This is one of the biographies that I was really, really looking forward to reading. I thought that John Adams by McCullough was amazing and knowing that this was by the same author AND won the Pulitzer? Well… I have had this on my shelf, ready to go since I started the challenge.
You guys, it did not disappoint.
One of the reasons I got into the Presidential Challenge was because I wanted to know more about the presidents as men. I am moderately interested in their politics, of course, but if I’m being honest, I just want to know the story of these men who ended up in such an extreme place of power.
Harry Truman was literally a farmer. A farmer. He just started in small town politics and then rose and rose until he ended up being Vice President for Roosevelt when he passed away in office. He had little actual affiliation with Roosevelt and was a little bit (a lot of bit) overwhelmed when he became President, but he really did rise to the occasion.
The thing for me that was shocking about Truman was the Truman Doctrine and how much it effects us every day. I had heard that phrase before but had very little idea what it meant. Now that I know, I can look back and see how all of our modern wars (Vietnam, Iraq, this thing we’re looking at with Syria) are all because of his doctrine. Before him, we would not have went into countries that posed no immediate threat. That’s wild, right? That one farmer boy can change the course of world history. I mean…. wow.
The decision to drop the atomic bomb and the carrying out of it and the aftermath… you guys, rarely in my life have I read something that captivated me more. I was just totally in it. I can’t believe that I made it almost 30 years in my life without knowing this incredible part of American history.
So, I have to be honest, as much as I loved it and as interesting as it was, it took me all month to read this book. I read it in chunks and then put it back and it is, you know, 1000 pages long. I did slip in RIIIIIGHT at the end of August, but just barely. I thought that it was mostly quick moving, but the part that talks about his campaign for his second term really drug for me. I thought that there was an inordinate amount of time spent there, but other than that I thought that this was pretty great.
For a complete view of a pretty interesting guy and a VERY interesting period in American history, I would highly, highly recommend this book.