Conflict and Crisis (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
Harry Truman has become something of a folk hero in recent years. A factor in forming this popular image of Truman has been a tendency to compare his bluntness and lack of pretense to the manipulation and deception characteristic of Nixon’s “imperial presidency.” This view of the man has been reinforced on the stage and in the media by presentations based on Truman’s self-serving recollections as recounted in Merle Miller’s Plain Speaking. This is not the Harry Truman who emerges from Donovan’s well-researched and ably written account of the postwar President’s first administration.
Robert Donovan was particularly well equipped to write this book. The Truman period is ripe for serious historical analysis because of the availability of source material. The death of Truman resulted in the opening of many of his private papers which had been closed to researchers, and coincided with the opening of State Department files and even some of the records of the National Security Council. In addition to these advantages which are available to all Truman scholars, Donovan had the opportunity to observe the events he describes as a White House correspondent during the Truman years. In addition, for this book he has recently interviewed many of the men he knew then to fill out the written record.
Truman was one of our least prepared Presidents, yet the problems he faced were probably greater than those encountered by any modern...
(The entire section is 2140 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1978)
Book World. October 30, 1977, p. El.
Guardian Weekly. CXVII, November 20, 1977, p. 18.
New York Times Book Review. October 16, 1977, p. 1.
New Yorker. LIII, November 7, 1977, p. 223.
Publisher’s Weekly. CCXII, August 22, 1977, p. 56.
(The entire section is 28 words.)