrusive as it is prodigious. His style is crisp and direct, much in Truman's own manner. Events of staggering complexity are set forth with a clarity and economy that make the obscure comprehensible by shunning pedantic irrelevancies."--New York Times
~~~ "Conflict and Crisis is an extraordinarily fine blend of journalistic technique and historical method. Mr. Donovan writes very well, and his story is based upon extensive research in the major primary sources as well as relevant printed material. He is thoroughly conversant with the work of academic historians and adds his reporter's gift for description and narrative. His judgments are consistently sound and balanced. This is the best and fullest account yet of Truman's first term."--Alonzo L. Hamby
~~~ "From his own incomparable observation post at the Truman White House, as well as from scholarly sources and newly opened records, Robert Donovan has fashioned a masterly account worthy of his subject: pungent, plain-spoken, unvarnished. A readable, fair-minded, solid account of a remarkable presidency."--James MacGregor Burns
~~~ "Fascinating. I have enjoyed reliving those years with Harry Truman, relearning things I knew before, learning a lot I never knew, and seeing it all with Donovan's guidance from the perspective of 1977."--James Tobin