Book Review: “Truman” by David McCullough

The author wrote a very good biography of one of the greatest Presidents of the United Stated. He was an accidental President who got pushed into limelight after FDR’s death. His humble beginning being born to a poor family and rose to become a good farmer. Despite his father’s bad gambling habit that thrust the family into a spiral bad fortune, he decidedly owned up the responsibility of keeping the family intact in Independence, Missouri. Truman was a meticulous person from the beginning with integrity and resolution. Due to his friendly demeanor which did not offend anyone, he made a good politician. With a help of a Democrats big boss, Tom Pendergast, he got elected to be a county court judge. Then he got elected to be US Senator. Through some luck, he became the Vice President to FDR.

Truman showed lots of courage when confronted with the decision to end the war with Japan using an unknown weapon of mass destruction. Dropping the two Atom bombs in Japan was one of the most momentous decisions he had to make. Even after wrapping up the World War II, he still had to struggle getting re-elected, in an election that humbled the media establishment. None of the papers were projecting him to win and he won the heart of the people through the merits of his accomplishments.

Another big decision he had to make was to fire General Douglas McCarthur. The old soldier was servicing his own agenda. He made the right call with a war strategy in the beginning of the Korean War to cut off North Korea’s attack but he later made some strategic mistake in not foreseeing China’s involvement and almost started another World War between China and US.

I came away learning so much about the critical period between the end of the World War II with Germany and the end of the World War II with Japan. Also the history behind the Korean War was new and interesting to me. Harry Truman was indeed a good President despite his poor background and poor vocal appeal. He served the country well in her time of crisis without any selfish agenda. The irony was that his mother-in-law still didn’t think Harry Truman was good enough for her daughter before she passed away in the Blair’s house across from the White House.

The abridged audiobook I listened was pretty concise and to the point. Highly recommended.

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