|Published||June 15, 1992|
Simon & Schuster
|ISBN|| 0-671-86920-5 (paperback)|
|Preceded by||Brave Companions|
|Followed by||John Adams|
Truman is a 1992 biography of the 33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman written by popular historian David McCullough. The book won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. The book was later made into a movie with the same name by HBO.
The book provides a biography of Harry Truman in chronological fashion from his birth to his rise to U.S. Senator, Vice President, and President. It follows his activities until death, exploring many of the major decisions he made as president, including his decision to drop the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his meetings and confrontation with Joseph Stalin during the end of World War II, his decision to create the Marshall Plan, his decision to send troops to the Korean War, his decision to recognize the State of Israel, and his decision to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces.
"Writing history or biography, you must remember that nothing was ever on a track. Things could have gone any way at any point. As soon as you say 'was,' it seems to fix an event in the past. But nobody ever lived in the past, only in the present. The difference is that it was their present. They were just as alive and full of ambition, fear, hope, all the emotions of life. And just like us, they didn't know how it would all turn out. The challenge is to get the reader beyond thinking that things had to be the way they turned out and to see the range of possibilities of how it could have been otherwise."
- David McCullough
After writing Mornings on Horseback , which was McCullough's first biography and consisted of an in-depth look at a small period in the life of former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, McCullough wanted to do a more full biography, "a mural instead of a Vermeer."At first, McCullough attempted to write a biography about Pablo Picasso, but abandoned the project in favor of doing a book on Truman.
McCullough decided that he would structure the story of Truman's biography in chronological fashion. McCullough explained his reasoning for this decision by stating: "It's been very fashionable lately to begin biographies anywhere but at the beginning, heaven forbid. But I didn't want to do anything tricky or fashionable because [Truman] was neither of those things. Harry Truman was a 19th-century man and I decided I would proceed as a great 19th-century biographer would, or as Dickens would."
In effort to better understand his subject, McCollough took several actions to emulate the life and activities of Truman.For instance, he would begin each day with a brisk early-morning walk, just as Harry S. Truman did. He also lived in Truman's hometown Independence, Missouri for a little while. He also raced through the United States Capitol retracing the path Truman ran when he was summoned to the White House after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
To help research the book, McCullough interviewed hundreds of people who knew Truman, including relatives and Secret Service Agents, read numerous letters and documents, and read almost all the books written about Truman.
While working on the book McCullough would read every draft page aloud to his wife and having her read the pages back to him.McCullough explained this practice by stating: "You can hear things that you cannot see. Redundancies, awkward expressions. Painters often look at their work in the mirror because you can see flaws that you don't see looking straight at a canvas."
McCullough wrote the book Truman over a period of 10 years. McCullough stated that during that 10 years many things changed in his life, "In those 10 years, my youngest daughter changed from a girl into a woman, both my parents died, grandchildren were born, we moved our residence twice, we put a child through college and law school, and paid off a mortgage."
McCullough felt a compulsion to get the book finished before the 1992 presidential campaign in response to the shallow political debates that were occurring in Washington, D.C.McCullough said, "I felt that something needed to be said before people made a choice. This book is about the country, not just about Harry Truman. It's about who we are and what we can be."
While McCullough was able to gain insights into Truman based on his research, there were questions that remained unanswered to McCullough such as why Truman's wife left him alone in Washington so often.The usual explanation among historians was that Bess hated the heat and her mother was ill, but McCullough has expressed doubts about this explanation stating that "[Bess] was away so often and [Truman's] letters to her were so plaintive, his need for her to be there so real. I don't know."
McCullough has stated that he intended Truman to be not only for "the Arthur Schlesingers and the academics" but instead intended the book for "your grandmother," and other common folk including present and future politicians so "they may see, even when flawed, how great a man in [the office of the President] can be."
|Organization of American Historians panel on Truman biographies, including Robert Ferrell's Harry S. Truman: A Life, Alonzo Hamby's Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and David McCullough's Truman.", C-SPAN|
After the book was published, McCullough went on a book-tour.One of the largest crowds he encountered was when he went to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.
Most reviewers praised the book when it came out. One notable dissent was an article in The New Republic titled "Harry of Sunnybrook Farm" by Ronald Steele where he called the book a "1000 page valentine."
Gene Lyons at Entertainment Weekly gave the book an A, stating that "No brief review can begin to do justice either to Truman or to the monumentally persuasive job McCullough has done re-creating his life and times.... Immeasurably aided by Truman's vividly written diaries and letters to his beloved wife, Bess, McCullough brings the man and his times to life with painstaking clarity."
The book won McCullough his first Pulitzer Prize, in the category of "Best Biography or Autobiography."
In 1995, the book was adapted into Truman , a television movie by HBO, starring Gary Sinise as Truman.
Independence is the fifth-largest city in Missouri and the county seat of Jackson County. Independence is a satellite city of Kansas City, Missouri, and is the largest suburb on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area. In 2020, it had a total population of 123,011.
The Kansas City Star is a newspaper based in Kansas City, Missouri. Published since 1880, the paper is the recipient of eight Pulitzer Prizes. The Star is most notable for its influence on the career of President Harry S. Truman and as the newspaper where a young Ernest Hemingway honed his writing style.
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense.
James Francis Byrnes was an American judge and politician from South Carolina. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in U.S. Congress and on the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as in the executive branch, most prominently as the 49th U.S. Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman. Byrnes was also the 104th Governor of South Carolina, making him one of the very few politicians to have served in the highest levels of all three branches of the American federal government while also being active in state government.
Elizabeth Virginia Truman was the wife of President Harry S. Truman and the first lady of the United States from 1945 to 1953. She also served as the second lady of the United States from January to April 1945.
Truman may refer to:
Mary Margaret Truman Daniel was an American classical soprano, actress, journalist, radio and television personality, writer, and New York socialite. She was the only child of President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman. While her father was president, during the years 1945 to 1953, Margaret regularly accompanied him on campaign trips, most notably the 1948 extensive countrywide train-borne 'Whistle-stop' campaign trip, which lasted several weeks; she also appeared often at important White House and political events during those years. She was a favorite with the media.
David Gaub McCullough is an American author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.
Merle Dale Miller was an American writer, novelist, and author who is perhaps best remembered for his best-selling biography of Harry S. Truman, and as a pioneer in the gay rights movement.
The Truman Committee, formally known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, was a United States Congressional investigative body, headed by Senator Harry S. Truman. The bipartisan special committee was formed in March 1941 to find and correct problems in US war production with waste, inefficiency, and war profiteering. The Truman Committee proved to be one of the most successful investigative efforts ever mounted by the U.S. government: an initial budget of $15,000 was expanded over three years to $360,000 to save an estimated $10–15 billion in military spending and thousands of lives of U.S. servicemen. For comparison, the entire cost of the Manhattan Project was $2 billion, at the time. Chairing the committee helped Truman make a name for himself beyond his political machine origins and was a major factor in the decision to nominate him as vice president, which would propel him to the presidency after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. A lifetime member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a U.S. senator from the state of Missouri from 1935 to 1945. He was chosen as incumbent president Franklin D. Roosevelt's running mate for the 1944 presidential election. Truman was inaugurated as vice-president in 1945 and served for less than three months until President Roosevelt died. Now serving as president, Truman implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe and established both the Truman Doctrine and NATO to contain the expansion of communism. He proposed numerous liberal domestic reforms, but few were enacted by the Conservative Coalition that dominated the Congress.
Truman is a 1995 American biographical drama television film directed by Frank Pierson and written by Thomas Rickman, based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1992 book, Truman. Starring Gary Sinise as Harry S. Truman, the film centers on Truman's humble beginnings, his rise to the presidency, World War II, and his decision to use the first atomic bomb. The film's tagline is "It took a farmer's hand to shape a nation."
Robert Hugh Ferrell was an American historian and a prolific author or editor of more than 60 books on a wide range of topics, including the U.S. presidency, World War I, and U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy. One of the country's leading historians, Ferrell was widely considered the preeminent authority on the administration of Harry S. Truman, and also wrote books about half a dozen other 20th-century presidents. He was thought by many in the field to be the "dean of American diplomatic historians," a title he disavowed.
This bibliography of Harry S. Truman is a selective list of scholarly works about Harry S. Truman, the thirty-third president of the United States (1945–1953). See also the bibliographies at Harry S. Truman, Presidency of Harry S. Truman, and Foreign policy of the Harry S. Truman administration.
John Adams is a 2001 biography of the Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams, written by the popular American historian David McCullough, which won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. It was adapted into the 2008 television miniseries of the same name by HBO Films. Since the TV miniseries debuted, an alternative cover has been added to the book showing Paul Giamatti as John Adams. The book is available as both hardcover and paperback.
The Democratic Party's 1944 nomination for Vice President of the United States was determined at the 1944 Democratic National Convention, on July 21, 1944. U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman from Missouri was nominated to be President Franklin D. Roosevelt's running-mate in his bid to be re-elected for a fourth term.
Harry S. Truman: A Life is a 1994 biography of Harry S. Truman, president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, by historian Robert Hugh Ferrell. Although it was overshadowed by the popular success of David McCullough's Pulitzer-winning biography Truman, Ferrell's book was widely praised by scholars in his field.
Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 is a 1983 book edited by historian Robert Hugh Ferrell collecting more than 500 letters from U.S. president Harry S. Truman to his wife Bess, ranging from the couple's early courtship to his post-presidency retirement. Well-regarded by other historians, the book also achieved popular success, becoming a New York Times bestseller.
Choosing Truman: The Democratic Convention of 1944 is a 1994 book by historian Robert Hugh Ferrell about the political convention in Chicago which nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt for his fourth election to the U.S. presidency, but jettisoned Vice President Henry A. Wallace in favor of Missouri Sen. Harry S. Truman. The choice was particularly significant because Roosevelt would die in office the following year, making Truman the 33rd president.
In 1948, Harry S. Truman and Alben W. Barkley were elected president and vice president of the United States. They defeated Republican presidential nominee Thomas E. Dewey and vice-presidential nominee Earl Warren. Truman, a Democrat and vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt, had ascended to the presidency upon Roosevelt's death in 1945. He announced his candidacy for election on March 8, 1948. Unchallenged by any major nominee in the Democratic primaries, he won almost all of them easily; however, many Democrats like James Roosevelt opposed his candidacy and urged former Chief of Staff of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower to run instead.