Truman in the White House: The Diary of Eben A. Ayers

Robert H. Ferrell, Author, Eben A. Ayers, Author University of Missouri Press $49.95 (402p) ISBN 978-0-8262-0790-6
Ayers, who was assistant White House press secretary from 1945 through most of 1950, begins his voluminous diary with the words ``President Roosevelt died today.'' Here he describes the confusion and uncertainty of the White House as the new president organized his administration and oversaw the conclusion of the war in Europe and Asia. Ayers offers no major revelations on such issues of the day as the unification of the armed services, labor conflicts, the Korean War. Instead, the considerable attraction of the diary (edited to one-quarter of its original length) lies in his portrait of Harry S. Truman in a casual mode--playing poker, having a drink with cronies and tossing off such remarks as ``I don't want power. It means nothing to me.'' We learn the names of those on Truman's ``s-t list'' and of men he regarded as ``a s. of a b.'' (most prominent is Charles de Gaulle). Ayers emphasizes the president's tendency to shoot from the hip during press conferences and the staff's struggle to repair the damage that sometimes resulted. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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