Affection and Trust: The Personal Correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, 1953–1971

Harry S Truman, Author, Dean Acheson, Author, David McCullough, Introduction by
Edited by Raymond Geselbracht and David C. Acheson, intro. by David McCullough, Knopf, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-59354-2
Reviewed on: 10/04/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
A deep affection existed between President Truman, a self-educated Midwesterner and the only 20th-century president who didn't attend college , and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, a wealthy Ivy league sophisticate. Researching his biography of Truman at the Truman Library, McCullough came across the extensive correspondence that began as both left office. More than 80% of the letters cover Eisenhower's administration. No more prescient than other statesmen, neither Truman nor Acheson doubted the overwhelming threat of communism. Both considered Ike deplorably weak (subsequent historians disagree) and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, unnecessarily pugnacious (subsequent historians agree). Both men also sound surprisingly contemporary as they worry about right-wing extremists taking over the Republican Party. Like all letters, these contain gossip about friends and spouses, vacation itineraries, and news of birthdays, holidays, awards, and medical problems. Many readers may skim these parts, but overall they will receive an insightful, if sometimes partial, view of cold war world politics through the eyes of two thoroughly admirable American leaders. 12 illus. (Nov.)
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