MEMOIRS: Vol. II: YEARS OF TRIAL AND HOPE by Harry S. Truman
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MEMOIRS: Vol. II: YEARS OF TRIAL AND HOPE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Many readers found Vol. I- YEAR OF DECISIONS uneven in its interest, naive in its handling. Almost no reader will fail to find Vol. II unfailingly absorbing. The method is quite different. While the broad outline is chronological as Mr. Truman follows the major issues of his administration, the substance is approached issue by issue. There are the domestic problems:- atomic energy; the Taft-Hartley Act; universal military training; problems of security; the Brannan farm plan and his own goals in agriculture- hamstrung by Congress; the post-war procedures in atomic energy and the decision about the hydrogen bomb; the seizure of the steel mills; the issue of the Truman off-shore oil bill and the overriding of the veto; and, midway, the pattern of the political campaign and the election. Throughout, as the issues developed, foreign affairs take form:- the China situation, from the attempt to bring about cooperation within China's divided forces, the failure of Marshall's efforts, the subsequent expulsion of Chiang and its aftermath in China Lobby, Formosa, etc.; NATO; the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan; the unrest in Asia and the Korean War; the steps leading to the difficulties with General MacArthur; the whole explosive Arab-Israel development; successive troubles with the Soviet and the dramatic success of the Berlin airlift. Throughout, the reader -- even if differing politically with Mr. Truman and his administration, must begin to realize the concentrated devotion to the goals as he saw them, his determination to know every possible aspect of each subject before reaching a decision, the depth of understanding on a wide range of topics, occasional snap judgments, errors in conclusion, more than offset by long term thinking and courage in risking condemnation of public opinion, within as well as without the party. In these pages Harry S. Truman grows in stature, and the final verdict of history is implicit in the story.

Pub Date: March 5th, 1956
Publisher: Doubleday