Regardless of one's political bias, it would be hard to read this biography of Harry S. Truman without a sincere conviction...



Regardless of one's political bias, it would be hard to read this biography of Harry S. Truman without a sincere conviction that this is what posterity may very well say of him. Jonathan Daniels has succeeded in doing a perceptive, sympathetic and yet an objective story of the man and his role, to sustain the American democratic faith in the capacity of ordinary men to govern themselves. One might almost say that Daniels has rescued Truman from the needlings of petty criticism, in much the same measure that Sherwood rescued Harry Hopkins. And he does it -- not by fulsome praise or whitewashing, but by sincere portraiture of a man who met a challenge with magnificent modesty and clear self possession. He rebuilds the picture of Truman's early life, symbolic of those qualities that characterize American democracy; the meaning of the 1948 election is ""resounding re-emphasis of a continuing American Revolution"". The facts of his early years are familiar ones; Daniels has given them no particular re-emphasis; he has simply selected those aspects that bear on the man today and illustrate his courage, his courage, his optimism, his gift for loyalty, his stubbornness, his genius for friendship. The political conditioning- a spoke in the Pander-gast machine-barely touched him with ""guilt by association"", for his honesty was unimpeachable -- his fault that quality of loyalty. He saw Pendergast as the epitome of the business man boss. But in Washington, as Senator, he was able to make his own place, never subservient to his chief. He didn't want the post; but he made a success of it. He didn't want the Vice Presidency- but he enjoyed it. He certainly didn't want the Presidency- but he wanted to be reelected on his own record- and he went to the people for the verdict. He feels his mistaken have been those of pushing too fast, and Daniels cites his aid to Russia stand, his cancellation of Land-Lease, and other instances. These last months have shown that he possessed a unique gift for forceful expression, a determination to stand by his beliefs built out of the soil and the spirit of America. A heartening book, somehow, a good book to read when one needs to reenforce one's own faith in America.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1950

ISBN: 0826211909

Page Count: -

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1950