The Accidental President
The dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman’s first four months in office, when this unlikely, small-town Washington outsider 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 place 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 was the prototypical ordinary man, still considered an obscure Missouri politician. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR's sudden death. At the climactic moments of the Second World War, Truman had to play judge and jury during the founding of the United Nations, the Potsdam Conference, the Manhattan Project, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, and the decision to drop the bomb and end World War II. Tightly focused, meticulously researched, and using documents not available to previous biographers, The Accidental President escorts readers into the situation room with Truman during this tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenges even higher.

The Accidental President Details

TitleThe Accidental President
Author
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139780544617346
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History, Politics, Presidents, War, World War II, Audiobook, Military Fiction, Leadership

The Accidental President Review

  • HBalikov
    January 1, 1970
    I met former President Harry S. Truman when he spent several days at my college. If you wanted to chat you could just walk up to him. The best time was early in the morning when he took his “daily constitutional” walk. Walking along with him was a great way to get to know how “down to earth” he was, and how much he valued every person.Some of that comes through strongly in Baime’s book, which has as its primary focus the four months after Truman is thrust into the job by the death of Franklin De I met former President Harry S. Truman when he spent several days at my college. If you wanted to chat you could just walk up to him. The best time was early in the morning when he took his “daily constitutional” walk. Walking along with him was a great way to get to know how “down to earth” he was, and how much he valued every person.Some of that comes through strongly in Baime’s book, which has as its primary focus the four months after Truman is thrust into the job by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It would have been a whole lot easier if FDR had taken any steps to prepare Truman for that possibility. Aside from sending him a congratulatory note on election night he did almost nothing.I have read some excellent biographies of Truman. Among them are Merle Miller’s Plain Speaking and Truman by David McCullough. I believe it was McCullough that quoted Harry’s cousin as noting that he was 'always' a late bloomer. He didn't marry until he was 35...so, why should it surprise for him to first arrive in Washington in his early 50's?Baime does fine work in describing those first months of Truman’s presidency. He also devotes a large portion of the book to Truman’s early life, army experience, etc. That, while adequately covered, is outside the scope Baime sets in his title and seems more filler than “real meat.”Yet his description of the campaign is entertaining: "The candidate’s appeal was his everyman persona. He was your neighbor, or the guy standing on line at the pharmacy, who just happened to be running for VP. Truman was “one of the most amazing stories in American democracy,” wrote one Boston Globe reporter. “It is the story of an average man, swept to dizzy heights against his will, a little bewildered by it all and doubting whether it is really true.” His message was a simple one: Now, in the climactic moments of the world war, was not the time to change chief executives."And he notes the seemingly missed irony in one of his campaign speeches when he wanted to contrast the Republican, Dewey, with Roosevelt. "In early November the train pulled into Kansas City. In front of his hometown crowd, Truman delivered the most ironic sentence of his life: “Ask yourself if you want a man with no experience to sit at the peace table with Churchill, Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek." I guess nobody thought Harry was describing himself.For a man who was practically dropped into the Presidency, Truman swam rather than sunk. The country did just fine with his leadership and he had some very tough decisions to make. I found the immediacy that Baime conveys about those few months well worthwhile, and if the rest wasn’t as eye-popping as Miller’s or McCullough’s books, well you could always read one of those as well.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    "Never had fate shoehorned so much history into such a short period." The Accidental President, A. J. BaimeHis first response was "No." Truman did not want the position of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's new Vice President.But FDR commanded it, and Harry S. Truman had to agree.FDR was not a well man when he took office for a fourth term. And when he died on April 12, 1945, Truman said, "the whole weight of the moon and stars fell on me.""Who the hell is Harry Truman?"The Accidental President b "Never had fate shoehorned so much history into such a short period." The Accidental President, A. J. BaimeHis first response was "No." Truman did not want the position of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's new Vice President.But FDR commanded it, and Harry S. Truman had to agree.FDR was not a well man when he took office for a fourth term. And when he died on April 12, 1945, Truman said, "the whole weight of the moon and stars fell on me.""Who the hell is Harry Truman?"The Accidental President by A. J. Baime focuses on Truman's first four months in the presidency, portraying Truman as an unknown 'Everyman' kept out of FDR's loop, but who quickly gained the nation's trust and approval while tackling huge challenges. He came into the job with only a layman's knowledge of international politics but scrambled to catch up. Monumental decisions awaited.Baime offers a condensed biography and profile of Truman and a detailed recreation of his first four months in the presidency. It is daunting to consider what this failed businessman with a high school degree had to contend with! His straight talking, systematic thinking, and unpretentious style was refreshing and his staff was surprised, and appreciative, of his competence.When Truman took office, the U.S. Army was fifty-seven miles from Berlin. General Dwight Eisenhower had discovered the horrors of Nazi death camps. General LeMay was ruthlessly firebombing Japan, while Japan was sending out mass suicide missions of Kamikaze pilots. Iwo Jima was captured but a third of the American landing force had died.The Soviets had suffered huge losses battling the Nazis. They wanted payback. Liberating Poland and Austria, they installed puppet regimes. Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote, "An iron curtain is drawn down upon their front."What to do with Germany had to be decided. Already the Soviets were plundering, hauling away everything they could. If the Soviets joined in war against Japan, they would want a part of Japan, too. Truman could not allow a Soviet presence in Japan.All of Central Europe's infrastructure had collapsed. Seven million persons were displaced without food or coal for heating. Children suffered from malnutrition.Yugoslavia wanted a piece of Italy. Chaing Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung had divided China. The United Nations was yet to be organized, it's future unknown.Would the U.S. recognize the new state of Israel?The American wartime economy was thriving, but what would happen when the war contracts ended and servicemen returned home?Churchill, who would soon lose his position as Prime Minister, Truman, and Stalin gathered at Potsdam. Truman need all his poker skills when facing off with Stalin. In his pocket was the upcoming test of the most terrible weapon ever known. If used against Japan, would it mean the end of civilization?Reading about this tumultuous time was exciting and disconcerting. The whole world I grew up in was determined during these first months of 1945.In his notes, Bamie states that history is a kind of myth that morphs through time as new evidence is unearthed and interpretations arise. The author spent three years sifting through original sources, diaries, and documents, ferreting out "new accession" including oral histories.I enjoyed this highly readable and informative study.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair an unbiased review.
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  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    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 i 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 Germany2. The war with Japan3. Learned about the Manhattan project. Had to decide about using the bomb on Japan.4. The founding of the United Nations5. 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. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. 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.
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  • Mark Mortensen
    January 1, 1970
    Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd U.S. President on April 12, 1945 following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first 1/3 of the book provides a background while the final 2/3 captures Truman’s first four months in office most notably as Commander-in-Chief during the final stages of World War II. When Truman took office the stage was already set for rapid historical events to unfold, but certain decisions still had to be made. The fall of Germany, the Postsdam Conference and t Harry Truman was sworn in as the 33rd U.S. President on April 12, 1945 following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first 1/3 of the book provides a background while the final 2/3 captures Truman’s first four months in office most notably as Commander-in-Chief during the final stages of World War II. When Truman took office the stage was already set for rapid historical events to unfold, but certain decisions still had to be made. The fall of Germany, the Postsdam Conference and the climactic mission of Enola Gay dropping Little Boy serve as a backdrop to Truman’s daily inner thoughts. Author A. J. Baime shows the strengths and weaknesses within the president who shunned the limelight.On a side note, in 2011 actor/screenwriter Ed Nelson and his lovely wife visited our home a few times. As a voting member of the Academy Awards he had visions for my WWI biography to be on the “Big Screen” and he would do the screenwriting. Ed was most famous for playing Dr. Michael Rossi on the TV series Peyton Place however for a few years in the mid-70’s he filled in for James Whitmore playing President Truman on stage, on the National Tour of "Give 'Em Hell, Harry". During his first visit Ed stood in our living room and performed a few segments as Truman!
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  • Italo Italophiles
    January 1, 1970
    This is a popularized history book about Harry Truman and the tumultuous first four months of his presidency. There was a lot more about Truman's history than I expected, stopping in its tracks the story of the first four months, but the background was helpful to get a measure of the man. Truman, a self-educated man who grew up in poverty, had some redeeming characteristics, such as his work ethic and his respect for knowledge and fact: “There is no substitute for a fact. When the facts are know This is a popularized history book about Harry Truman and the tumultuous first four months of his presidency. There was a lot more about Truman's history than I expected, stopping in its tracks the story of the first four months, but the background was helpful to get a measure of the man. Truman, a self-educated man who grew up in poverty, had some redeeming characteristics, such as his work ethic and his respect for knowledge and fact: “There is no substitute for a fact. When the facts are known, reasonable men do not disagree with respect to them.” He was also a white supremacist, with an all-out racist, Confederate-loving mother who was like Granny Clampet to the nth degree, two points treated too lightly in the book. The author admires Truman too much to be objective on other issues too, presenting in the end an uncritical elegy to Truman.I grew skeptical of the book when I started noticing factual errors, for example Alonzo Fields was from Indiana not Missouri, John Adams was the first president to live in the White House not George Washington. I'm not a historian, so the few errors I noticed made me think that there might be a whole lot more.The book is gossipy, readable, uncritical, full of trivia and snapshots of fascinating characters from history, but not as authoritative as I'd hoped. I received a review copy; this is my honest review.
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  • Emily Ross
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publishers for providing an ARC of this book through NetGalley.This was a brilliant biography of Truman, concerning the first four months of his presidency. It briefly covers a few months prior to Roosevelt’s death, so we understand how Truman came to make the decisions he did, and goes into depth concerning the war with Germany and the war with Japan, the Manhattan Project, the formation of the United Nations, Europe’s struggle to feed its peoples and refugees and the burgeonin Thank you to the publishers for providing an ARC of this book through NetGalley.This was a brilliant biography of Truman, concerning the first four months of his presidency. It briefly covers a few months prior to Roosevelt’s death, so we understand how Truman came to make the decisions he did, and goes into depth concerning the war with Germany and the war with Japan, the Manhattan Project, the formation of the United Nations, Europe’s struggle to feed its peoples and refugees and the burgeoning problem of Russia. This was well researched and well written. Baime is a journalist and this comes across in the writing style. He makes you feel for Truman and humanises him very well. I liked Truman before reading this book, but I like him more having read this.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    It was not until April 25, 1945 (or page 167 of A.J. Baime's "The Accidental President"), that newly inaugurated president Harry Truman was told about the US development of the atomic bomb. That was nearly two weeks after Truman succeeded Franklin Roosevelt, who had died on April 12th. (I'm not exactly sure, but I think the Soviets may have known about the bomb before Truman did because of the spying done at Los Alamos.) Why hadn't Truman, who had been Vice-President since January 20, 1945, been It was not until April 25, 1945 (or page 167 of A.J. Baime's "The Accidental President"), that newly inaugurated president Harry Truman was told about the US development of the atomic bomb. That was nearly two weeks after Truman succeeded Franklin Roosevelt, who had died on April 12th. (I'm not exactly sure, but I think the Soviets may have known about the bomb before Truman did because of the spying done at Los Alamos.) Why hadn't Truman, who had been Vice-President since January 20, 1945, been let into the loop?A.J. Baime covers this and lots more in his book, "The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World". It's a book that concentrates on a short time in history, but gives the reader the full story of how that period of time relates to the periods that came before and after. He writes a short bio of Truman and his family before moving into his nomination as Vice-President (the voting was actually done on the floor of the Democratic convention, different from today when the Presidential candidate selects his running mate and a perfunctory floor vote is taken). Truman was considered a dark horse and underestimated by those who didn't know him - like Franklin Roosevelt - but he was much respected by his peers in the Senate. His formation in 1941 of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program boosted his national profile a bit, but he was still an unknown quantity by the American public, shocked and saddened after Roosevelt's sudden death.Baime covers the Allied meeting at Potsdam, the decision to drop the two atomic bombs, and the early formation of the United Nations, among other topics. But most of all, Baime examines Harry Truman, the man and the statesman and how the challenges of his "accidental presidency" were met and exceeded.A.J. Baime's book is one of the best history books I've read. He's an easy writer and his words seem to flow on the page.
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  • Brent McGregor
    January 1, 1970
    Right Man, Right TimeHarry S Truman has been one of the most forgotten presidents of the 20th Century. Standing in the shadow of FDR, it's easy to see why. But my cynicism of FDR is well founded, especially when in his 4th term the events of his hapless arrogance threw this nobody from Independence, MO. into what under his leadership became the most powerful position in the wold.To think that it was Truman who led America into the position as the greatest superpower the world has ever seen shoul Right Man, Right TimeHarry S Truman has been one of the most forgotten presidents of the 20th Century. Standing in the shadow of FDR, it's easy to see why. But my cynicism of FDR is well founded, especially when in his 4th term the events of his hapless arrogance threw this nobody from Independence, MO. into what under his leadership became the most powerful position in the wold.To think that it was Truman who led America into the position as the greatest superpower the world has ever seen should be something to consider.Many say that FDR got us through the war; but I think it was the media that did, whose agenda FDR carefully adhered to.It was Truman as a senator who really prepared America for entry into a war where their participation dealt the final blow to the Axis powers.The investigations that Truman launched revealed staggering corruption and theft. We begin to see that FDR was not a man who could make tough unpopular choices but rather followed his political nose.The trouble with the Soviets was Truman's first confrontation over a lackadaisical former presidency that let Stalin trample agreements which would cost millions blood and treasure. Truman's confrontation with Molotov was classic (no spoilers) and my already growing admiration for Truman went sky high.The later decisions that Truman had to make based on just a few weeks of briefings reveal a man able to assimilate complex international situations and distill their most important elements while rapidly making critical decisions.I was amazed at how sound his judgement was.And the press loved him (mostly). His straight shooting, no nonsense, everyman way was a welcome breath of fresh air. His ability to answer questions immediately and clearly outstripped anything FDR was capable of, and everyone knew it.The bulk of the book is spent covering the deteriorating relationship between the US and USSR. It is totally obvious to us today that Stalin's spies had infiltrated the US in areas we're still finding out about, but most important was our top secret military research. The race for the atomic bomb became more important than winning the war against Japan since it was obvious that the USSR was nearing the end of their A-bomb development. We also were completely aware that a thug like Stalin would not hesitate to use it without discretion.That was where a Truman presidency, accidental or not, was what kept the US on the right side of history.Truman's home life is lightly covered since Bess was very shy of any attention. One gains an immediate sympathy for a woman whose modesty was assaulted by an ever growing public curiosity.Neither Harry or Bess ever expected this, but thank god he was there.
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  • Zora
    January 1, 1970
    Very well written and researched, with vivid scenes and one detail about the bomb that was new to me. (Hard to do...I've read quite a bit about it)Considering who is president as I write this, it's a bit depressing, but that's not the author's fault!
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  • Noah Goats
    January 1, 1970
    When Harry Truman became president upon the death of FDR, he was stepping into the shoes of the most revered politician of the 20th century. Roosevelt was deeply loved by most Americans and had been president so long that many of the soldiers fighting in Europe and the Pacific couldn't remember a time when any one else was president. Truman, on the other hand, was a relative nobody. He was a fairly obscure Missourian who was picked to be vice president mainly because nobody hated him enough to o When Harry Truman became president upon the death of FDR, he was stepping into the shoes of the most revered politician of the 20th century. Roosevelt was deeply loved by most Americans and had been president so long that many of the soldiers fighting in Europe and the Pacific couldn't remember a time when any one else was president. Truman, on the other hand, was a relative nobody. He was a fairly obscure Missourian who was picked to be vice president mainly because nobody hated him enough to object to his nomination.And yet, in his first four months in office this nobody would be faced with huge events and daunting problems. These included the fall of Germany, the Potsdam conference, the growing chill in relations with the Russians, the formation of the UN, and, of course, the decision to use the atomic bomb (a weapon he had not even known was being developed until he became president). Truman didn't have FDR's self assurance and charisma, but he was as honest, hard working, decisive, and decent a president as this country has ever had, and he used his virtues to provide solid leadership through all this turbulence.A.J. Baime (who also wrote Go Like Hell, a fantastic book about Ford's successful efforts to defeat Ferrari at Le Mons) has written a very engaging account of this president and his eventful first four months in office.
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  • Peter Goodman
    January 1, 1970
    “The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the four months that changed the world,” by A. J. Baime (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). And four months it is. I don’t even mind the subtitle. Baime provides essential background: Truman actually saw combat in WWI; his failed businesses; his true farm upbringing. It was his absolute honesty and integrity that brought him to the attention of Tom Pendergast, who ran Kansas City. Truman had no interest in politics, but he turned out to be a good jud “The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the four months that changed the world,” by A. J. Baime (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). And four months it is. I don’t even mind the subtitle. Baime provides essential background: Truman actually saw combat in WWI; his failed businesses; his true farm upbringing. It was his absolute honesty and integrity that brought him to the attention of Tom Pendergast, who ran Kansas City. Truman had no interest in politics, but he turned out to be a good judge (he paved the roads in his county) and a good man to have around. He had to be coaxed into everything: he did not want to senator, and there were four others with better shots. But he ran a good campaign and won. Once in the Senate he was quiet but did good work, especially with the Truman Commission that uncovered corruption and incompetence in the factories beginning to build war materiel. He did not expect, and did not want, to be vice president. But Roosevelt decided to back him, and so he joined FDR’s ticket in 1944. Everyone in DC knew Roosevelt was dying, and they joked about the VP becoming the president. But not seriously. As VP he had absolutely nothing to do. The few times he actually met the president he was shocked at how ill Roosevelt was. Then, President! (btw, his mother thought it was all ridiculous and his wife, Bess, absolutely hated life in DC and all the tumult that went with it. But suddenly Harry S. Truman was president, and Baime says---and demonstrates---that the four months between his accession and the end of WWII were among the most challenging and crucial times in American history. During that period, Truman became extremely popular. He was actually a man of the people: he would skip out of the White House for a walk, and the secret service had to scramble after him. He wrote checks to pay his bills. He wrote and spoke with his mother and wife constantly. He was not a good speaker, but he was clear, concise, succinct and plain-spoken. He liked to make decisions, and he made them fast. Much of what is here is fairly well-known, but Baime has access to newly released documents, and combs through obscure newspaper accounts for added detail. Two major things: the beginnings of conflict with the USSR, and the decision to drop the bomb. The Russians had already started breaking the Yalta accords, specifically about Poland, before FDR’s death. That accelerated. Truman was very nervous about the Potsdam meetings---the failed haberdasher from Missouri negotiating with two titans, Churchill and Stalin. He more than held his own, and talked bluntly with the Russians in ways they were not accustomed to hearing. He did get one important promise: the USSR would go to war with Japan on Aug. 15. Finally, it became clear that the USSR would never permit free societies in its orbit, and wanted to keep expanding. So while there was not yet an open break, it was visible on the horizon. As for the bomb: Truman had no idea it was being planning until days after his inauguration. But he picked up what it might mean very quickly. He delayed the Potsdam conference (against Churchill’s wishes) until after the test that showed the bomb worked. Using meeting minutes and later memoirs, Baime describes in great detail the debate over how and whether to use it. There was a letter from a group of distinguished scientists urging against its use, but Truman never saw the letter. They considered giving a demonstration, but decided that was not a good idea. Truman wanted to make sure the bomb was used before the Soviets got into the war (turns out, when the second bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki, on Aug. 6; they broke their own timetable and invaded Manchuria on Aug. 8). By the time the war ended, Truman was one of the most popular presidents in the history of the United States. Baime makes the argument that he was in fact, heroic. Solid book, but those little annoying editing errors keep popping up. For example, in describing the cruiser USS Augusta, he says “its beam [rises] 66 feet.” Beam is a measure of width, not height. (fwiw, Baime is an executive editor at Playboy.)https://www.hmhco.com/bookstore/autho...
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  • Brian Williams
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a readable account of the initial several months of the Truman presidency, from April 1945 through to the Japanese surrender in September 1945. It’s scholarly without being stuffy.The first chapter details President Roosevelt’s failing health and his last day alive, April 12, 1945. Truman is promptly brought to the White House where Eleanor Roosevelt tells him of FDR’s death. Shortly thereafter he is sworn in as president. The next chapter is the obligatory m I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a readable account of the initial several months of the Truman presidency, from April 1945 through to the Japanese surrender in September 1945. It’s scholarly without being stuffy.The first chapter details President Roosevelt’s failing health and his last day alive, April 12, 1945. Truman is promptly brought to the White House where Eleanor Roosevelt tells him of FDR’s death. Shortly thereafter he is sworn in as president. The next chapter is the obligatory mini-biography which recounts Truman’s early life and how he came to be Vice-President in the 1944 election. He was never part of FDR’s inner circle and was essentially ignored by FDR after he assumed the vice-presidency. He was blissfully ignorant of what was going on when he took on the presidency. He faced a steep learning curve – it was almost perpendicular—but he quickly found his footing. One needs to really give him a lot of credit.After the book’s introductory chapters, readers follow Truman’s progress as he learns the challenges of the job and the problems facing the nation (and the world). The author tells the story in a straightforward way, chronologically, month-by-month. The major events include the closure of the war in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the machinations over ending war with Japan and most importantly, the development of the atomic bomb. The author relies on original sources such as letters, minutes from meetings, official reports and so on to advance the story (there’s extensive end notes citing his sources).Highly recommended for students of US history and geopolitics.I receive a copy of the book through Netgalley in exchange for an objective review.
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  • Terri Wangard
    January 1, 1970
    I like Harry. This is a great story focusing primarily on the four months between his ascendency to the presidency and the end of the war. His earlier life is covered, though, with particular attention to his brief tenure as vice president. He knew when he met with the obviously ailing FDR that he would not remain the vice president for long.Truman’s style is contrasted with FDR’s. He came into the presidency totally unprepared, but I suspect he did a better job than Roosevelt would have. Roosev I like Harry. This is a great story focusing primarily on the four months between his ascendency to the presidency and the end of the war. His earlier life is covered, though, with particular attention to his brief tenure as vice president. He knew when he met with the obviously ailing FDR that he would not remain the vice president for long.Truman’s style is contrasted with FDR’s. He came into the presidency totally unprepared, but I suspect he did a better job than Roosevelt would have. Roosevelt was too willing to acquiesce to Stalin, whereas Truman stood firm.One huge difference between Truman and his predecessor was how they dealt with their cabinets. Roosevelt enjoyed causing discord among the cabinet members and watching them bicker. How can you efficiently run a government that way? Truman surrounded himself with a team that would work together. He didn’t ramble on at meetings as FDR had, but got to the point and moved on, to the astonishment of the cabinet members.Truman didn’t have the formal education expected of a president, but he was widely read, and his very ordinariness is what made him great.
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  • Harley
    January 1, 1970
    Years ago a workshop facilitator asked the group I was in: "Who was president when you were born?" I like most of the people in the class had no idea. The thought had never occurred to me. When I discovered it was Harry S. Truman, I began to read books, eight in all, about him including the comprehensive Truman by David McCullough. I have even read the boring Meeting at Potsdam by Charles Mee. I was not expecting to learn anything new about Truman and was surprised when I did.The Accidental Pres Years ago a workshop facilitator asked the group I was in: "Who was president when you were born?" I like most of the people in the class had no idea. The thought had never occurred to me. When I discovered it was Harry S. Truman, I began to read books, eight in all, about him including the comprehensive Truman by David McCullough. I have even read the boring Meeting at Potsdam by Charles Mee. I was not expecting to learn anything new about Truman and was surprised when I did.The Accidental President is a surprisingly exciting book to read. Baime takes the reader through the first four months of Truman's presidency. He faced challenges that few, if any, presidents have faced upon taking office. The U.S. was fighting a war on two fronts in Europe and in Asia. He was thrown into negotiations with two savvy politicians, Churchill and Stalin, over the fate of Europe. He learned about the development of the atomic bomb and had to make a decision about whether to drop the bomb or not.People often say that Truman was unprepared to be President. He had only been in the Senate for two terms. Truman was never in Roosevelt's inner circle and Roosevelt kept him in the dark after he was Vice-President. He became President with little knowledge of what was transpiring in the international arena. Yet, Truman was prepared in several ways. He was a student of history and what other leaders had done in difficult situations. He was a decision-maker and did not hesitate to make the difficult decisions. He had a natural instinct for politics. He also had a strong moral character, yet knew when to.Baime opens the book by taking us through the day when Roosevelt died and Truman stepped into his shoes. He follows this up with a section that shares to story of who Truman was and where he came from. Even in this section, I learned somethings about Truman I was unaware of. Baime then proceeds to walk us through the riveting first four months of Truman's presidency and the challenges he faced. I highly recommend this book to anyone in business who finds himself in the midst of a crisis. I also recommend the book to anyone interested in politics, history and the presidency.
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  • James Scheid
    January 1, 1970
    An eloquently written non fiction history of the momentous first four months of the Truman presidency. Truman met with FDR only twice and knew he would be president at some point due to FDR's visible declining health. He had to learn on the job but worked hard to become informed. The book reads like a moderately paced thriller because of the events that occurred between April and August 1945. The defeat of the Nazis, the Potsdam Conference, the fear of another world war due to Soviet expansionis An eloquently written non fiction history of the momentous first four months of the Truman presidency. Truman met with FDR only twice and knew he would be president at some point due to FDR's visible declining health. He had to learn on the job but worked hard to become informed. The book reads like a moderately paced thriller because of the events that occurred between April and August 1945. The defeat of the Nazis, the Potsdam Conference, the fear of another world war due to Soviet expansionism in Eastern Europe, the fear of economic chaos as thousands upon thousands of our soldiers came home from the war and looking for work and of course the dropping of the atomic bombs. The author presents the views of those who opposed the bombs use (Eisenhower was one of them), but concludes that Truman was justified. Even if you disagree with his conclusions, don't deprive yourself of this thoughtfully written historical "thriller". I felt as if I was present and experienced the events portrayed. That is what is called a "Great Read".
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  • Jim Zubricky
    January 1, 1970
    A super quick read, but chock-full of details that focus on the first four months of Truman's presidency. I loved David McCullough's definitive biography on Truman, but this book was outstanding. Well written, engaging. Wonderful!
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    There are many biographies of Harry Truman, but I especially liked this one because it focuses on a single time period, the four months from FDR's death to the end of the war with Japan. In between those events were several other world-changing events, too, including Germany's surrender, the chartering of the United Nations, the Potsdam Conference (during which Churchill was replaced by Attlee as Britain's Prime Minister), the testing of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, and of course, its use at H There are many biographies of Harry Truman, but I especially liked this one because it focuses on a single time period, the four months from FDR's death to the end of the war with Japan. In between those events were several other world-changing events, too, including Germany's surrender, the chartering of the United Nations, the Potsdam Conference (during which Churchill was replaced by Attlee as Britain's Prime Minister), the testing of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, and of course, its use at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Well-researched and very interesting.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    What a pleasure to pick a book to listen to and find it to be outstanding. I knew this book would be interesting but Blaime tells a compelling story in a fast-paced way. High school educated, failed businessman, possibly machine politician Harry S Truman becomes President on FDR’s death on April 12, 1945. He then faces four of probably the most consequential months the President, Nation and World may have ever faced: VE Day, the atomic bomb, VJ Day, the Potsdam Conference (which launched the Col What a pleasure to pick a book to listen to and find it to be outstanding. I knew this book would be interesting but Blaime tells a compelling story in a fast-paced way. High school educated, failed businessman, possibly machine politician Harry S Truman becomes President on FDR’s death on April 12, 1945. He then faces four of probably the most consequential months the President, Nation and World may have ever faced: VE Day, the atomic bomb, VJ Day, the Potsdam Conference (which launched the Cold War and the Arms Race), the beginnings of converting the US economy from war to peace, and so much more. All through this Truman handles things remarkably well. Blaime gets us into Truman’s state of mind and lets the reader know about those around Truman. Really remarkable.I’d like someone to write a book in which Truman meets Trump. Give ‘em Hell Harry meets The Donald. The Buck Stops Here vs. Don’t Blame Me. I think Truman’s feeling would be: he’s an SOB (a common feeling he had about a lot of people). Perhaps politics are inappropriate here but the possibilities are endless and fun to think about.
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  • Timothy
    January 1, 1970
    Truman had his work cut out for him taking over the Presidency in 1945...he was more than up to the task. The sort of "every man" President we won't see again. I enjoyed Baime's look at an eventful four months.
  • Pirate
    January 1, 1970
    In my humble opinion I have always felt Harry S Truman man and LBJ were two of the great US presidents and two of the most maligned or under-rated. The latter because of the plethora of books glorifying and ridiculously romanticising the 'Camelot' era that preceded him before JFK was assassinated, the former because well FDR set a super high bar. There is a nice anecdote -- one of many in this wonderful beautifully written book -- on FDR that you could tell if he was in a good mood if his cigare In my humble opinion I have always felt Harry S Truman man and LBJ were two of the great US presidents and two of the most maligned or under-rated. The latter because of the plethora of books glorifying and ridiculously romanticising the 'Camelot' era that preceded him before JFK was assassinated, the former because well FDR set a super high bar. There is a nice anecdote -- one of many in this wonderful beautifully written book -- on FDR that you could tell if he was in a good mood if his cigarette in its holder was turned up and if he was in a bad humour it would be pointing down from his lips. Harry S (the latter stood for nothing though at his rushed swearing in after FDR died the judge mistakenly inserted Shipp only to be corrected by Harry) Truman had just two meetings with FDR after he was surprisingly the latter's choice for VP ....FDR's long-time chief of staff Admiral Leahy reflected a lot of Americans opinion when he remarked 'who the hell is Harry S Truman?' He was not even privy to the momentous development of the atom bomb but it was to fall on his shoulders as to whether to use it or not. Truman himself plaintively said to the press when he became president 'Last night the whole weight of the moon and the stars pressed down on me..pray for me.' Oppenheimer the lead on the nuclear bomb opined that 'Roosevelt had been a great architect he hoped Truman would be a good carpenter.' Well AJ Baime clearly shows that Truman -- who had never succeeded in business and had been mentored in Missouri by a party boss who ended up in prison -- he was more than a good carpenter he was also a very fine cool-headed no frills architect unafraid of taking tough decisions and not in the least intimidated by Uncle Joe Stalin. Candid with the press to a fault he remarked on the boat back to the US after Potsdam that Stalin was an 'SOB' but that the Soviet strongman probably thought the same of him. A truly remarkable man -- surprised many by tinkling away at the piano at parties, loved a poker session etc -- who in the light of contemplating horrific US casualties in an invasion of Japan gave the go ahead to drop 'Little Boy' and Fat Man follows days later. The Marshall Plan was to follow as indeed the UN for all its faults commenced under his presidency -- he vetoed if you will the USSR's desire for one of the major powers to wield the veto against any motion it did not like -- and much more. One could go on and on but thankfully I will stop only to say this is a truly brilliant encapsulation of the first few momentous months of his presidency. How an unknown from Middle America -- who like his hero Andrew Jackson ascended from the 'log cabin to the White House' -- and despite his wife disliking being thrust into the public eye and never gaining his mother-in-law's approval he proved more than capable of the huge onus placed on him.Always equipped with a bon mot he remarked as he left the 'Great White Jail' for the last time 'I have always wondered whether the nation and the world would have been much better off if Harry S Truman instead of being president of the USA had been a piano player in a bawdy house.' Self deprecatory to the end but perhaps the best assessment of his achievements is summed up by this tribute from White House Press Secretary Jonathan Daniels: "Americans felt leaderless when Roosevelt died. Truman taught them, as one of them, that their greatness lies inside them."
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  • John Plowright
    January 1, 1970
    Albert Baime’s ‘The Accidental President’ is a portrait of Truman during the first four months of his administration, from FDR’s death on 12 April 1945 until 14 August 1945, when Japan’s surrender was made public. The book is dedicated to the author’s father “who … kept a portrait of Harry S. Truman on his office wall for more than forty years”, and it is soon evident that the younger Baime shares his father’s admiration of the 33rd President.There is, it has to be said, a great deal to admire a Albert Baime’s ‘The Accidental President’ is a portrait of Truman during the first four months of his administration, from FDR’s death on 12 April 1945 until 14 August 1945, when Japan’s surrender was made public. The book is dedicated to the author’s father “who … kept a portrait of Harry S. Truman on his office wall for more than forty years”, and it is soon evident that the younger Baime shares his father’s admiration of the 33rd President.There is, it has to be said, a great deal to admire about Truman as man and politician but although Baime acknowledges that opinion regarding his period in office is deeply polarized he gives very short shrift to any contemporary (such as Admiral Leahy) or any historian who has the temerity to be at all critical of his hero.This is most obvious in relation to Truman’s most controversial decision, to drop the Bomb on Hiroshima, with Baime aligning himself with those historians like Alonzo Hamby, Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, who regard the decision as wholly warranted on military grounds, and rejecting those historians like Gar Alperovitz who regard the decision as motivated as much by the desire to exercise leverage against the Soviets as to force Japan’s surrender. ‘Ignoring’ might actually be a better word than ‘rejecting’: Alperovitz’s sole formal appearance in the book is tucked away in one of its 358 footnotes, and then only as the source of a quotation from Joseph Grew.Moreover, Baime’s arguments are sometimes weak. He tells the reader, for example, that “almost every advisor to Truman recommended the bomb’s use at the time”. Even if this were true (and I would contend that it ignores, for example, those nuclear scientists who were denied the opportunity to express their doubts directly to Truman), it wouldn’t validate his decision. The crucifixion of Jesus was almost universally applauded at the time but that doesn't make it right.But if Baume’s book lacks balance and nuance, its 134,000 words read very well and present an appealing account of Truman as an individual. The book certainly has narrative pace and a strong thesis, the only problem is that, in my opinion, that thesis in relation to Hiroshima is an untenable one.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    It is not until April 25, 1945 (or page 167 of A.J. Baime's "The Accidental President), that newly inaugurated president Harry Truman was told about the US development of the atomic bomb. That was nearly two weeks after Truman succeeded Franklin Roosevelt, who had died on April 12th. (I'm not exactly sure, but I think the Soviets may have known about the bomb before Truman did because of the spying done at Los Alamos.) Why hadn't Truman, who had been Vice-President since January 20, 1945, been l It is not until April 25, 1945 (or page 167 of A.J. Baime's "The Accidental President), that newly inaugurated president Harry Truman was told about the US development of the atomic bomb. That was nearly two weeks after Truman succeeded Franklin Roosevelt, who had died on April 12th. (I'm not exactly sure, but I think the Soviets may have known about the bomb before Truman did because of the spying done at Los Alamos.) Why hadn't Truman, who had been Vice-President since January 20, 1945, been let into the loop?A.J. Baime covers this and lots more in his book, "The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World". It's a book that concentrates on a short time in history, but gives the reader the full story of how that period of time relates to the periods that came before and after. He writes a short bio of Truman and his family before moving into his nomination as Vice-President (the voting was actually done on the floor of the Democratic convention, different from today when the Presidential candidate selects his running mate and a perfunctory floor vote is taken). Truman was considered a dark horse and underestimated by those who didn't know him - like Franklin Roosevelt - but he was much respected by his peers in the Senate. His formation in 1941 of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program boosted his national profile a bit, but he was still an unknown quantity by the American public, shocked and saddened after Roosevelt's sudden death.Baime covers the Allied meeting at Potsdam, the decision to drop the two atomic bombs, and the early formation of the United Nations, among other topics. But most of all, Baime examines Harry Truman, the man and the statesman and how the challenges of his "accidental presidency" were met and exceeded..A.J. Baime's book is one of the best history books I've read. He's an easy writer and his words seem to flow on the page.
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  • Sheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, it’s another Truman book, and yes, I drove my family crazy talking about it. But there’s very good reason behind my slight obsession: the first four months of Truman’s presidency are widely — and accurately — regarded as the most intense, most eventful of any presidency in US history. Every day — literally every damn day — brought a new historically significant event. So much of the past 73 years has its roots in this critical point in world history, and the human side of it is utterly fasc Yes, it’s another Truman book, and yes, I drove my family crazy talking about it. But there’s very good reason behind my slight obsession: the first four months of Truman’s presidency are widely — and accurately — regarded as the most intense, most eventful of any presidency in US history. Every day — literally every damn day — brought a new historically significant event. So much of the past 73 years has its roots in this critical point in world history, and the human side of it is utterly fascinating. The Accidental President focuses on the four months from FDR’s death to the day that Japan surrendered. Within that time frame, the Cold War, the Korean War, the age of nuclear power, the Communist Revolution in China, the splitting of North and South Korea, the dividing up of East and West Germany, the creation of the Eastern Block, and shortly thereafter, the recognition of the state of Israel take place. The seeds of our modern state of affairs were sown during this extraordinary time period. The book is written exceptionally well, and puts you right in the middle of the action. I was on the edge of my seat as the Enola Gay (named for an unknowing pilot’s unlucky mother!) took off on her awful mission. It’s one thing to know what happened; it’s quite another to live it through the words of those who did. The sheer power of the bombs were remarkable: the light from the explosion could be seen 180 miles away, and windows shattered 125 miles away. Just imagine! Read this book — especially if you’re not going to read the 1,200 page McCullough book about Truman (though you should read that too!) If you’re anything like me, all the “that’s just how the world is” beliefs that you have will dissipate and you’ll see that everything flows from the world wars.
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  • P.e. lolo
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic book about the early days of Truman becoming President after only three months of being Vice President. He did not know of anything that had been going on with FDR and his administration or with any plans for either of the plans for the war or after. He needed to be brought up to speed on the war with Germany, and in the Pacific. With the Manhattan project, and the plans for after the war. He was not made aware of the agreements that were made with Stalin until the War with Germany w A fantastic book about the early days of Truman becoming President after only three months of being Vice President. He did not know of anything that had been going on with FDR and his administration or with any plans for either of the plans for the war or after. He needed to be brought up to speed on the war with Germany, and in the Pacific. With the Manhattan project, and the plans for after the war. He was not made aware of the agreements that were made with Stalin until the War with Germany was winding down. He felt that if he went against those agreements that it would cause more conflict, he did not have the time to think about long term because we were still fighting in the Pacific and with the amount of men lost on Okinawa the estimate of men needed for invasion of Japan had risen, so had the projection of loss of life. Now he had to make a decision on other to use the atomic bomb or not. This was a decision that he took lightly, but one he made for what he felt would save American lives in the long run. What I can personally say about that decision is that my father with the 82nd Airborne was getting ready to board a plane to go to the Pacific and they were told to stand down. He and his fellow troopers were happy for they had been fighting for over a year, some longer. It would be later that he discovered about the bomb. This book is great in the fact that you get the early history of Truman’s life, but you see the inner workings of what happened after FDR passed and how he not only responded to his death but how he became a President you had to make some of the biggest decisions one man needed to make. An excellent book and I have read other Truman bios. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    In reading this book and The Last 100 Days of FDR by David B Woolner we have a view of a dramatic and eventful period for the US and world affairs. I was particularly interested in why FDR decided to run for a 4th term when his health was failing and he died less than 30 days after his swearing in! What kind of medical advice was he getting to encourage him to persevere and did an aura of invincibility and responsibility drive him forward?For Harry Truman, plucked out by the democratic conventio In reading this book and The Last 100 Days of FDR by David B Woolner we have a view of a dramatic and eventful period for the US and world affairs. I was particularly interested in why FDR decided to run for a 4th term when his health was failing and he died less than 30 days after his swearing in! What kind of medical advice was he getting to encourage him to persevere and did an aura of invincibility and responsibility drive him forward?For Harry Truman, plucked out by the democratic convention as VP after a middling career while bypassing James Byrnes who had functioned as Assistant President to FDR. HST entered the Presidency virtually in the dark as to issues. Yet the author gives us Harry's first 100 days that reads like a thriller! What issues facing this new President - military matters mostly well in hand by experienced soldiers and sailors but still active fighting on two major fronts, Soviet Russia pouring into Eastern Europe with Western concerns over the fate of Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia; Greece's communist uprising; the disposition of defeated Germany; the Pacific War and United Nations planning. Then dealing with knowledge of an Atomic Bomb, whether or not it would work and if it did should the US use it to bring Japan to surrender. Experts were predicting up to 2 million casualties in an invasion of Japan, Add in China, Russian entry into the was with Japan, preparing for an industrial wind down of the military armaments industry, a three party conference in Potsdam all leaves you with a bewildering series of issues and decisions that HST faced.What a time and what a man!
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    The first book I can recall about reading about Harry Truman, And so far the best book I have read on the subject matter. Harry Truman was the Vice President of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman took over the office of President of the United States when Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia. Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency during the last four months of World War II and had big shoes to fill. the final events of World War II was the fall of Berlin on April 29, 1945, whe The first book I can recall about reading about Harry Truman, And so far the best book I have read on the subject matter. Harry Truman was the Vice President of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman took over the office of President of the United States when Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia. Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency during the last four months of World War II and had big shoes to fill. the final events of World War II was the fall of Berlin on April 29, 1945, when Soviet, British, and American troops invaded the city and the next day Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker. Despite the war in Europe ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, The Pacific War was still raging. Harry Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, The United States dropped the Little Boy on Hiroshima, Japan. Days later on August 9, 1945, The Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The destruction and deaths on both of these cities forced the Japanese to surrender on August 14 and the terms of surrender were signed on September 2, 1945 on the deck of the U.S. battleship, USS Missouri at Tokyo Bay ending World War II. Truman grew up in rural Missouri and served as a captain in the United States Army during World War I and commanded Company D. Interesting side note: On November 11, 1918, World War I ended. While more than 5 million Allied soldiers were killed, including roughly 117,000 Americans, Truman's Battery D never lost a single man.
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  • Jonathan L. Swain
    January 1, 1970
    There is so much to dig into on the nearly eight years of Harry Truman's presidency, but what I love about this book is that it zeros in on his first four months. The author very effectively positions the period as probably the most pivotal weeks in shaping not just the rest of the 20th Century, but even the world we live in today. He also shows with much color and observation from contemporaries the emergence of Truman as a leader no one knew or expected. To say it's remarkable that any human c There is so much to dig into on the nearly eight years of Harry Truman's presidency, but what I love about this book is that it zeros in on his first four months. The author very effectively positions the period as probably the most pivotal weeks in shaping not just the rest of the 20th Century, but even the world we live in today. He also shows with much color and observation from contemporaries the emergence of Truman as a leader no one knew or expected. To say it's remarkable that any human could pivot so quickly from a sidelined vice president (which he'd only been for a few weeks) to a world leader going head-to-head with Stalin, Churchill and others, is an understatement. What we see in A.J. Baime's book is how one man was compelled into a role that no one can truly prepare for, under the most complex and consequential of circumstances, and proved to be one of our nation's most effective leaders -- of his time and in our history. Baime also takes a substantive look at questions around Truman's leadership style (his desire to quickly make decisions and move forward) and the impact of his decisions (to this day, we are the only nation to have ever used an atomic bomb on another nation). Baime certainly raises our respect and understanding of Truman himself, while also showing us that even the best of our leaders were never perfect, nor were their decisions so clearly right that they can't be questioned, considered and reconsidered in retrospect.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free PDF copy of The Accidental President by A. J. Baime courtesy of Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of biographies about the Presidents of the United States including Harry Truman.  This is the firs I received a free PDF copy of The Accidental President by A. J. Baime courtesy of Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of biographies about the Presidents of the United States including Harry Truman.  This is the first book by A. J. Baime that I have read.This was an interesting read from the perspective that it focused on the first four months that Truman served as President following the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It does provide some background on Truman that helps in providing some depth to the man if you have not read any of the other numerous biographies on him. I would also suggest that the publisher have an editor who has an understanding of history work with the author, who is not a historian, as there were some glaring historical mistakes.The book itself is a quick read and does provide some insight into Truman's first four months in office, but with not as much detail as I would have liked. In addition, the author appears to be a huge fan of Truman which causes him to gloss over any rough spots in his character.I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick read on a specific part of Truman's presdidency.
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  • Joseph McNeely
    January 1, 1970
    As a person who reads a lot of books on the presidency and history, this is the first book that I've read that dealt specifically with Harry Truman. My father has always admired Truman as one of our greatest presidents but I understood why. Reading this book, I now see why. Even though this just deals with his first months in office, this book paints a very good picture of Truman during a time where great leadership was needed. Ascending to the office after the death if Franklin Roosevelt, Truma As a person who reads a lot of books on the presidency and history, this is the first book that I've read that dealt specifically with Harry Truman. My father has always admired Truman as one of our greatest presidents but I understood why. Reading this book, I now see why. Even though this just deals with his first months in office, this book paints a very good picture of Truman during a time where great leadership was needed. Ascending to the office after the death if Franklin Roosevelt, Truman in put in an unenviable position and he passes with flying colors especially considering his background. A dirt poor farmer who didn't want fame or even the presidency, Truman none the less rose from a very humble background to make one if not the most important decision a president has ever had to make. And he made it with conviction, authority and against the advice of people who were involved in politics much longer then he was. A top notch book for me and I will definitely be reading more about Truman.
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  • Brooke
    January 1, 1970
    First things first: I need a film adaptation of this book starring Mark Rylance as Truman ASAP!It was never going to be easy to follow FDR, especially unexpectedly and while in the midst of a world war. Enter Harry Truman, Missouri everyman. Although the least-likely candidate for the job, in hindsight he was perhaps the best. Despite the book's length, Baime focuses on the first four months of Truman's presidency, from FDR's sudden death, to keeping up with Stalin and Churchill at Potsdam, to t First things first: I need a film adaptation of this book starring Mark Rylance as Truman ASAP!It was never going to be easy to follow FDR, especially unexpectedly and while in the midst of a world war. Enter Harry Truman, Missouri everyman. Although the least-likely candidate for the job, in hindsight he was perhaps the best. Despite the book's length, Baime focuses on the first four months of Truman's presidency, from FDR's sudden death, to keeping up with Stalin and Churchill at Potsdam, to the dropping of the atomic bombs. A suspenseful narrative style keeps the history from getting too dry. I would have liked Baime to explore the rationale and moral implications behind Truman's momentous, yet necessary, decisions (for instance, Baime followed up Truman's sudden halt of the lend-lease program -- an essential source of food for millions of Europeans -- with an explanation that Truman simply liked to make quick decisions). However, the book is a good overview of the Truman's navigation of the stormy political waters at the start of his presidency.
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