In his eight years as president from 1945-1953, Harry S. Truman made some of the most important decisions in U.S. history, particularly in foreign policy matters. This book contains transcripts of conversations with Truman from taped interviews in 1959. The probing questions and straightforward answers cover a wide variety of domestic and foreign policy issues ranging from civil rights in the South to using the atomic bomb on Japan. This book provides a vivid portrait of Truman, 'warts and all.' Through his answers to questions, the threads of his political loyalty, bluntness, frustration, decency, thrift, humanity, and humor become a tapestry of his presidential character. His intense pride and manner surface especially as he explains bitter political and domestic controversies, as well as foreign policy decisions. These interviews reveal Truman's bedrock foundation of deeply held political beliefs as he gives thoughtful answers to queries about major political issues. In addition, he discusses American presidential history; Congressmen such as Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson; Supreme Court Justices; and dozens of other well-known political leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, and John F. Kennedy. In similar fashion, he describes numerous foreign leaders, including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Winston Churchill, and Chiang Kai-Shek. Evident as well is his firm loyalty to the United States, his family, his friends, and the Democratic Party. Truman also divulges some of his personal dislikes, particularly of political opponents such as Richard M. Nixon and, for over a decade after 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, his personal resentments are more than matched by his fair-minded judgments of former President Herbert Hoover, American farmers, laborers, and racial groups. Discovered by Ralph Weber at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, the interviews were originally to be used as background for Truman's book, Mr. Citizen (1960), but most of Truman's observations and answers were not included in that book. Professor Weber has omitted very little of the original transcripts and has kept the conversations in the same order, revealing the ebb and flow of the questioning. He includes an introduction, annotations, brief biographies of the people Truman discusses in the interviews, and photographs to provide context for the reader. This revealing new book is an excellent addition to courses on American twentieth-century history and the presidency.
Publisher: Scholarly Resources Inc.,U.S.
Number of pages: 388
Weight: 839 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 32 mm
Talking with Harry vividly reflects President Truman's strong, confident, and independent nature and provides a compellingly candid, often entertaining, and frequently perceptive analysis of people and events during a critical era in American history. Ralph Weber has skillfully edited the reflective and revelatory ruminations of an American giant in a truly transformational era. Reading these commentaries is like eating cashews. Once you begin, it is very difficult to stop. -- Thomas E. Hachey, Boston College
In these 1959 interviews, Truman reflects on history, the office of the presidency, partisan politics, and Cold War issues. Candid, quick to the point, and judgmental, Truman serves up unvarnished criticisms of Stevenson, Eisenhower, Nixon, and MacArthur, and he denounces the Russians as the 'worst barbarians' and Communist China as 'Frankenstein.' These well-edited conversations reveal Truman at his best-and his worst. -- Thomas G. Paterson, author of On Every Front: The Making and Unmaking of the Cold War
Talking with Harry: Candid Conversations with President Harry S. Truman is exactly what the title implies. In twenty oral history sessions in the fall of 1959, President Truman reflected upon his role in history-to the enlightenment and enjoyment of twentieth-century U.S. historians. These conversations are a `must' for those who wish to understand this period of American history. We are deeply indebted to Weber for producing this record of a great American president. -- Ben Procter, Texas Christian University