19 June 2012

Review: Truman by David McCullough

This book deserved the Pulitzer that it won. It's awesome. It was my first David McCullough book, and now I may have to find another. (The only one we have at home is 1776, which is a signed copy, but Eric says I wouldn't really like it very well. So I'm hesitant.)

I bought Truman on the cheap in 2007. I started reading it in 2009. I picked it up again earlier this year, and about five months later finally finished it. Not including notes, it's just shy of 1,000 pages. While it's not a challenging read, it's not a particularly easy read either. I really wanted to finish this book, so the rest of my reading has slowed significantly while I've focused on this one. It was definitely worth my time.

I first heard of Truman from my government teacher my senior year in high school. Her name was Ms. Bourgeois, and she was pretty awesome. She told us many times how much she loved David McCullough's book about her very favorite president.

Other than that, my knowledge of Harry S. Truman was really limited. I knew he took over after FDR died. I knew he made the final decision to drop the atomic bombs in Japan. I knew he was the president when the Korean War (which I don't think is technically called a war, even now) began. Other than that, I really didn't know anything about him, his policies, or the other huge things that happened while he was in office.

Because I knew so little about him, I found myself frequently excited to know what was going to happen next in the book. Would he ever win Bess over and convince her to marry him? Would he win this election? How about this next one? My knowledge of American and world history during his time in office was pretty limited to the big picture items, so there were many details about his presidency that were totally new to me. This made the book much more of an interesting and exciting read for me. If I had had a detailed knowledge about the start of the Cold War in particular, I'm not sure that the book would have had quite as much appeal for me.

I found myself frequently reading bits of the book to Eric and retelling stories to him. My father-in-law has read Truman, and so has Grandma L., so that made this past weekend fun for me since I could discuss it with both of them when we were doing family stuff together. If you have not read it and consider yourself an American history buff, you should read it.


heidikins said...

Book ordered! I did a report on Truman once-upon-a-time (5th grade, I think) and have always quite liked him. :)


Janssen said...

Okay, okay, I will try again. It is just very very long.