A companion to Harry S. Truman by Daniel S. Margolies

By Daniel S. Margolies

With contributions from the main finished students within the box, this attention-grabbing significant other to at least one of America's pivotal presidents assesses Harry S. Truman as a ancient determine, flesh presser, president and strategist.

• Assembles some of the most sensible historians of their fields who determine serious facets of the Truman presidency
• presents new methods to the historiography of Truman and his policies
• incorporates a number of historiographic methodologies

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Sample text

This book’s last chapter is speculative and uncertain about the causes of Truman’s victory. By contrast, Frank Kofsky asserts that Truman won the 1948 presidential election partially because he exaggerated and dramatized Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union through the Berlin airlift of 1948–9. Kofsky’s book was first published in 1993 and is entitled Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948: A Successful Campaign to Deceive the Nation. Besides its controversial thesis, this book’s value to a researcher is enhanced by the fact that its primary sources include previously classified government documents secured by use of the Freedom of Information Act.

The quality, depth, and utility of Ferrell’s biography benefit from his many years of researching and editing the primary sources of Truman’s presidential library. Ferrell’s book provides more insight and analysis than other biographies of Truman about such topics as Truman’s nomination for vice president in 1944 and his conflict with the Supreme Court over his seizure of steel mills during the Korean War (pp. 370–5). Published one year after Ferrell’s book, in 1995, Man of the People: A Life of Harry S.

Truman believed that a leader ought not to be cowed by these powerful voices in the polity. Nor should he RHETORIC AND STYLE OF TRUMAN’S LEADERSHIP 29 simply listen to public opinion and take the popular option – for without clear cues from the White House “the true opinion of the people” was always unclear. Rather the president had to be courageous. He had to lead. On occasion, he even had to take the issues to the country, appealing over the heads of the media – although Truman, who was a keen student of history, was perfectly aware that the two earlier presidents who had undertaken such a course (Andrew Johnson in 1866 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919) had both emerged fatally weakened from their campaigns.

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