Truman by David McCullough

This book is a case study in how extraordinary an ordinary man can be. Unlike his predecessor in the White House, Harry Truman was not a brilliant man, but he possessed character and fortitude that ultimately made him a successful president. At times the author seems to revel a little too much in how ordinary Truman was, at the expense of highlighting his outstanding qualities, but McCullough seems to see his subject as an embodiment of what is best in the American national character, a kind of virtuous American everyman. This thesis surely goes too far, but McCullough’s portrait is touchingly human, if not exactly the profile of a genius. This book was not as good as McCullough’s biography of John Adams, but it is still a landmark work of American history.

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