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Heroes are often defined as ordinary characters who get thrust into extraordinary circumstances and, through courage and a dash of luck, cement their places in history. Chosen as FDR's fourth-term vice president for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman - a Midwesterner who had no college degree and had never had the money to buy his own home - was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR's sudden death.
During the climactic months of the Second World War, Truman had to play judge and jury, pulling America to the forefront of the global stage. The first four months of Truman's administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings of Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation of Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of Imperial Japan, and, finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time.
Tightly focused, meticulously researched, rendered with vivid detail and narrative verve, The Accidental President escorts listeners into the situation room with Truman during this tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenge even higher. The result is narrative history of the highest order and a compelling look at a presidency with great relevance to our times.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean on 11-14-17
I have read many biographies about Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). In this book A. J. Baime narrows the scope of the book to the first four months of the presidency. The author does provide some early history of Truman so the reader understands how events came about.
On April 12, 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt summoned Truman to the White House to inform him of the death of FDR. Truman said his worst nightmare immediately became a reality. He had only been Vice President for three months and had not been informed about anything by FDR. It would have been extremely difficult for anyone to follow in the footsteps of the charismatic Roosevelt. Truman was honest, decisive and hardworking. Some of the problems he faced that Baime goes into in depth are:
1. The war with Germany
2. The war with Japan
3. Learned about the Manhattan project. Had to decide about using the bomb on Japan.
4. The founding of the United Nations
5. The devastation of Europe and the starving refugees. He sent President Hoover to Europe to deal with the logistics of feeding the people. He and General Marshall developed the Marshall Plan to deal with Europe.
6. Russia posed challenges and different goals. Stalin failed to honor any of his agreements he made with Churchill and Roosevelt about Eastern Europe. Russia developed the atomic bomb and the cold war began.
The book is well-written and meticulously researched. Baime is a journalist and the book is written in that style. Baime detailed a chronology as to how Truman transformed into a president and leader of the world. Baime makes history come alive and makes an enjoyable read. The book is well organized. Truman faced many difficult situations over his presidency that had great effect upon the world and the United States. In fact, Baime claims no other president in the history of the United States has faced such difficulties at the beginning of their presidency.
Tony Messano does a good job narrating the book. Messano is a voice-over artist and audiobook narrator. This is my first experience with listening to Messano.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
By Ernie's Mom on 06-11-18
Excellent introduction to the Truman presidency
This is not a comprehensive biography of Harry Truman or his presidency (and the author says so in the book) but it does a nice job of explaining how a farmer from Missouri became president during one of the most difficult times in US history. A.J. Baime presents the facts of events as found in official documents and personal journals and manages to do so in an entertaining storytelling manner. It provides a primer on Harry Truman's life before becoming president and focuses on the events of the first 4 months of his presidency which also saw the official end of WWII and the unofficial beginning of the Cold War. This is an excellent listen for anyone interested in any of these topics.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful