In This Review


By Roy Jenkins
Harper & Row, 1986
232 pp. $17.95

That we now find this marvelous, affectionate portrait of Harry Truman almost too sweet tells us as much about ourselves and our politics as about Mr. Truman. Not that he disliked power or its trappings or was above nasty campaigning, but he was "unexpectedly wise when it counted" while remaining "a certifiable member of the human race," in the words of Mary McGrory's tribute. It is also tempting to remember his time rosily, as one when the enemy was obvious, the future open and when anyone could walk safely around Washington-and a president did! Much of Truman's life is familiar, but the book offers fresh insights-into the details of the decision to recognize Israel, for instance, or the depth of his friendship with Dean Acheson-all told with care and in easy prose by an award-winning historian.

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