The Man from Missouri

trumanJust finished Robert Ferrell’s 1994 biography “Harry S. Truman: A Life”.

Ferrell is acknowledged as an authoritative biographer of this intriguing US President, and clearly likes him. While the prose is clumsy and pedestrian, the content is exhaustively researched and always interesting.

While I get the impression that Harry Truman, the man was a colourful and complex individual, I suspect that his 8 year presidency would have been far less interesting if he had not overseen the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the controversial reconstruction efforts that followed WWII.

I grew up in an era when the USA was seen, mostly by itself,  as the ‘world’s policeman’. I didn’t know how much this was the result of Truman’s foreign policy initiatives in a country that had been notoriously isolationist since its inception.

And Ferrell has left me in the dark about the ‘S’ in Truman’s name. I have always heard that his middle name was just ‘S’ because his parents couldn’t decide which relative to name him after, but I’m not sure now. Perhaps that is one of the many myths and legends that have grown up around the man from Missouri.

But you’ve got to admire a politician who accepts that the ‘buck stops’ with him.


~ by Garry on April 8, 2009.

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