The Truman Presidency

Michael J. Lacey, Editor Cambridge University Press $74.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-521-37559-7
When Harry Truman retired from office in 1953 he was unpopular; three decades later, the ``Truman renaissance'' spotlighted him as one of our most effective chief executives. These 13 essays, resulting from a symposium sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C., reflect critically on major developments of the Truman era in light of recent scholarship. Alonzo Hamby's paper, ``The Mind and Character of Harry S. Truman,'' is an instructive explanation of the increasingly attractive Truman image: ``To a generation alienated by transparently synthetic and devious leadership, the man who said what he thought and sneered at the pollsters seemed to possess a quality of authenticity that had departed from American political life.'' The other pieces, 10 written by history professors, cover Truman's presidency with special attention to his influence on foreign policy and national defense. A recurring theme in this collection is that Truman's tenure in the White House was characterized by deliberation and judicious restraint rather than the impulsiveness ascribed to the 33th president by revisionist historians. Lacey is a staff member of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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