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Dewey defeats Truman : the 1948 election and the battle for America's soul

by Baime, A. J.

Format: Print Book 2020
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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Accidental President comes the thrilling story of the 1948 presidential election, one of the greatest election stories of all time, as Truman mounted a history-making comeback and staked a claim for a new course for America.

On the eve of the 1948 election, America was a fractured country. Racism was rampant, foreign relations were fraught, and political parties were more divided than ever. Americans were certain that President Harry S. Truman's political career was over. "The ballots haven't been counted," noted political columnist Fred Othman, "but there seems to be no further need for holding up an affectional farewell to Harry Truman." Truman's own staff did not believe he could win. Nor did his wife, Bess. The only man in the world confident that Truman would win was Mr. Truman himself. And win he did.

1948 was a fight for the soul of a nation. In Dewey Defeats Truman , A. J. Baime sheds light on one of the most action-packed six months in American history, as Truman not only triumphs, but oversees watershed events--the passing of the Marshall plan, the acknowledgement of Israel as a new state, the careful attention to the origins of the Cold War, and the first desegregation of the military.

Not only did Truman win the election, he succeeded in guiding his country forward at a critical time with high stakes and haunting parallels to the modern day.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The 1948 Presidential election pitted Democratic incumbent Harry Truman against the Republican nominee, New York governor Thomas Dewey. Still catching its breath after WWII victory, the nation was beset with new challenges: inflation, civil rights struggles, the Arab-Israeli war, and the Soviet Union's advances in Eastern Europe. Immigration issues divided the country over admitting political refugees from Russian aggression. Besides the major parties' nominees, Henry Wallace, Vice President before Truman, argued for peace with Soviet Union, and Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina defended white supremacy. Baime (The Accidental President, 2017) narrates the fascinating story of this election, in which Truman fought scrappily against what seemed overwhelming support for Dewey's pro-corporation stance. As Baime points out, there was very little difference in the major parties' platforms on significant issues, so much came down to personalities. Truman galvanized crowds with his barnstorming speeches across the nation, while Dewey came across to voters as uncaring about the working public. Pundits and pollsters predicted a Dewey sweep, but key states fell into the Truman column, leading to his victory and the famous faulty newspaper headline. In retrospect,1948 election issues still echo in the 2020 election season. Includes a few photographs and an extensive bibliography."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Journalist Baime, who chronicled Harry Truman's first four months as chief executive following FDR's death in The Accidental President (2017), delivers a spirited rundown of Truman's come-from-behind 1948 victory over Republican challenger Thomas Dewey to win his first full term in office. Neither the media, nor pollsters, nor Truman's own wife, Bess, thought he could win, according to Baime, who details internal divisions within the Democratic Party between Truman and "Dixiecrat" Strom Thurmond over civil rights programs and notes the electoral threat posed by Progressive party candidate Henry Wallace. Baime also details outside pressures on the campaign, including the Soviet Union's blockade of West Berlin and turmoil in the Middle East over the creation of a "Jewish homeland in Palestine." Undertaking a "whistle-stop" train tour across America, Truman delivered unrehearsed, plainspoken addresses to growing crowds of voters, and turned Republican opposition to his "Fair Deal" programs, including a national health-care program and the repeal of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act, into a winning strategy. Readers looking for parallels to the current political climate will find plenty, including Baime's contention that Republicans, Democrats, and the FBI all suspected Russia of attempting to influence the 1948 election, but by-and-large he treads familiar ground. Nevertheless, political history buffs will enjoy this colorful treatment of an oft-told story. (July)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Truman, Harry S., -- 1884-1972.
Dewey, Thomas E. -- (Thomas Edmund), -- 1902-1971.
Wallace, Henry A. -- (Henry Agard), -- 1888-1965.
Thurmond, Strom, -- 1902-2003.
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1948.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1953.
Publisher Boston :2020
Language English
Description xi, 419 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 357-403) and index.
ISBN 9781328585066
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