We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Harry S. Truman

A Life

Robert H. Ferrell

Publication Year: 1996

Published by: University of Missouri Press



pdf iconDownload PDF (32.6 KB)
pp. vii-11

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (139.1 KB)
pp. ix-xii

Harry S. Truman of Independence, Missouri, aged sixty when he took up the duties of president of the United States, was the right man for his time, an awkward era in domestic politics and a downright dangerous period in foreign relations. With much experience in domestic affairs, none in foreign,...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (123.2 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

My thanks first of all to three individuals who read the book's chapters: Robert F. Byrnes, my friend and colleague at Indiana University; William E. Foley, editor of the Missouri Biography Series; and Francis H. Heller, of the School of Law, University of Kansas-especially Francis Heller, who forty...

read more

Chapter One. Early Years

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 1-21

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in the farm village of Lamar, Missouri, 120 miles south of Kansas City. The time was four o'clock in the afternoon, the place the small white frame house of his parents. His father and mother had married two and a half years before, and Harry was the...

read more

Chapter Two. The Bank

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 22-36

After graduating from high school, Harry Truman followed a remarkably indirect course in choosing a career, until he ran for public office in the early 1920s and finally discovered what he wanted to do. The youngster, setting out on life's journey in 1901 at the age of seventeen, was led by one...

read more

Chapter Three. The Farm

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.6 MB)
pp. 37-55

The Young farm, as it was known in Grandmother Young's lifetime, afterward the Truman farm, was an impressive place. The entrance showed the size of the establishment. The farm lay along a county road next to a little cemetery, which Truman often described to visitors so they might identify the...

read more

Chapter Four. The Army

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 56-71

The decision to go into the army during World War I was the crucial event of Harry Truman's life, and he made that decision, let it be added, because he was a patriotic citizen of the United States, and not because of what the army might do for him. To be sure, he was no student of the great...

read more

Chapter Five. Boom and Bust

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 72-90

During the years from 1919 to 1922, Harry Truman ran a haberdashery in Kansas City with his army friend Eddie Jacobson. At the outset, everything seemed fine. He and Bess married, and that change in the organization of his life brought an end to the doubt that had plagued him for years. No longer...

read more

Chapter Six. County Judge [Includes Image Plates]

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.7 MB)
pp. 91-123

In the 1920s and early 1930s, Harry S. Truman was a slightly jowly man with a straight mouth and friendly eyes. His hands had lost the horned touch of the farmer; they were fleshy, almost soft--this was no farmer, so a handshaker might have thought, but a businessman, and if not that at least a city...

read more

Chapter Seven. Senator from Pendergast

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.5 MB)
pp. 124-152

When Truman ran for and received election as a United States senator from Missouri in the mid-1930s, he found himself an object of derision. People described him as the senator from Pendergast. Boss Tom himself may have inspired the remark; in an expansive moment Pendergast seems to have said...

read more

Chapter Eight. Wartime Washington

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 153-176

That Truman's second term as senator would lead straight into the presidency was hardly a foregone conclusion in the autumn of 1940, even after he had won the primary against Governor Stark and, as he liked to put it, sent Stark back to the nursery. Indeed, the very possibility of becoming...

read more

Chapter Nine. A New President

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 177-197

The story of how Harry Truman learned he was president of the United States has been told many times yet continues to hold its fascination. It is a story both of inevitability and of surprise. In the limousine on the way over to the White House, it occurred to him that the funeral of an old friend of...

read more

Chapter Ten. Ending the War

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 198-217

After the Truman administration had been assembled, its first task was to preside over the end of the war. For Europe the work was fairly easy, although after Germany's surrender another Big Three meeting became necessary, in the tradition of those attended by FDR at Teheran and Yalta. But this...

read more

Chapter Eleven. To Err Is Truman [Includes Image Plates]

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 218-245

Presidents do not have an easy time after a war. The House of Representatives impeached Abraham Lincoln's successor, and the Senate failed to convict him by a single vote. The Senate defeated Woodrow Wilson over the League of Nations and Treaty of Versailles. At the outset the American people...

read more

Chapter Twelve. A New Foreign Policy

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.9 MB)
pp. 246-267

The principal accomplishment of Harry S. Truman during his nearly eight years in the presidency was to change the foreign policy of the United States, from abstention to participation in the affairs of Europe and the world. To say such a thing after decades of participation seems almost pretentious....

read more

Chapter Thirteen. Whistle-Stop

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.4 MB)
pp. 268-284

The president's own party did not want him. In the weeks before delegates were to arrive at the Philadelphia convention, Representative James Roosevelt of California sought support for General Eisenhower, who had just become president of Columbia University. The son of FDR was beginning to...

read more

Chapter Fourteen. Fair Deal

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 285-312

The domestic reform programs of many American presidents are forgotten almost as soon as announced, but this did not happen in the case of Truman's program. Many Americans, even today, remember Roosevelt's New Deal, and the similarity of the words Truman chose, Fair Deal, helped make...

read more

Chapter Fifteen. The Korean War

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 313-336

Ina closed system like the Soviet Union, where everything depends on the judgment of a dictator, it is likely to be only a matter of time before such an individual, in his relations with other countries, makes a massive miscalculation; such we now can see is probably what happened with the Korean...

read more

Chapter Sixteen. A New Military Force

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
pp. 337-357

In the business of running the federal government Truman faced no more vexing problem than that of organizing a new military force suitable for the postwar years. The easy part of the task--though it was in no sense a task he could accomplish in a few moments, for it took intense negotiations with...

read more

Chapter Seventeen. Nadir [Includes Image Plates]

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.1 MB)
pp. 358-383

After a year or so of the Korean War, it is sad to relate, Harry Truman came close to losing control of the government of the United States. A Gallup poll in November 1951 found that his countrymen, when asked whether they approved or disapproved of his presidency, awarded him less than one-fourth...

read more

Chapter Eighteen. Retirement

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 384-401

Coming back to Independence offered the first reward of retirement. Truman vastly enjoyed the small town, where he could take morning walks and see people, tipping his hat to ladies, replying in kind to gentlemen, or look upon the houses with their well-kept front yards--grass mowed in...


pdf iconDownload PDF (4.1 MB)
pp. 403-451


pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 453-484


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 485-501

E-ISBN-13: 9780826260451
E-ISBN-10: 0826260454
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826210500
Print-ISBN-10: 0826210503

Page Count: 519
Illustrations: illus
Publication Year: 1996