Citizen Soldier: A Life of Harry S. Truman by Aida D. Donald
(Basic Books, 2012, 265 pages)
How funny that while I was returning books by Margret Truman, the only child of President Truman, I saw this book on display at my public library. It felt like someone was giving me a sign so I checked it out. Truman was another accidental president. Truman had only been vice president for 82 days when he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945.
This biography is brief and accessible. It covers his entire life while highlighting the personal side of Harry Truman. If you are more interested in his years in senate and his presidency, you may want to find another book. I enjoyed the chapter on Truman’s serving in combat in France as a Missouri National Guard officer during World War I. l also learned more about how Truman came to the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. It’s amusing to read that Truman’s mother-in-law, while living in the White House, still believed this Missouri farmer was unworthy of her daughter Bess by always addressing him as “Mr. Truman.”
There were times that I wished the author had cited sources that would provide readers with the background and detailed information. It’s not as scholarly as I had hoped. Nevertheless, it’s a good introductory biography on Truman. I am putting Truman by David McCullough (I totally enjoyed his 1776) on my reading list.