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As the editors point out here in their preface, not enough of either time or research has accrued yet for historians ""to pass considered judgment"" on Harry S. Truman's presidency. The classic dodge, therefore, has been employed; this is a ""Documentary History,"" which means, in effect, a collection of a lot of other people's undeniably premature judgments of the man and the era--a do-it-yourself kit for those hardy enough to draw their own ""considered"" conclusions. A glance at the way in which the materials have been arranged is instructive; there are eight sections to the book, and, sandwiched between the A-Bomb Decision and the Korean War, the subjects are fairly evenly distributed among internal and international affairs. The glance shows how ""crammed with events of extraordinary variety and importance"" this period really was. Few of the sources employed are obscure or difficult to obtain, but still, putting them together in this fashion does shed much new light on Truman's merits and defects. More importantly, perhaps, the volume illuminates a great many of the problems still plaguing us, problems which had their start in policies inaugurated by or despite the doughty scrapper with whom ""the buck"" stopped for several crucial years.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1966
Publisher: Harper & Row