Monday, May 3, 2010

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman, Vol. One (7)

Memoirs by Harry S. Truman. Vol. One: Year of Decisions. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1955. (7).

Why Read It? Truman had to end the war, decide on the atomic bomb and then shift to a peacetime economy in which he had to fight a Cold War with the Soviets, fight the Korean War, battle through labor troubles and to remind everyone of the necessity to maintain civilian control of the military through relieving MacArthur of his command. Although he appeared to be a normal U.S. citizen, he was anything but. His character was almost the ideal of a U.S. President. His decisions were well thought out and decisive. He was well known for his plain spokenness.

“…almost all current events in the affairs of governments and nations have their parallels and precedents in the past.” p. 121. ………. “Even before I had left Kansas City for Washington I had read the biographies of every member of the Senate and had studied every piece of information I could find on our chief lawmaking body.” p. 142. ……….. “Senator Ham Lewis to HST: “ ;Don’t start out,’ he told me, ‘with an inferiority complex. For the first six months you’ll wonder how you got here and after that you’ll wonder how the rest of got here.’ ”p. 144. ………. “The real work of a Senator is done in committee rather than on the floor of the  Senate.” p. 149. ………. “It was difficult then, and is now, for lawmakers to see that government—local, state, and national—necessitates a continuing organization which becomes obsolete…if it is not constantly adjusted to current needs. Reorganization should be an unending process.” p. 155. ………. “I tackled my end of the assignment in the way I had long before learned to be the only sound approach to any problem: I began at once to read all the records…. I read past newspaper accounts of the railroad industry’s financial tangles. I ransacked the Library of Congress for every book on the subject of railroad management and history, and at one time had fifty volumes sent by the Library to my office…. Even before the subcommittee met for the first session, I had completed a good deal of background reading.” p. 157.

To be continued.

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