Get to Know Harry S. Truman

The 33rd president of the United States and a native of Missouri, Harry S. Truman also served as an officer during World War I, a U.S. Senator, and Vice President. These books include general biographies of Truman and works that examine his presidency, as well as his memoirs, letters, and speeches.

Biographies | Memoirs, letters & speeches | Truman’s presidency


By David McCullough
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this monumental biography depicts an extraordinary president, Harry Truman – the man who brought the country solidly into the 20th century. Drawing from archival materials and extensive interviews, McCullough chronicles Truman's life, but it is Truman's emergence as a decisive and confident president that forms the heart of this book.

Man of the People book jacket

Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman
By Alonzo L. Hamby
Hamby offers a gripping account of a distinctively American life, tracing Truman's remarkable rise from marginal farmer in rural Missouri to shaper of the postwar world.

Harry S. Truman
By Margaret Truman
Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, writes about his life with a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective.

Harry S. Truman
By Robert Dallek
Dallek, the bestselling biographer of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, shows how the unassuming yet supremely confident Harry Truman rose to become one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.

Truman and Pendergast
By Robert H. Ferrell
No portion of the political career of Harry S. Truman was more fraught with drama than his early relationship with Thomas J. Pendergast. The two men met in 1927. Truman, who was then presiding judge of Jackson County, gave a $4000,000 road contract to a construction company in South Dakota, and Pendergast, the Boss of Kansas City, wasn't very happy about it: he had someone else in mind for the contract. Although their association began in disagreement, their common interest in politics was enough to establish a long-lasting relationship.

Memoirs, letters & speeches

Memoirs (v.1-2)
By Harry S. Truman
Truman wrote his memoirs after his presidential terms were complete. They were published in 1955 and 1956.

The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman book jacket

The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman
Edited by Robert H. Ferrell
The Autobiography of Harry S. Truman is a compilation of autobiographical writings composed by Truman between 1934 and 1972. Taken directly from his own manuscript material, the volume presents the thoughts and feelings of the man himself.

Miracle of '48: Harry Truman's Major Campaign Speeches & Selected Whistle-Stops
Edited by Steve Neal
This book collects the public addresses Harry Truman made as he crisscrossed the United States from New York City to Los Angeles to Independence, Missouri in 1948. This volume captures the infectious spirit and determination of Truman's message to the American people.

Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959
Edited by Robert H. Ferrell
This collection contains more than 600 letters that Harry S. Truman wrote to his beloved wife, Bess, from 1910 to 1959. Selected from 1,268 letters discovered in Bess's house after her death in 1982, this extraordinary collection provides an inside look at Truman's life, his thoughts, and his dreams.

Truman’s presidency

Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948
By Robert J. Donovan
This examination of Truman’s presidency starts with his taking over from F.D.R. to the postwar upheaval.

Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949-1953
By Robert J. Donovan
A sequel to Conflict and Crisis, this book explores Truman’s second term as president.

The Last Campaign book jacket

The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election
By Zachary Karabell
Political history at its most absorbing, this book tells the fascinating story of a presidential campaign in which Americans truly had an ideological choice – an election that was supposed to see the Republican standard-bearer, Thomas E. Dewey, as the sure-fire winner.

Harry S. Truman and the Modern American Presidency
Robert H. Ferrell
This biography of Truman emphasizes his accomplishments as an administrator and foreign policy shaper and his consequent contributions to our concept of the presidency.

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