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1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America

1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America

by David Pietrusza
1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America

1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America

by David Pietrusza


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The wild, combative inside story of the most stunning upset in the history of presidential elections: Harry Truman's 1948 victory over Tom Dewey.

"Outstanding. . . . by far the best yet about the fateful [1948] election." —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Coherent, compelling. . . . A skillful, authoritative investigation." —Kirkus Reviews

Award-winning historian David Pietrusza unpacks the most ingloriously iconic headline in the history of presidential elections—DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN—to reveal the 1948 campaign's backstage events and recount the down-to-the-wire brawl fought against the background of an erupting Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the birth of Israel, and a post-war America facing exploding storms over civil rights and domestic communism.

"A terrific book. . . . a must-read." —Ron Faucheux, former editor-in-chief, Campaigns & Elections magazine

"David Pietrusza brilliantly portrays President Harry Truman's successful efforts to stave off the challenge of New York Gov. Tom Dewey, who was making a repeat bid as the Republican nominee." —David Mark, journalist, political analyst, and author of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning

"Sweeping . . . compelling." —Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635764482
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 559
Sales rank: 383,261
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

David Pietrusza’s books include 1920: The Year of Six Presidents; Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series; 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America's Role in the World; 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies; and 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR—Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny. Rothstein was a finalist for an Edgar Award in the Best Fact Crime category, and 1920 was honored by Kirkus Reviews as among their "Books of the Year." Pietrusza has appeared on Good Morning America, Morning Joe, The Voice of America, The History Channel, ESPN, NPR, AMC, and C-SPAN. He has spoken at The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, the Harry S Truman library and Museum, and various universities and festivals. He lives in Scotia, New York. Visit

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters viii

1 "Three sizes too large" 1

2 "You judge. I can't." 3

3 "I hope it's the same team again, Henry" 15

4 "You men who have nigger children" 28

5 "I'll be different, not like I used to be" 38

6 "To err is Truman" 51

7 "My very stomach turned" 65

8 "The South can be considered safely Democratic" 75

9 "No one laughs at Harold Stassen" 83

10 "Maybe Masaryk had cancer" 92

11 "The Bronx is not cheering" 105

12 "A lost ball in high grass" 119

13 "We have a lot of Communists in New York" 133

14 "Professors who scratch their waffles" 148

15 "Why can't a simple soldier be left alone…?" 158

16 "It's such outrageous sport, really" 171

17 "It might have been worse" 181

18 "Shifty and somewhat slimy" 194

19 "What do these people want?" 201

20 "The bright sunshine of human rights" 206

21 "Behold, the validity of Christian principles" 219

22 "An interesting and instructive evening" 226

23 "The wool hat woman of Byron, Georgia" 237

24 "I have been thinking of you holding the casket" 249

25 "Half of the gallery are FBI agents" 258

26 "Bases, bombs, Moscow, Leningrad, etc." 272

27 "A last hysterical gasp of an expiring administration" 279

28 "I have never laid eyes on him" 291

29 "The unseemly spectacle we are now witnessing" 302

30 "You simply cant make a politician out of him" 312

31 "Fifty million pounds of lard" 330

32 "Daddy, you shouldn't say 'hell'" 343

33 "Ain't he coming?" 362

34 "The campaign is ending and you still don't know" 376

35 "Don't bother me anymore; I'm going to bed" 385

36 "One for the books" 405

Acknowledgments 413

Notes 414

Sources 487

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