MR. CITIZEN by Harry S. Truman


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Curiosity about what former President Truman has to say of the years since he stepped down from the world's biggest job will lead many people to read this book. And frankly we feel that most of them will find it a disappointment. Probably Mr. Truman is reserving the big guns for the major book to come- and this provides something in the nature of an interlude. He comes to grips honestly and courageously with many of the issues- up to a point-and then, perhaps because he wants to avoid the onus of placing the blame on individual shoulders, he seems to shy away. Much of this side of the material is handled like an interview, in question and answer form, with the result that there is frequently a sense of overlapping and repetition. Possibly more careful editing might have rescued the book from conveying an impression of being a collection of pieces, articles, speeches, etc. which it apparently is not. On the human side, there is a great deal of comment on the role of a former President, the continuing lack of privacy, the part played by the family- and in so commenting, he harks back to some of the penalties of the Presidency in its demand of sacrifice of the individual to the job- but even more to some of the challenges, responsibilities (which he quite evidently feels need restating) and rewards. There is much less of revealing flashback on events of his years in office than one might look for. The ""second thoughts"" are largely directed to the function and the performance and the intent rather than the specific instances. While Mr. Truman establishes no claims to literary performance, the integrity and sincerity of the man come through his words.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1960
Publisher: Random House-Bernard Geis