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The Accidental President by A J Baime

A J Baime
ARRSE Rating
1 Mushroom Head
Political biographies can be dull as dishwater or frivolous with no real substance. Baime has produced a first class biography of Harry S Truman that concentrates on his rise to power and his war time years. The longer term early years are also used to set the war years in perspective. Truman was a Great War Battery Commander and returned to rural America , peace saw him open a haberdashers stores but a downturn in the post war economy saw the business founder. A local political machine set him up as a County Judge and saved him from penury. Despite the downfall of his patron Truman survived and eventually won a seat in the US Congress. As ever people underestimated his appeal to ordinary voters and finally he was elected to the FDR Presidential ticket.

The role of Vice President was even less significant in the pre cold war era , yet within months of his inauguration Roosevelt died. Truman was thrown in at the deep end , running the US nation , dealing with their allies and becoming privy to the secrets of the Manhattan Project. His popularity was at the low end of the scale but with a sure hand he took over the FDR legacy , pressed ahead in the Pacific and in a well recounted portion of the book put Stalin under warning regarding Eastern Europe and the effect that it would have on Marshall aid.

The events of 1945 were not only the end of a world war but would shape the post war diplomatic landscape and the US economy. The steady policy of Truman won the hearts of the American electorate and by the end of his term he would leave Eisenhower with a thriving economy and the start of the American dream.

Baime recounts the events in a very readable way but does not lose sight of the importance of his work .A 360 page book with 59 pages of notes demonstrates his thorough approach. The book is well printed with excellent glossy images , the picture of Truman in his haberdasher's shop has a certain charm.

The book is now available for pre order on Amazon price £20.00 (also on Kindle).

Footnote: Historically minded readers might like to reflect that Truman was the first US President met by The Queen who has met every one up to and including Obama !
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