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Publisher's Summary

The dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman's first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Heroes are often defined as ordinary characters who get thrust into extraordinary circumstances and, through courage and a dash of luck, cement their places in history. Chosen as FDR's fourth-term vice president for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman - a Midwesterner who had no college degree and had never had the money to buy his own home - was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR's sudden death.

During the climactic months of the Second World War, Truman had to play judge and jury, pulling America to the forefront of the global stage. The first four months of Truman's administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings of Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation of Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of Imperial Japan, and, finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time.

Tightly focused, meticulously researched, rendered with vivid detail and narrative verve, The Accidental President escorts listeners into the situation room with Truman during this tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenge even higher. The result is narrative history of the highest order and a compelling look at a presidency with great relevance to our times.

©2017 Albert Baime (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-14-17

Exceptional

I have read many biographies about Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). In this book A. J. Baime narrows the scope of the book to the first four months of the presidency. The author does provide some early history of Truman so the reader understands how events came about.

On April 12, 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt summoned Truman to the White House to inform him of the death of FDR. Truman said his worst nightmare immediately became a reality. He had only been Vice President for three months and had not been informed about anything by FDR. It would have been extremely difficult for anyone to follow in the footsteps of the charismatic Roosevelt. Truman was honest, decisive and hardworking. Some of the problems he faced that Baime goes into in depth are:
1. The war with Germany
2. The war with Japan
3. Learned about the Manhattan project. Had to decide about using the bomb on Japan.
4. The founding of the United Nations
5. The devastation of Europe and the starving refugees. He sent President Hoover to Europe to deal with the logistics of feeding the people. He and General Marshall developed the Marshall Plan to deal with Europe.
6. Russia posed challenges and different goals. Stalin failed to honor any of his agreements he made with Churchill and Roosevelt about Eastern Europe. Russia developed the atomic bomb and the cold war began.

The book is well-written and meticulously researched. Baime is a journalist and the book is written in that style. Baime detailed a chronology as to how Truman transformed into a president and leader of the world. Baime makes history come alive and makes an enjoyable read. The book is well organized. Truman faced many difficult situations over his presidency that had great effect upon the world and the United States. In fact, Baime claims no other president in the history of the United States has faced such difficulties at the beginning of their presidency.

Tony Messano does a good job narrating the book. Messano is a voice-over artist and audiobook narrator. This is my first experience with listening to Messano.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 04-20-18

Great Book About an Interesting Man

I'm a fan of A.J. Baime. He writes well-researched and interesting books.

Harry Truman's life story is well-known: A somewhat obscure Senator who was drafted as Roosevelt's Vice President for an unprecedented fourth term. Truman didn't want to be Vice President. But he was as shocked as the rest of the Nation when Roosevelt died only a couple of months into the fourth term.

Baime does not try to write a comprehensive account of Truman's life. Rather, the book offers an almost hour by hour account of the first four months of Truman's presidency in which many truly momentous events that would shape the world occurred, from victory over Germany to Hiroshima (Truman did not even know about the atomic bomb until after he was president).

Truman was thrust into these circumstances largely unprepared, because Roosevelt made almost no effort to educate Truman or to draw Truman into his inner circle. My guess is that Roosevelt--who surely must have had a monumental ego--simply never contemplated the possibility of his own demise very seriously.

Truman did better than most would have expected. One emerges from the book with a heightened respect for Truman, and a somewhat diminished view of Roosevelt. That is not due to any effort on Baime's part--he simply lays out very cogently what happened.

One thing that I really like about this book is how it moves. Baime does not dawdle nor does he make needless digressions. It is a very straight-forward book about a very straight-forward man.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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a great read

well written and easy to follow the historical events in which HST was president.. I recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story about an ordinary man

Great story that all of America needs to remember, from a failed businessman to the White House President Truman was an everyday man who did extraordinary things to help the USA!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim
  • Topeka, KS, United States
  • 11-18-17

A man for his time that made the modern world.

I really enjoyed getting a sense of how these four months played out on a daily basis. It is amazing to see what a regular American fully grounded can accomplish. A remarkable story about a remarkable man.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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incredible person incredible time

I enjoyed going back and learning about our history the events that transpired to perform our current situation

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Tough to start

I'm not a big fan of history, but I stuck with it. It was an okay listen. The beginning felt like it was all over the place and wasn't what I was expecting, so I was struggling to keep interest.

Mid to late into the book, it was an easier listen, but I doubt I would ever relisten to it.

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Great story once he gets to it

Once Baime gets to Roosevelt's death the pace of the book picks up. These four months to the end of WWII are presented in a well written and enjoyable style. It really is a time like no other ever faced by a president

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Four crucial months - changes in leaders;important

Details the day-by-day calendar, thinking, decisions and challengers that faced Harry S. Truman after ascending to the Presidency of the United States on April 12, 1945. He hadn't met with President Roosevelt but twice; had no knowledge of the Manhattan Project - and was well thought of by President Roosevelt's cabinet.
Also focuses with clear-eyed realism about the negotiations surrounding the Potsdam Conference - and references decisions made at the Yalta Conference.
Fills in blanks about this period.
Well written and performed.
Epilogue continues the briefest of thumbnails about Truman during the remainder of his first term; the election of 1948; Truman and the Korean War and etc.
For those students of this period - additional knowledge and a good read.

Carl Gallozzi
cgallozzi@comcast.net

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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We love you Harry!!!

Proud to be from MO! The buck stopped with you. You listen to all opinions,but you made the final decisions! God bless you Mr. President!

2 of 6 people found this review helpful