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Truman Presidency

In Truman, David McCullough (1992) provides a biography of America's 33rd President, Harry S. Truman. McCullough paints the tale of a common man with poor origins and limited education; one that suffered business failure and worked as a farmer on his father's farm but still rose to the highest position of power in American government and the free world. Despite Truman's limited time as a senator, as President his skillful decision-making made him a natural leader of others. McCullough paints Truman as a man whose common background, decisiveness and ability to withstand pressure cement his image as one of America's best presidents. Known for his sayings like "Give 'em hell" and "The buck stops here" sign on his desk, McCullough (1992) argues Truman was "unprepared, bewildered and frightened" at the enormous task before him but in the end he earned his place at the top of the presidential ranks (p. 656; 465; 355). This analysis will review McCullough's Truman.

With his limited education, common background and short time as a Washington politician as senator, Harry S. Truman entered the office of President after Franklin D. Roosevelt while America was stilled embroiled in WWII. He would face some of the most monumental decisions ever to face a president, from using the atomic bomb to end the war to helping forge the Marshall Plan to rebuild ravaged Europe. McCullough maintains Truman was nothing if not confident and decisive. He explains that Truman acquired these skills during a year spent in France as a combat artillery officer. As McCullough (1992) notes, "He was not the same man who left for France only the year before. The change was astounding. He had new confidence in himself. He had discovered he could lead men and that he liked that better than anything he has ever done before" (p. 142).

Another skill that helped Truman lead America through WWII, the Korean War and on


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Truman Presidency. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:31, May 28, 2020, from