Written By: David McCullough

Narrated By: David McCullough

Date: December 1992

Duration: 6 hours 0 minutes


The Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Harry S. Truman, whose presidency included momentous events from the atomic bombing of Japan to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War, told by America’s beloved and distinguished historian.

The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters—Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson—and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man—a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined—but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman’s story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman’s own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary “man from Missouri” who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.


  • Shane Sabine

    Wow, talk about detail! The painstaking effort involved in researching sources, piecing together a coherent story, and telling this tale is unrivaled! Reading this book has been a truly unique experience, and I recommend it to anyone seeking to understand the mindset and motivations of someone who rose from humble beginnings to historical significance.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • John Hills

    By far the best narration of any book I've ever heard. Nelson Runger IS Truman! His unlabored, enthusiastic tone, shifts effortlessly between storytelling and dialog such that we believe Harry S Truman is there in the room with us. This is such a masterful biography that one dreads it coming to its inevitable end.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Edward Frankavitz

    As is the case with most of David McCullough's literary talent and an attest of his abilities to maintain one's interest whether addressing fire or fluff Mr. McCullough has the ability to hold your attention fast throughout the 54 hour plus audio version of "Truman." Much can be attributed as well to the narration. Nelson Runger's impressionistic gift affords him the ability to smoothly maneuvers from narrative to an array of cast quotations. The "Narration" rating missed the Five Star tag not due to any fault of Mr. Runger but rather the audio engineering which neglects to mute normal and anticipated auxiliary noise such as inhaling, swallows and other normal vocal maladies which were left unattended. That single issue aside "Truman" is another McCullough Home Run.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Kathryn Gleason

    Very enjoyable, thank you for the opportunity to learn more about this president.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Pontius Pilate

    LOVED IT! Made me aware of Truman and his life beyond dropping the first and only 2, atomic bombs on Japan. I would rank Harry as my favorite president and it seems time, has made many come to appreciate this honest little American leader! The narrator is one of my favorites.

  • David W.

    Not wanting to listen to a book felt like I was cheating my self and taking a short cut. Reading is very fulfilling to me by reading the thoughts of another. But this has afforded me a way of cover more ground when my time is limited. If only Truman was alive today to show us the way. Great man and great narration.

  • D Wilson

    I enjoyed this book immensely. It was exceptionally well researched and presented. The historical accuracy and authenticity were outstanding and any student of world history would benefit from reading it. Truman was truly an outstanding leader and president and this book did him justice. The areas where Truman was found wanting were tastefully covered and allowed one to see ugly truths, while preserving Truman's dignity. The narrator was outstanding. His long pauses and impersonations were magical and allowed one time to digest and interpret the literature, while reliving the moment. It was almost impossible to pause at times. I read where another reader was critical of the narrator's breathing and swollowing. I disagree that this was somehow indicative of poor quality or technical incompetence. To me it added value to the experience and introduced the concept of storytelling. The narrator is human as opposed to robotic and hearing him breathe, swollow, pause and change his tone and speed were amazing. I really enjoyed this book.

  • Duskie M

    Nelson Runger is an outstanding reader. I've heard him read three books, and this Truman book is his best read. I appreciate him taking appropriate long pauses and he's got the hang of changing inflection for characters, subtle as it is. Well done, Mr. Runger. David McCullough continues to make his biographies page turners. I have 9 more hours before finishing, and know I'll return listening again. We can't learn enough about history and even if we know it, a refresher and a different perspective is welcomed. Thank you Mr. McCullough. Five Stars for both book and reader.

  • Albert

    I was a Boy Scout during the Truman presidency. He came to our Jamboree at Valley Forge and addressed the throng. I don't remember what he said, but I was impressed that the President would come and speak to us. The present book gave me new insights into the character of the man. I think he was not much admired in his time. He is more admired now, I think. The audio book is terrific. The excerpts of Harry playing the piano are a nice touch. I recommend this book.

  • Anonymous

    This bio was okay...but the author suffered from the usual malady of most biographers.....he was overly partial to his subject. I don't remember one negative about Truman being mentioned. Also, McCullough overused superlatives....."this was the best time of his life;" "this was the greatest tragedy since the Civil War," etc. However, I certainly have a better picture of Truman and his times before I listened to the book. I'm just not sure that I have a fair and balanced picture from doing so.

  • tom

    Great cd. The writer/reader is simply first rate. History proved Mr. Truman to be one of the best presidents and this book is gives great detail and insight to a common man who did extraordinarily uncommon things for the good of our country.

  • Charles Weller

    Where is a good Truman when you need one? McCullough creates an intimate, more important, unbiased portrait of a flawed man who overcomes his heritage to become, maybe the best president...period. Truman's never-failing ability to spot B.S. and call it what it is, saved the USA many times over during a period when the ability to see the truth and say the truth and do what is right were qualities few politicians had. In fact, they are the very qualities which keep the best people out of office. The book shows how important character and integrity are, and by contrast makes the reader extremely frustrated with the administration we have now. When one compares the Truman presidency to all of those who followed, they all pale and wither in the dust. "Give 'em hell, Harry!" should have been his epitaph. If only we had him now! A great read -- or listen -- or whatever.

  • Charlie Dixon

    Great read, a must for History buffs. Starts slow with Trumans ancestors and childhood, but gets to some amazing and unkown (to me) issues and facts later. The War years and his decisions-actions were amazing and the meat of the book, very interesting post war also. Not much on FDR. After reading this, in my opinion the most underated President, and one of the greatest. A very informative Biography.

  • Michael Scott

    I always look forward to McCullough's books. He is, by far, my favorite biography author. Truman was yet another treasure. This simple, fiercely honest man, with such integrity that is not often seen in today's politics accomplished so much, for being the "Accidental President". It is a pity that this is not required reading in school. This is one President who deserves our respect and admiration. Pity that his ideals / integrity seems mostly forgotten in today's political arena.

  • Barb Gardner

    I have enjoyed learning of this quiet yet true man -- especially on the eve of the emergence of our next candidates. May we all be realigned by those who served with honor in the past and raise the bar for those serving today.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the book was well written and found it interesting. I especially enjoyed the audio clips which added a nice touch.

  • Margaret

    I enjoyed this biography very much. It gives a human touch to all the difficult crises that faced Truman---the atom bomb, the Berlin airlift, the Korean War. There are some definite comparisons to the international challenges that face our country now.

  • Ronald Scott

    There is much to learn in this book about President Truman and his experiences growing up in the Midwest and military service in WWI, as well as the politics and forces that brought him to the forefront of government and history in the critical years before, during and after WWII and Korea. Even as a young person living through those eventful war years and afterwards, I never appreciated his wisdom and greatness. McCullough's work is great here, as usual.

  • Shane Nixon

    McCullough is maybe the greatest historical biographer of our day and hits another one out of the park right here. Personal, yet involved enough in the facts of his presidency to keep it interesting, this book is a well crafted story. Was a huge Truman fan when I started and the book, while revealing the truths about him, did nothing to diminsh that. GREAT!

  • Anonymous

    This turned out be be much better then I expected. David McCullough is such a great author and he reveals a Truman that I did not know, thought I lived in the Truman era.

  • Michael Herb

    If you weren't a fan of Truman before listening to this you will be afterwards. His humility, leadership, character, and ability make him one for the ages. There are so many things to admire about him and the way he lived his life that he serves as a real life hero. You don't need to embellish any stories about him he's the real deal.

  • Andy

    [abridged] Great audiobook. I read the typed book several years ago, and loved it. The audiobook is abridged well. It gives a very good sense of this man who rose from modest birth to president of the most powerful nation on earth. The audiobook doesn't just recant facts about Truman's life, it flows like a fascinating story that keeps you captivated throughout.

  • Danny Wester

    I loved this book. I only wished it had 5 times the details.

  • Anonymous

    I loved this book. What a fascinating story and the writer reader did a great job...wish he was the reader on some of the other books I've heard. Truman was perhaps one of the most under rated presidents of all time. I actually had previously read the book before, and wish that this had not been an abridged version. For history buffs and those who wish a better understanding of the time, presidential decision making and washington politics, its a great listen.

  • Robert Weir

    My Dad was a WWII vet and absolutely hated Harry Truman. As a result, I was very interested in this book by McCullough. This was a very mistreated and maligned man. I think he made some of the best decisions of most presidents in the 20th century and was a strong character. He put us on the path we are on today. I wish we could elect more men like him to office. His major fault was a lack of good P.R. His famous picture of him playing the piano with Lauren Bacall sitting on it was a PR disaster and he was a very poor public speaker. Here is a man who cares less about his public image, just making sure he does the right thing. Amazing.

  • Anonymous

    McCullough hits another home run with this one. I had just finsihed reading the biography of FDR by Conrad Black and saw this online. FDR has always been one of my personal heroes. I have added Truman to that very short list thanks to these CD's. I have a new appreciation for this man...his life, his family, his presidency and his principles, along with FDR's lifework saved the world. Where are the Presidents like these men today? A must rent for all those interested in this fine author's work. BRAVO!

  • Lee Werley

    This was another great book by David. He has a way of helping us understand history and the people that created them. I do not give many 5 stars so that is why I gave it 4. I realized that Truman was a "true man" and dealt with many important issues. I wish our current president was even one tenth the man Truman was.

  • Jane

    The only bad thing about this is that it is abridged, even though it says it isn't.

  • Brian Fitzgerald

    Excellent biography. I enjoyed every minute and learned a lot! A great man and great president.

  • Anonymous

    This was a great book to listen to. McCullough is able to paint a picture of this man that explains how (and why) he came to be one of the greatest Presidents in the history of our country. I really enjoyed this book. I have read all the books available from this author. As good as this work is, his book on John Adams is better.

  • Dennis Fahlstrom

    A typical McCullough biography; fair, detailed and exquisitely interesting. Harry was one of my favorite presidents before I read this and I saw nothing to change that opinion. After you read this he will be also one of yours. He faced some of the toughest choices any president has ever faced, he fought the "do nothing" congress, the Supremes, and the media and always managed to do right by the people.


by David McCullough

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