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A Companion to Harry S. Truman

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3141-7
632 pages
September 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Harry S. Truman (1444331418) cover image


With contributions from the most accomplished scholars in the field, this fascinating companion to one of America's pivotal presidents assesses Harry S. Truman as a historical figure, politician, president and strategist.
  • Assembles many of the top historians in their fields who assess critical aspects of the Truman presidency
  • Provides new approaches to the historiography of Truman and his policies
  • Features a variety of historiographic methodologies
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Notes on Contributors xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1
Daniel S. Margolies

Part I Considering Truman in Historical Perspective 7

1 Truman in Historical, Popular, and Political Memory 9
Sean J. Savage

2 Rhetoric and Style of Truman’s Leadership 26
Steven Casey

Part II Enduring Questions 47

3 Anxieties of Empire and the Truman Administration 49
Jeremi Suri

4 Harry S. Truman and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb 67
Sean L. Malloy

5 The Origins of the Cold War in International Perspective 87
Amanda Kay McVety

Part III Truman, the State, and the World System 109

6 Exporting the American Experience: Global Economic Governance and the Foreign Economic Policy of the Truman Administration 111
Francine McKenzie

7 NSC-68 and the National Security State 131
Curt Cardwell

8 Strategists and Rhetoricians: Truman’s Foreign Policy Advisers 159
Benjamin A. Coates

Part IV The Truman Presidency and the Shaping of Postwar American Society 189

9 Truman, Reconversion, and the Emergence of the Post-World War II Consumer Society 191
Susannah Walker

10 The Fair Deal 210
Jason Scott Smith

11 The Election of 1948 222
Dean J. Kotlowski

12 The Truman Administration and the Public Policy of Civilian Defense: Making the Best of a Nightmare 246
Andrew D. Grossman

13 The Environmental History of the Truman Years, 1945–53 260
Mark Harvey

14 Truman and Civil Rights 287
Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Charles H. Ford

Part V Truman’s Foreign Policy 303

15 Great Britain and American Hegemony 305
Kathleen Britt Rasmussen

16 The Truman Doctrine 327
Elizabeth Edwards Spalding

17 Harry S. Truman and the Marshall Plan 347
Robert H. Landrum

18 Truman and the Middle East 362
Kelly J. Shannon

19 Harry S. Truman’s Latin American Policy 389
Michael Donoghue

20 Truman and NATO 410
Stephanie Trombley Averill

21 Truman, the United Nations, and the Origins of the Postwar World Order 428
Robert McGreevey

22 The Truman Administration and Cold War Neutrals 436
T. Michael Ruddy

23 The Legacies of Nuremberg in International Law and American Policy 453
Jinee Lokaneeta

Part VI America and the Postwar Pacific Rim 463

24 The Occupation of Japan: A History of Its Histories 465
Hiroshi Kitamura

25 The Birth of a Rivalry: Sino-American Relations During the Truman Administration 484
Gregg Brazinsky

26 Conflicts in Korea 498
James I. Matray

27 Setting the Pattern: The Truman Administration and Southeast Asia 532
Mark Atwood Lawrence

References 553

Further Reading 598

Index 605

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Author Information

Dan Margolies is Professor of History at Virginia Wesleyan College. He is the author of Henry Watterson and the New South: The Politics of Empire, Free Trade, and Globalization (2006) and Spaces of Law in American Foreign Relations: Extradition and Extraterritoriality in the Borderlands and Beyond, 1877-1898 (2011).
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“An invaluable source for all who study the early cold war period. Margolies has brought together a group of highly talented scholars who synthesize the latest historiography of the Truman years in domestic and global context.”  (Expofairs.com, 26 June 2013)

“Spanning domestic and international affairs, Daniel Margolies’ impressive volume reveals Harry Truman’s policies, attitudes, politics, the world he inhabited, and the wider world he helped create.  No better recent volume exists on for understanding his presidency.”
Jeffrey A. Engel, Southern Methodist University 

“By its biographical and policy approach, this volume shows why the Truman administration, and the President himself, had such enduring legacies.  A fascinating look, through the eyes of scholars, at a pivotal era that shaped American foreign policy and the domestic arena.”
Thomas W. Zeiler, University of Colorado at Boulder

“An invaluable source for all who study the early cold war period.  Margolies has brought together a group of highly talented scholars who synthesize the latest historiography of the Truman years in domestic and global context.”
Petra Goedde, Temple University

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