Harry S. Truman/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Harry S. Truman.
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This Bibliography is a selective list of the more important scholarly works about Truman.


  • Ferrell, Robert H. Harry S. Truman and the Cold War Revisionists. 2006. 142 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Geselbracht, Raymond. "Creating the Harry S. Truman Library: The First Fifty Years," Public Historian, 28 (Summer 2006), 37–78.
  • Hartmann, Susan M. "The 1948 Election and the Configuration of Postwar Liberalism" Reviews in American History 28.1 (2000) 105-111 in Project Muse
  • Heller, Francis H., ed. The Korean War: A 25 Year Perspective (1977), essays by scholars
  • Heller, Francis H., ed. The Truman White House: The Administration of the Presidency, 1945-1953 (1980), essays by scholars
  • Heller, Francis H., ed. Economics and the Truman Administration (1981), essays by scholars
  • Kirkendall, Richard S. ed. Harry's Farewell: Interpreting and Teaching the Truman Presidency (2004) essays by scholars
  • Kirkendall, Richard S., ed. The Truman Period as a Research Field: A Reappraisal 1972 (1974)
  • Tull, Charles J. "The State of the Art in Truman Research," in William F. Levantrosser, ed. Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence (1986), 1-31 aides. online edition
  • Walker, J. Samuel "Recent Literature on Truman's Atomic Bomb Decision: a Search for Middle Ground." Diplomatic History 2005 29(2): 311-334. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: Ebsco


  • Burnes, Brian. Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times (2003); popular biography; excerpt and text search
  • Cochran, Bert. Harry S. Truman and the Crisis Presidency (19730, 432 pages; portrays a cynical courthouse politician
  • Donovan, Robert J. Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-1948 (1977); Tumultuous Years: 1949-1953 (1982), good, detailed 2-vol political history by well-informed journalist
  • Ferrell, Robert H. Harry S. Truman: A Life (1994), brief overview
  • Fleming, Thomas J. Harry S. Truman, President (1993) for middle school audience.
  • Gosnell, Harold Foote. Truman's Crises: A Political Biography of Harry S. Truman (1980)
  • Graff, Henry F., ed. The Presidents: A Reference History. 2nd ed. 1996, 443–458. ISBN 0-684-80471-9
  • Hamby, Alonzo L. Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman (1995), very well received scholartly biography excerpt and text search
  • Hamby, Alonzo L. "Truman, Harry S."; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000
  • Kirkendall, Richard S. Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia (1990)
  • McCullough, David. Truman. . ISBN 0-671-86920-5 best-selling biography; Pulitzer Prize excerpt and text search
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence. Truman: The Rise to Power (2002), critical evaluation emphasizing corruption of Pendergast machine

Foreign policy

  • Appleman, Roy E. South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (June-November 1950) (United States Army in the Korean War) (1960); official U.S. Army history, online version
  • Beisner, Robert L. Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War (2006), 800pp; a standard scholarly biography; covers 1945-53 only
  • Benson, Michael T. Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel (1997) online edition
  • Blair, Clay The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950-1953, Naval Institute Press (2003) revisionist study that attacks Truman and top Army leaders for near-criminal incompetence
  • Divine, Robert A. "The Cold War and the Election of 1948," The Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jun., 1972), pp. 90-110 in JSTOR
  • Frazier, Robert. "Acheson and the Formulation of the Truman Doctrine" Journal of Modern Greek Studies 17#2 (1999), pp. 229-251 online at Project Muse
  • Gaddis, John Lewis. "Reconsiderations: Was the Truman Doctrine a Real Turning Point?" Foreign Affairs 1974 52(2): 386-402. ISSN 0015-7120
  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. (2005). 382 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Hogan, Michael J. A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Ivie, Robert L. "Fire, Flood, and Red Fever: Motivating Metaphors of Global Emergency in the Truman Doctrine Speech." Presidential Studies Quarterly 1999 29(3): 570-591. ISSN 0360-4918 online edition
  • Lacey, Michael J. ed. The Truman Presidency (1989), major essays by scholars
  • Matray, James. "Truman's Plan for Victory: National Self Determination and the Thirty-Eighth Parallel Decision in Korea," Journal of American History 66 (September, 1979), 314-33. in JSTOR
  • Merrill, Dennis. "The Truman Doctrine: Containing Communism and Modernity" Presidential Studies Quarterly 2006 36(1): 27-37. ISSN 0360-4918
  • Offner, Arnold A. "'Another Such Victory': President Truman, American Foreign Policy, and the Cold War." Diplomatic History 1999 23(2): 127-155. ISSN 0145-2096
  • Ojserkis, Raymond P. Beginnings of the Cold War Arms Race: The Truman Administration and the U.S. Arms Build-Up (2003) online edition
  • Pelz, Stephen. "When the Kitchen Gets Hot, Pass the Buck: Truman and Korea in 1950," Reviews in American History 6 (December 1978), 548-55. Online at Project MUSE
  • Pierpaoli, Paul G. Jr.; Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War. University of Missouri Press, 1999 online edition
  • Smith, Geoffrey S. "'Harry, We Hardly Know You': Revisionism, Politics and Diplomacy, 1945-1954," American Political Science Review 70 (June 1976), 560-82. in JSTOR
  • Spalding, Elizabeth Edwards. The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, And the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Wainstock, Dennis D. Truman, MacArthur, and the Korean War (1999) online edition
  • Walker, J. Samuel. Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan (1997) online complete edition; excerpt and text search
  • Walker, J. Samuel. "Recent Literature on Truman's Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground" Diplomatic History April 2005 - Vol. 29 Issue 2 Pp 311-334 fulltext in EBSCO

Domestic policy and politics

  • Dean, Virgil W. "Charles F. Brannan and the Rise and Fall of Truman's 'Fair Deal' for Farmers." Agricultural History 1995 69(1): 28-53. Issn: 0002-1482
  • Dean, Virgil W. An Opportunity Lost: The Truman Administration and the Farm Policy Debate. 2006. 275 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Derickson, Alan. "'Take Health from the List of Luxuries': Labor and the Right to Health Care, 1915-1949." Labor History 2000 41(2): 171-187. Issn: 0023-656x Fulltext: in Taylor and Francis, Swetswise, Ingenta, and Ebsco
  • Donaldson, Gary A. Truman Defeats Dewey (1998)
  • Farhang, Sean, and Ira Katznelson. "The Southern Imposition: Congress and Labor in the New Deal and Fair Deal," Studies in American Political Development (2005), 19: 1-30; online edition
  • Freeland, Richard M. The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism: Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, and Internal Security, 1946-48 (1989), revisionist
  • Fried, Richard M. Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. 1990. online complete edition; excerpt and text search
  • Gardner, Michael R. Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks. (2002) 296 pp.online edition
  • Hamby, Alonzo. Beyond the New Deal: Harry S. Truman and American Liberalism (1973), highly influential study
  • Hartmann, Susan M. Truman and the 80th Congress (1971) online edition
  • Heller, Francis H. Economics and the Truman Administration (1982) excerpt and text search
  • Karabell, Zachary. The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Koenig, Louis W. The Truman Administration: Its Principles and Practice (1956) online edition
  • Komarek de Luna, Phyllis. Public versus Private Power during the Truman Administration: A Study of Fair Deal Liberalism. Peter Lang, 1997. 253 pp.
  • Lacey, Michael J. ed. The Truman Presidency (1989), major essays by scholars
  • Lee, R. Alton. Truman and Taft-Hartley: A Question of Mandate. University of Kentucky Press, 1966 online edition
  • Leuchtenburg, William E. The White House Looks South: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson. (2005). 668 pp.
  • Levantrosser, William F. ed. Harry S. Truman: The Man from Independence (1986). 25 essays by scholars and Truman aides. online edition
  • McCoy, Donald. The Presidency of Harry S. Truman (1984), standard scholarly survey excerpt and text search
  • Marcus, Maeva Truman and the Steel Seizure Case: The Limits of Presidential Power (1994) online edition
  • Phillips, Cabel. The Truman Presidency: The History of a Triumphant Succession (1966), by a journalist who interviewed many key players
  • Pierpaoli, Paul G. Jr. Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War. University of Missouri Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8262-1206-9. focus on the homefront online review
  • Ryan, Halford R. Harry S. Truman: Presidential Rhetoric (1993) online edition
  • Theoharis, Athan. The Truman Presidency: The Origins of the Imperial Presidency and the National Security State (1979), revisionist
  • Theoharis, Athan. Seeds of Repression: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of McCarthyism (1977), revisionist
  • Thompson, Francis H. The Frustration of Politics: Truman, Congress, and the Loyalty Issue, 1945-1953. 1979. 246 pp.
  • Vaughan, Philip H. "The Truman Administration's Fair Deal for Black America." Missouri Historical Review 1976 70(3): 291-305. Issn: 0026-6582

Primary sources