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Extended Audio Sample Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World, by William Lee Miller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (37 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Lee Miller Narrator: Dick Hill Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, consecutive presidents of the United States, were midwesterners alike in many ways—except that they also sharply differed. Born within six years of each other (Truman in 1884, Eisenhower in 1890), they came from small towns in the Missouri-Mississippi River Valley—in the midst of cows, wheat, pigs, corn, and grain elevators. Both were grandsons of farmers and sons of forceful mothers, and of fathers who knew failure; both were lower middle class, received public school educations, and were brought up in low-church Protestant denominations.

William Lee Miller interweaves Truman’s and Eisenhower’s life stories, which also becomes the story of their nation as it rose to great power. They had contrasting experiences in the Great War—Truman, the haberdasher to be, led men in battle; Eisenhower, the supreme commander to be, did not. Between the wars, Truman was the quintessential politician, and Eisenhower was the thoroughgoing anti-politician. Truman knew both the successes and woes of the public life, while Eisenhower was sequestered in the peacetime army. Then in the wartime 1940s, these two men were abruptly lifted above dozens of others to become leaders of the great national efforts.

Miller describes the hostile maneuvering and bickering at the moment in 1952–1953 when power was to be handed from one to the other and somebody had to decide which hat to wear and who greeted whom. As president, each coped with McCarthyism, the tormenting problems of race, and the great issues of the emerging Cold War. They brought the United States into a new pattern of world responsibility while being the first Americans to hold in their hands the awesome power of weapons capable of destroying civilization.

Listening to their story is a reminder of the modern American story—of ordinary men dealing with extraordinary power.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Absorbing…A historical double-decker…Miller develops [Truman and Eisenhower’s] often uncomfortable, but unavoidable relationship with rich context and resonance.”


  • “A rewarding study…Miller aptly and in clear prose describes the rise of both men and outlines their policies as president.”

    Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains

  • “Miller offers lively, well-presented parallel biographies…The author is primarily interested in comparing the experiences of these two men as they rose through the ranks of their chosen professions, and their approaches to government as exemplified by several specific issues…Entertaining reading for presidential-history buffs.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lisa | 2/1/2013

    " Probably too much detail (would have been a good winter read) but I finally got through it all. A lot of interesting information about them and the times they lived in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robert Davidson | 11/5/2012

    " well written very interesting read of two presidents who came along at the right time with their life experiences enabling them to make very difficult decisions for the greater good. two great americans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Peter | 9/3/2012

    " An interesting prespective written by an ethicist on a transformative time in our history. "

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