Truman Fires MacArthur (ebook excerpt of Truman)

Truman Fires MacArthur (ebook excerpt of Truman)

by David McCullough

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An intemperate general. An unpopular war. A military and diplomatic team in disarray.

Those are the challenges President Obama has faced as he attempts to make a success of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. They are also the challenges President Truman surmounted in the winter of 1950 as he began managing a war in Korea that risked becoming bigger and more costly. It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War: U.S. troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur came to the aid of the South Koreans after North Korea invaded. When Communist China entered the conflict on the side of the North Koreans, the crisis seemed on the verge of flaring into a world war. Truman was determined not to let that happen. MacArthur kept urging a widening of the war into China itself and ignoring his commander in chief. On April 11, 1951, after MacArthur had “shot his mouth off,” as one diplomat put it, one too many times, Truman fired him.

The story of their showdown—one of the most dramatic in U.S. history between a commander in chief and his top soldier in the field—is captured in all its detail by David McCullough in his Pulitzer Prize–winning biography Truman, and presented here in a ebook called Truman Fires MacArthur (ebook excerpt of Truman), which was the headline carried in many newspapers around the country the next day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451618228
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/25/2010
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 35
Sales rank: 132,194
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other widely praised books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


West Tisbury, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

July 7, 1933

Place of Birth:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


B.A., Yale University, 1955

What People are Saying About This

Jean Strouse

McCullough takes us on a beautifully guided tour of recent history—a journey that is as much a celebration of American experience as it is a captivating portrait of the ordinary ‘man from Missouri’ who became an extraordinary figure in the Cold War world. Keeping Truman himself always vividly in the foreground, Mr. McCullough has written a stirring, masterly, thoroughly absorbing book. (Jean Strouse, author of Alice James: A Biography)

William Manchester

Superbly researched and carried forward by McCullough’s narrative drive, Truman is endlessly readable. The Harry we were all wild about is re-created exactly as Harry was—feisty, preposterous, decisive, tireless, outrageous, but always honorable, always courageous, always guided by his inner gyroscope of conscience and character. (William Manchester, author of William Spencer Churchill: The Last Lion)

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Truman 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 216 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great biography of a great man and without question, one of the greatest presidents of all time, eclipsing even myth of FDR. The FDR myth will probably live for another 25 years, but Truman will outlast and outshine it because history eventually forgets political image and concentrates on facts. History confirms the humble nature of his beginnings and the fact that he never took himself too seriously. He inherited one of the most crisis driven periods in American history and essentially salvaged the mess that FDR had made of European Post War policies. Truman and a few other great Americans essentially saved Western Europe from going communist and prevented the enslavement of millions of people. This book tells the Truman story in great detail and includes Truman¿s mistakes as well as triumphs. It is wonderful to see someone tell the post WWII story truthfully. For people wanting to gain an understanding of the driving forces pushing America¿s involvement in world affairs after WWII, I would rate it an excellent source. One of the reasons why I rate this book so high is because the author went to the trouble to establish context for the decisions Truman made. We may not always agree with his choices, but we can understand the factors and/or the why that drove those choices. And, more often than not, he made the right ones under great pressure. The nation could certainly use a leader of his caliber at this juncture in history, but I doubt either party in this political climate would support such an individual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! David McCullough is a great writer and I have read a few of his books. This one is very interesting. Learned so much about President Truman, his boyhood through adulthood and his presidency. Felt like I got see into his life, what he based his decisions on and his integrity. Learned so much about his decision regarding the Atomic Bomb and many other amazing and stunning decisions he had to make during his presidency. Makes you really think about the awesome responsibility that he has on his shoulders after being thrown into the presidency. Great Book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't imagine why one wrote that the biography was too long--I craved more! Even though stunning in details and the depth of background, what I find the most breathtaking is the man, Truman, who experienced so many setbacks but always got back up. What life lessons to be learned. If you feel yourself wavering just a tad, then look to Truman who may have wavered but he keep moving forward. A man who earned respect, and most certainly mine. What a sterling example of what a president should be. Way to go, Harry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
7/15/13: An ad for a "bargain" caught my attention. That turned out to be very misleading--the initial listing says the Nook book is $1.99, but just before I pushed the button I realized that would only buy me an excerpt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book to read if you want to really get to know Harry Truman. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, this book is an engaging biography of a great president.
jholzha More than 1 year ago
Truman is extremely well written and researched. David McCullough does a wonderful job at filling in all the blanks in the life of the man known almost exclusively as the President who dropped the atomic bomb.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite possibly the best biography I have read, including McCullough's others (and those are hard to beat). Truman, perhaps, had to make the toughest decisions of any President since Lincoln; the bomb, Potsdam, the Marshall Plan, the Truman doctrine, Korea, etc. All from a farmer without a college education. The book is long, but it is well worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never enjoyed a biography more in my life! I first read it when I checked it out from my public library, but now I plan on buying the book. It's an excellent read and gives you a lot of insight on Harry S Truman that is often overlooked.
ABQ_Pat More than 1 year ago
Mr. McCullough gets off to a slow but necessary start to show the foundation of Harry S. Truman. Once the biography passes into Mr. Truman's adulthood, the book takes off like a shot and never lets up. Great insights into Mr. Truman's character, leadership style, and approaches to decision-making. The only drawback is the e-book itself: my copy glitched at Chapter 17: I'd open the book, Chapter 17 would be seen for a moment and then it would close and return to the home page. Same thing happened on a friend's Nook and on his iPad (when accessing my B&N account). After re-booting, archiving, and re-loading the problem never went away. The folks at my B&N store in Albuquerque were awesome and really tried to solve it, but to no avail. So, I side-loaded the book from my PC to my Nook "Files" and it reads fine now. While this could have been merely inconvenient, the most irritating problem is that all of my notes and highlights have been apparently lost. The ability to highlight and make notations was a key consideration in my decision to switch to an e-reader. This first book, and first failure, is extremely irritating. Nonetheless, the enormous pros of the Nook keep me addicted to it and I hope this was a true, signular anomaly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not one to be read lightly--neither should its subject. It is as much a narrative of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century as it is about the man whose name is the title. It takes some time to get going, but once you do, you don't stop. Take the time to read it from cover-to-cover (summer or a lengthy holiday break... otherwise you'll get stuck between World War I and the U.S. Senate). But its worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every President of the United States is human and subject to error. What I admired most about Truman was his willingness to make decisions and accept responsibility for the outcome. Truman's humble past, strong work ethic, and patriotism are what made him a great President. I never knew just how much this man accomplished during his time in office until I read this book. The author has clearly done his homework on this one. No more books need be written about Truman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
TRUMAN by David McCullough ONE KNEW WHAT THE RESULTS WOULD BE! A review of the CD as read by the author of the book. Five CDs in all. Truman was unlucky enough to be a president of the United States when the atomic bomb came into being and had to make the decision as to whether to use it or not. It is was if he had been borne for this decision and had to make it for two wars, the first world war and the Korean war. The first time he did not think he had a decision the second time he had a chance to stop a horrible war by not using the bomb and he redeemed himself under a lot of pressure. But like a president had a backbone who thought as well, he held his ground. He had to fire an American hero as a part of his job and did not hesitate in spite of the remarks that were thrown at him by many Americans. Truman had the courage to follow what he believed from the information he had and fire General MacArthur. Many Americans reacted visceral to what they thought was a disgrace act. They did not have the information that Truman, the president, had when he made the decision and many would have had trouble digesting it anyway. The first CD¿s were taken by a description of the Truman ancestors. His ancestors were hardy people who lived on the then frontier during the War Between the States and the other the other hardships of living on a frontier farm in Missouri. Then the CD¿s described Harry S. Truman thoroughly as a young man in love with the young woman who he remained in love with and eventually married, Bess. He lived during this period as a hard working farmer with his ambitious father who always wanted more cows and more land. Harry discovered during this period that he liked to write and wrote long letters to Bess. From that time on he wrote a lot, not for publication but to get his thoughts in order. They weren¿t love letters so much as a narrative as to how he lived and worked on the farm. Finally in 1913 she said she would marry him. He was ecstatic. She said he was an enigma, which he said was all right with him if that was she wanted to call him. Harry was given the grade of Lieutenant in the Army when he enlisted in 1917 at the age of 33. He did not have to go having poor eyes and being a farmer supporting his mother. But he got in when the World war one was immediate. Bess was all for getting married right away, but to her surprise Harry said no he did not to tie her down to someone who might not make it and who could come home crippled for life. He stated that when the war was over they would be married. After a successful eventful two years and 20 pounds lighter Capt. Truman returned to Bess to pick up the live he had left. He Bess and started a business with a clothing shop. During the depression the store went bankrupt and Harry got in policies by way of a judge in his state and later in 1935 was elected for senator. Along the way he and Bess had a daughter and named her Mary Margaret. Harry took Bess and his daughter Mary Margaret to Washington and worried about living on the then $10,000 a year that a US senator in that time got paid. After a fits and starts in first 6 years Harry was reelected to the senate in 1940. During 1941 when the US joined the war Truman¿s honesty and integrity became apparent. He then became vice president under Roosevelt in 1944. He became the president of the USA when Roosevelt died in April 1945. Of course World War II was in process and things were happening fast. Harry Truman was the president who attended the Potsdam at the end of the war in Europe and was faced with terrible decision of using the Atomic bomb on the Japanese. Harry was reelected in 1948 over favorite Dewey, and then was faced with Korean Police action. He went along with MacArthur until China entered the action in Korea. He was forced to fire MacArthur and hold back some of the element that wanted to drop Atomic bombs on the Chinese. Harry had seen wh
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe, after reading this book, that Truman truley was one of the best, most HUMBLE Presidents to ever hold the honor of that title. This book has inspired me to set a goal for myself to read biographies of ALL the U.S. Presidents, just to see, in hindsight, what kind of President they really were. They at least have to be dead for a while to get an honest assessment of their true accomplishments and failures. After reading this book, you really feel you know President Harry S Truman as a person, he is someone the 'everyday' man can relate to. This is a MUST have for any history/political buff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought of Truman as a dull subject for a biography but I was very wrong. McCullough's portrait is of a Jeckel and Hyde: mild mannered in one personae and as aggressive and mean as a pit bill in the other. In psychiatric terms he would be termed an obsessional character, but clearly no ordinary man. He emerges as deeply human, with great integrity and courage, enormous industry,kindness and creativity. For example he didn't just play the piano for fun like Nixon, he was in fact a fine amateur classical pianist.Who knew? And there is even a hint about the passion in the marriage to his (difficult) wife as well as a portrait of his basic submissiveness to her and continual need to please her. Also -- because this is a 'life and times' book -- it may also be read as a history of the USA from the turn of the century to the mid fifties, Is there a Nobel Prize for biographies?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read the book twice. The record of Harry Truman during WWI (The Great War) was riveting. It showed his enormous wealth of character. The man was forged of much sterner mettle than either of the Bushes (OUCH. I like the Bushes, but I had to use them for comparison since compulsive Al Gore has NO character.) These admirable qualities come to the fore with one of Truman's quotes: I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he'd taken a poll? Yep. Harry S. Trumans pole numbers were swimmin in the toilet when he left, but history, not Clintonian spin, gave the unclouded praiseworthy testament of his tenure in the Oval Office. Of course the Presidential race with Dewey provoked some substantive reflection. I read the book at the library and then bought it to read a second time and keep as a reference. Buy this book in hardcover! David McCullough batted 1000 with this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a long-time resident of Kansas City, I found the first third of 'Truman' to be the most objective and fascinating account of the history of Western Missouri and the Tom Pendergast era I have ever read. This is a must read for those who not only want to know Truman intimately, but Kansas City as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read much about Truman and his times, but this biography was so well researched and written, so fresh, so alive, as to make the reader think he or she was coming to the subject the first time. The author spends time where it needs to be spent, to help us understand critical moments and their relationship to character. Bravo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was born in 1950, so have no knowledge of the Truman era except from history books. I found the treatment in this book fascinating and educational. The human side of the book was wonderful. The impression I got was of a regular guy, thrust into the role of President, who did his very best and lived up to the high ideals of that noble office. He maintained his humility the whole time and had a strong sense of ethics and honesty. I believe the book to be most if not all true, and it was inspirational and moving.
PlankGeek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David McCullough is a great reader and this abridgement is interesting and has been skillfully done. There were sound bites of Truman's speeches included in the audio, which provided a better understanding of Truman himself. I've visited the Truman Presidential Library and Truman's home and seen a number of documentaries, and I was still surprised by what I learned from this book.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the very best biographies I have ever read. McCullough makes a 900+ page book a breeze to read--not a boring page in the lot.
mrminjares on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David McCullough rarely fails to satisfy. In this 992 page biography, he proves himself a master storyteller once again. The subject is Harry Truman, a man notorious for authorizing the first ever use of an atomic weapon but whose other contributions to history, including the Truman Doctrine, the Berlin Airlift, recognition of Israel, establishment of the CIA and the NSA, establishment of NATO, invasion of Korea, firing of General MacArthur, have shaped the course of events to this day. David McCullough humanizes Harry Truman and even more, presents him as the kind of American Thomas Jefferson idealized as befitting the presidency.I certainly have greater respect for Harry Truman. I was particularly struck how little he sought politics. His first elected position as county administrator was offered to him by a local political boss. Harry proved so adept at administration that he rode a wave of success all the way to the United States senate. He was loyal to his party in the Senate but not widely known for any particular speeches or legislation. One exception to this was the Truman Commission, which weeded out graft and waste in government contracting during World War II. Truman was propelled to the Vice Presidency against his own wishes, largely due to the fact that Roosevelt was paying no attention to the issue and all the other more popular choices had fatal flaws. Only three months after inauguration, Roosevelt is dead and Truman finds himself suddenly responsible for ending World War II. He is admired by Churchill, and is deceived by Stalin. He somehow survives the ordeal of the Presidency, then decides to make a run for a second term despite low approval ratings. He pulls off an upset victory against Dewey at age 64 after an enormously successful "whistle stop" tour of the United States by train. His second term is dominated by the Korean War, a product of the Cold War and the fear that Russia and the Communists are advancing. The Korean War drives down Truman's popularity once again. He survives to the end of his term and is succeeded by Eisenhower, who became popular as a World War II general and actually served as Chief of Staff to Truman, who thought Eisenhower was a Democrat. Truman's popularity grows once he returns to Independence, Missouri and lives on to the age of 84 surviving not only Eisenhower but Adlai Stevenson, Dean Acheson, MacArthur and a great number of other monumental figures of the twentieth century.
HankIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book; chock full of every detail, it seemed, of Truman's background and politics. Just thinking about what a huge undertaking in research and good writing it was, almost made my head explode.The only reason I didn't finish: I reached a point of plodding, and when I reach that point, I take a breather.I may very well give this one another shot one day when I have world enough and time.
maneekuhi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great biography, great man. Still one of our most under-rated Presidents. Went from Senator to Vice-president to President in less than days. Two weeks after being sworn-in he was at the Potsdam Conference with Churchill and Stalin. Then he was quickly pressed for more historical decisions, most notably use of the atomic bomb, a weapon he was not privy to as VP. But he believed his job was to make decisions, and he did - and took responsibility for them. And he felt that the bomb was not his most difficult decision while President - entering the Korean War was. There are so many wonderful segments to this book - but my favorite was probably the '48 election, one that few believed he could win. The momentum buildup as he made his whistle-stops is incredible to read about. Most of all, I enjoyed the testimonials of the people who got to know Truman personally, how they had generally underestimated him, and came away truly impressed with the man from Independence, Missouri.
bexaplex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bizarrely readable for its thousand pages, even when McCullough is harping on how healthy Truman is. Focus never departs from the subject, even though it must have been tempting to digress into analysis of the atomic bomb, the Korean war, life after the Presidency, etc. When there is conflicting information, McCullough often quotes both sources, and indicates which seems more accurate, which makes him seem trustworthy as a biographer. Although I should admit I never once looked at the endnotes or bibliography (992 pages is quite enough!).
JayHurst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Outstanding book. Every candidate for President of the United States should read.