GROWING UP WITH MY GRANDFATHER: Memories of Harry S. Truman by Clifton Truman Daniel


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This is not a story of Harry Truman but the honest and good-humored autobiography of his grandson, a privileged young man who got into trouble and found his way out. Eldest son of Margaret Truman (daughter of Harry and Bess) and New York Times executive Clifton Daniel, the author grew up in a world of entitlement enhanced by his grandfather's preeminence. Although his parents tried to protect him from the spotlight -- Clifton only found out that his grandfather was president when he started school -- childhood memories include attending the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson and seeing the Johnsons in their pajamas at the White House the next morning. The boy and his grandparents were not close. Truman died when Clifton was 15 and more concerned with sneaking a cigarette than with the funeral. He ultimately flunked out of the University of North Carolina and moved to New York City, first attempting a career as an actor, then living with his parents and staying out nightly in search of drink and drugs. A series of small incidents turned him around, and Daniel left New York for an intern's job on a small North Carolina paper (owned by the New York Times), a stint at a rehabilitation center, and finally a wife, children, and stability. His parents have written a gracious foreword, although he criticizes them mildly but frequently for coldness and inattention through his childhood and suggests -- without rancor -- that being the grandson of a man like Harry Truman gave him more to live up to then he could handle. Packed with family anecdotes, most having no direct connection with President Truman, this book promises a lot more history -- and insight -- than it delivers.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol