• The Accidental President

    Harry Truman was my dad's favorite President.

    Why is that note worthy to me?  My dad didn't express much interest in anything, but his job.   He mentioned very little about his past.  But he was a World War II vet as were most men of his generation.  He was with Patton's 3th Army in Europe, and he thought President Harry Truman was a great man.  He mentioned that more than once.  Seriously ... he had little to say about anything in his life so this repeated comment was something that remained with me.

    Photo credit: Amazon

    When I saw this audiobook, The Accidental President by A.I Baime, I couldn't resist downloading it.

    Here is the Publisher's Summary:
    • Heroes are often defined as ordinary characters who get thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and through courage and a dash of luck, cement their place in history. Chosen as FDR’s fourth term Vice President for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman--a Midwesterner who had no college degree and had never had the money to buy his own home--was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR’s sudden death. During the climactic months of the Second World War, Truman had to play judge and jury, pulling America to the forefront of the global stage. The first four months of Truman’s administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, fire bombings of Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation of Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of Imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time.
    Truman followed in the footsteps of FDR who was and is a much loved and revered President.  Most citizens today know who lead our nation during WWII -  many Presidents had no major event during their tenure to mark their time in office and test their leadership skills.  At FDR's sudden death, Truman was thrust into a fire storm of world events that would try the abilities of any individual.

    I think that anyone who knows history would agree that Harry Truman truly did face more challenging times than most Presidents.  As I listened to this book I began to see the scope of the events that Truman wrestled with using only his common sense and practical approach.   

    President Truman has his haters and his supporters.  Haters to this day point to all the Japanese people killed by the Atomic bombs and the introduction of a new and fierce technology that would change our world  forever.  My dad was a supporter ... because in his words, Harry Truman saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers from a certain death in an assault on the Japanese mainland.  Japanese people of that time, even civilians, would fight to the death in defense of country and the Emperor.  My dad was one of those soldiers scheduled to be re-assigned from the European theatre of war to the Pacific theatre.  My dad felt that Truman's decision to drop those Atomic bombs and end our war with Japan saved his life.  President Truman, the common man, was his hero.

    Listening to this account of all the juggled considerations that went into President Truman's decisions - well, I am now a fan as well.  I would also argue that the development and use of the Atomic bomb was the goal of many countries at that time.  We just got there first.  President Truman inherited that Atomic bomb - and it was going to be used by somebody if not the US.  He took steps in its use that will always be controversial.  But he made the tough decision.  He truly was the common man - a regular citizen - thrust into history against his wishes - and who made a huge difference in the world.

    I have read a lot about FDR and his wife Eleanor and now I have taken the time to get to know Truman.  I believe that history has shown over and over again, that the right person comes along ... at the right time ... to do the job that needs to be done.  As different as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman were, FDR was the 'right man' to lead us during WWII and Harry Truman was that 'right man' to finish the job as we exited the war.  

    Now we find ourselves facing different threats - external and internal and many self inflicted - but all just as serious and game changing as an Atomic bomb.  Sadly that technology has not stood still and our human ability to create destruction has grown to frightening levels.  I kind of hope there is someone 'waiting in the wings' - ready to step in and be the right person for our country and the world now - someone who will do the right thing at the right time - do the job that needs to be done.  Our current President is not that man.

    I am hoping history doesn't fail us now.

    I recommend this book.
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