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A Book That "american Road" Fans Will Love!

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I just finished reading a new book that I'm sure anyone who frequents these forums will absolutely love--it's the best work of non-fiction that I've read in quite a while.

The book: "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure" by Matthew Algeo. Chicago Review Press, 2009.

In the summer of 1953, during Mr. Truman's first year as an ex-President, he and Bess took a classic road trip--in their brand new 1953 Chrysler New Yorker!--from their home in Independence, Missouri, to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City (to visit daughter Margaret). No advance notice to anywhere they were staying (save for the Reserve Officers Association convention in Philly that Harry had agreed to address), no Secret Service protection--ex-prezes didn't receive that perk back then, and no AC in the Chrysler!

The author recounts Harry and Bess' trip, and retraces the exact route in the present time (2006-2008).

The writing style is excellent, and once I started the book I did not put it down until I was finished. A great reminiscence of the pre-Interstate days of road travel that we celebrate on here, and a reminder of how much has changed in the past 56 years.

Read this book--you'll love it!

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I just finished reading a new book that I'm sure anyone who frequents these forums will absolutely love--it's the best work of non-fiction that I've read in quite a while.

The book: "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure" by Matthew Algeo. Chicago Review Press, 2009.

In the summer of 1953, during Mr. Truman's first year as an ex-President, he and Bess took a classic road trip--in their brand new 1953 Chrysler New Yorker!--from their home in Independence, Missouri, to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York City (to visit daughter Margaret). No advance notice to anywhere they were staying (save for the Reserve Officers Association convention in Philly that Harry had agreed to address), no Secret Service protection--ex-prezes didn't receive that perk back then, and no AC in the Chrysler!

The author recounts Harry and Bess' trip, and retraces the exact route in the present time (2006-2008).

The writing style is excellent, and once I started the book I did not put it down until I was finished. A great reminiscence of the pre-Interstate days of road travel that we celebrate on here, and a reminder of how much has changed in the past 56 years.

Read this book--you'll love it!

 

Sounds great! I'll look for it at the bookstore!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Thanks for the heads up on a wonderful sounding publication. I have put it right onto my Amazon wish list...

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I'm too young to remember Truman, but based on what I've read, it sounds just like him to make a trip like that.

 

I met a guy on a road trip once, a fellow who owned some radio stations. Just after Truman left office, as he was on his way home to Missouri, he stayed overnight in Indianapolis. This fellow drove to town (from nearby Terre Haute), went to the hotel where the ex-Pres was staying, and asked for him at the front desk. The desk called the room, Mr. Truman actually came to the phone, the desk handed the phone over, and this fellow said, "I'm from such-n-such radio station and I'd like to interview you." Truman said, "You want to interview me? Come on up!" Just amazing to think that something like this ever could have happened.

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I just finished reading a new book that I'm sure anyone who frequents these forums will absolutely love--it's the best work of non-fiction that I've read in quite a while.

The book: "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure" by Matthew Algeo. Chicago Review Press, 2009.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info. I'll look for the book locally, as I've always been a fan of the man from Missouri. The buck stops here......Bliss

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I read and enjoyed that myself not long ago and even briefly met the author on a stop in Richmond, IN. With luck, there will be a review in an upcoming issue of American Road Magazine.

 

Regarding Jim's "amazing to think that something like this ever could have happened" comment, Truman had no secret service protection and no pension when he left office. He received both later. Starting with George W, Secret Service protection goes away for ex-presidents after ten years. When that happens, GWB will be the first ex-president since Truman without government paid guards hanging around. Maybe he'll take a road trip then :D

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Now this sounds like a very cool roadtrip to retrace. I'll be on the prowl for this book this weekend.

 

Jim -- Do you know where Truman stayed in Indianapolis?

 

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Since I am the only one so far in this thread to actually remember Truman as President, I must add my personal assessment, as pronounced at the time when he was running for president in 1946 against Thomas Dewey. “Truman tells the truth and Dewey goes do do.” :o Why I remember that profound bit of 1st grade “political speak,” I don’t know! Could it be because the political dialog is about the same today? I guess some things never change! :rolleyes:

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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I read and enjoyed that myself not long ago and even briefly met the author on a stop in Richmond, IN. With luck, there will be a review in an upcoming issue of American Road Magazine.

 

Regarding Jim's "amazing to think that something like this ever could have happened" comment, Truman had no secret service protection and no pension when he left office. He received both later. Starting with George W, Secret Service protection goes away for ex-presidents after ten years. When that happens, GWB will be the first ex-president since Truman without government paid guards hanging around. Maybe he'll take a road trip then :D

 

Mr. Algeo brings up this fact in the book, and, funny enough, makes the same conjecture! ;)

 

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Since I am the only one so far in this thread to actually remember Truman as President, I must add my personal assessment, as pronounced at the time when he was running for president in 1946 against Thomas Dewey. “Truman tells the truth and Dewey goes do do.” :o Why I remember that profound bit of 1st grade “political speak,” I don’t know! Could it be because the political dialog is about the same today? I guess some things never change! :rolleyes:

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

1948, not '46. Sorry for the nit-pick! B)

 

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According to Algeo, during their "Excellent Adventure", while eastbound, the Trumans had lunch at a friend's home in Indianapolis but didn't spend the night. West bound, they spent the night at the same home. Harry did chat with reporters on both occasions. On his first trip home as ex-president, Harry was given use of the presidential rail car and reached Independence, MO, essentially nonstop. So the events Jim describes didn't happen on either of those two trips but I've absolutely no doubt they happened. The "Come on up" story is pure Truman and he surely passed through Indianapolis many times. Algeo doesn't give the exact address of the house where the Trumans stopped but it was on North Meridian and the family's name was McKinney.

 

Incidentally, that presidential rail car was named the Ferdinand Magellan. Truman also had two presidential planes while in office. The first was the Sacred Cow and the second was the Independence. Any of those names are much cooler than Air Force One.

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Mr. Algeo brings up this fact in the book, and, funny enough, makes the same conjecture! ;)

I, of course, stole the facts from Algeo but missed -- at least consciously -- the conjecture. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :rolleyes:

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Algeo doesn't give the exact address of the house where the Trumans stopped but it was on North Meridian and the family's name was McKinney.

 

Ah hah! As soon as I saw the name McKinney, I was sure at had to be "the" McKinneys. It would've been the home of the parents of Frank McKinney, a one time Olympic swimmer and banking executive here in Indianapolis until he was killed in a mid-air plane collision in 1992. I found his obituary online and it talks how his father worked in the Truman administration. Now if I just could find out which house on Meridian Street it was....

 

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Since I am the only one so far in this thread to actually remember Truman as President,

 

 

Hold on there a minute, Keep. I was in grade school when Give 'Em Hell Harry was Prez. I remember seeing the news photo of Harry smiling and holding the newspaper with a headline declaring Dewey to be the winner in '48. No dice for the slick NY (?) lawyer, though, and Harry went on to save us from an actual military invasion of Japan. As I recall, it was estimated that a minimum of one million U.S. lives would be lost during the invasion and that the war would have continued indefinitely. Were the bombs the right decision? Depends upon whose ox got gored, I suppose. Off-topic and political so I'll butt out now.....Bliss

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While visiting the "Little Whitehouse" in Key West this spring, I got to know more about Harry. Having been born during his Presidency, I mostly know him as an ex-President.

He used to always be carrying a briefcase when he got off the plane in Key West which it always looked like he made sure that his important papers were in his hand. It turns out that was where he kept his 78 rpm records he wanted to listen to in Florida. And he kept a supply of "Hawaiian" shirts on supply for others coming along on his trips to Florida, including the press corps. Harry definitely was an individual.

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The Harry Truman National Historic Site in Independence, MO, is definitely worth a day's visit if you're in the Kansas City area.

The site has both the Truman library and museum, as well as the home on Delaware Street that, as I found out from reading "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure", was the only house that President Truman ever owned! It was in Bess Truman's family and was their home until Harry became Vice-President in 1945 (he was only VP for three months when FDR died). Harry and Bess returned to their unpretentious but comfortable home when he left office in 1953, and Harry lived there until his death in December 1972 (just one month before LBJ's sudden death--Harry's funeral was LBJ's last public appearance). Bess continued to live in the home until her death a decade later. A great place to visit!

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Now if I just could find out which house on Meridian Street it was....

Try 4906 N. Meridian. (reference: http://www.meridianstreetfoundation.net/ne...005_spring.pdf)

 

There's a picture of them at the front of the house in the on-line copy of the book.

 

Chris

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Or, just give a couple speeches to get the money to pay for the security.

 

 

 

 

I read and enjoyed that myself not long ago and even briefly met the author on a stop in Richmond, IN. With luck, there will be a review in an upcoming issue of American Road Magazine.

 

Regarding Jim's "amazing to think that something like this ever could have happened" comment, Truman had no secret service protection and no pension when he left office. He received both later. Starting with George W, Secret Service protection goes away for ex-presidents after ten years. When that happens, GWB will be the first ex-president since Truman without government paid guards hanging around. Maybe he'll take a road trip then :D

 

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I just finished reading this book and felt that I had to comment on it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. :) It is about a road trip that Harry and Bess Truman took right after he left the presidency. While it is indeed based on the 19 day road trip that he took in 1953, it is much more than that. It includes detailed history of the politics of the day, the presidency, the roads of the day and of every stop they made along the way. It is very well researched and extremely well written. If you enjoy history at all you will enjoy this book. I learned a lot not only about Harry and his presidency but also about nearly every thing else going on in America at that time. It was truly a great read.

 

etchr 66

 

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