Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 1993
Hailed by critics as an American masterpiece, David McCullough's sweeping biography of Harry S. Truman captured the heart of the nation. The life and times of the 33rd president of the United States, Truman provides a deeply moving look at an extraordinary, singular American.
From Truman's small-town, turn-of-the-century boyhood and his transforming experience in the face of war in 1918, to his political beginnings in the powerful Pendergast machine and his rapid rise to prominence in the U.S. Senate, McCullough shows a man of uncommon vitality and strength of character.
Here too is a telling account of Truman's momentous decision to use the atomic bomb and the weighty responsibilities that he was forced to confront on the dawning of a new age.
Distinguished historian and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David McCullough tells one of the greatest American stories in this stirring audio adaptation of Truman - a compelling, classic portrait of a life that shaped history.
©2011 Simon & Schuster (P)2003 David McCullough
“McCullough’s marvelous feel for history is based on an appreciation of colorful tales and an insight intopersonalities. In this compelling saga of America’s greatest common-man president, McCullough adds luster to an old-fashioned historical approach.... the sweeping narrative, filled with telling details and an appreciation of the role individuals play in shaping the world.” (Walter Isaacson, Time)
“McCullough is a master storyteller whose considerable narrative skills have been put to exquisite use in re-creating the life and times of America’s 33rd president.” (Robert Dallek, Los Angeles Times Book Review)
“Perhaps the highest tribute one can pay a biographer is to say that through him one comes to know his subject almost as though in person. In fostering the reader’s acquaintance with Harry Truman, not once does McCullough get in the way. This is in every respect a splendid work.” (Myron A. Marty, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
My husband has the hard copy of this book -- 949 pages! I was a bit concerned about the length, but despite some unnecessary detail in part one, the book is fascinating. You really feel that you know where this man comes from as the narration unfolds.
I shared the common misconception of Truman's being a dull nebbish. Far from it, like Lincoln, he was a fascinating combination of dirt farmer and intellectual, with a ramrod sense of right and wrong -- a basically decent person. He was not charismatic, but honed his political skills in the machine politics of Missouri before winning his seat in the US senate. He also loved classical music and opera and had considered a career as concert pianist, he played so well. He lived in a fascinating era... succeeding FDR as the second world war wound down, and making some very big decisions such as dropping the atom bomb and our participation in the Korean war.
It's easy to regret these decisions in hindsight. McCullough is mostly non-judgemental, successfully recreating the concerns and zeitgeist of the era, and painting a portrait of a guy of very modest beginnings who rose to meet the challenges of his offices and era. The author does an excellent job, covering Potsdam, McCarthyism, General MacArthur's fall, and the isolationism and demagoguery of the Republican party among many other events.
I'm afraid Nelson Runger is not my favorite narrator. His style is slightly pompous and a bit labored. Ironically, this tone sounds like forties and fifties radio and TV voices, so maybe it's just right. To his credit, he does not mis-pronounce words like so many younger narrators. But the book is well worth a listen and is a great introduction to that era.
I loved listening to this book. Being in my mid 50's I always heard from my parents what a dope Truman was. WRONG! Truman was actually a pretty good President and as honest as they come. The USA was lucky to have him. Fantastic narration as well and the story flows as only McCullough can do. A+++ IMHO
An amazing look into just about every detail of Truman's life. My only POSSIBLE criticism is that the description of the whistle stop campaign could have used one or two fewer stops (at least in the book). Still, a wonderful biography and worth every minute.
This is probably the best biography of Truman out there. In it you not only learn about Truman's presidency but other events going on during his lifetime. My only complaint is that I would have liked it to have covered a little more of Truman's life before the presidency. Overall, it is very informative and well written.
This is the book that got me excited about history. I was born in 1953, and, hadn't heard about Mr. Truman in school. So to me it is like listening to a great adventure. The story is not new but, to hear how it all unfolded is facinating. This is history come alive and the listener is truly, "A fly on the wall watching as it all came to pass.
As a student of history, I found this audio book valuable.
I have listened to Churchills history of WWII and it helps bring all elements together.
A very important transition in American History. A man one generation removed from the frontier confronted with world changing events. The Atom bomb...etc. partner with Churchill to help save the world. Great history, I truly enjoyed all 50 hours of it.
The story of Abraham Lincoln is very similar to that of Truman...from the point of view of his humble beginnings to the path to the presidency.
Nelson brings the characters to life, by changing his voice inflection for each person, singing, and creating an experience that puts you into the story.
No...it's too long and complicated. However, I found myself looking for times to be alone so I could listen to it. Very well done!
One of the best.
Flight Behavior. A fiction story, but it also was gripping from beginning to end.
The story was fascinating. It was told in great detail. I had difficulty turning it off. I kept putting off chores so I could free up time to listen. The story was captivating and told so well.
I strongly recommend this book especially for history buffs.
This book is by David McCullough. Anyone who has read any of his books know that in itself is a treat. But Truman's straight talk mirrors many of the messages that resound in our own time. We can learn from him even half a century later. Would that there were more people in Washington like him today. Everyone should listen to this book to get a glimpse of a politician who had a strong set of values.
The story of being catapulted into the presidency during World War II was particularly interesting.
David McCullough gives life to all the historical figures he writes about, Truman is no different.
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