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Book Title: Plain Speaking|
The author of the book: Merle Miller
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.24 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.5
Date of issue: March 15th 1981
ISBN 13: 9780425051764
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The Washington columnist Mary McGrory once wrote, " Since Harry Truman left town almost nobody has spoken his mind. Mr. Truman took the tradition of plain speaking back to Missouri with him."
Fortunately for history, Merle Miller followed. In the early 1960s, as preparation for a ill-fated series of television series, Miller talked in complete frankness with the former president for hundreds of hours over several months. He also interviewed many people who had been close to Truman from his childhood in Independence, Missouri through his years in Washington. While the television programs never materialized, the book Miller composed from his unprecedented conversations offers an intimate and riveting portrait of one of America's most remarkable presidents, illuminating Truman's early political career and surprising path to the White House, as well as the critical events and momentous decisions that shaped his years in power. The subject's candid comments on the characters of Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and others add a feisty edge to the reflections and opinions that enliven this rich, revealing book. All in all, this is a rare, human, and often very funny evocation of the life and times of an American president.
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Read information about the authorMerle Miller, born in Montour, Iowa, wrote almost a dozen books, including more than half a dozen novels. His first, ''That Winter'' (1948), was considered one of the best novels about the postwar readjustment of World War II veterans. His other novels included ''A Day in Late September,'' set in suburban Connecticut on a Sunday in September 1960, ''The Sure Thing,'' ''Reunion,'' and his masterwork, the monumental "A Gay and Melancholy Sound" (1960).
Oral biographies accounted for his greatest success. The first of them, ''Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman,'' was published in 1974. It was adapted from an abortive television series for which the former President spent many hours in the early 1960's talking with Miller, the researcher and writer for the project.
His Johnson biography, a book for which he conducted 180 interviews and consulted almost 400 oral histories, was a best seller in 1980. Although he said he began the biography disliking the former President, in part because Miller was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, he ended up appreciating Mr. Johnson's parliamentary achievements and calling him ''one of the most complex, fascinating Presidents of all time.''
In 1971, Miller wrote a widely discussed essay for The New York Times Magazine, ''What It Means to Be a Homosexual,'' which, he said, brought him more than 2,000 letters, many of them from other homosexuals thanking him for helping to restore their self-respect. This article, and the enlarged book published from it, "On Being Different," made Miller the first nationally-known advocate for gay rights. He closely followed that famous essay with the novel "What Happened," fictionalizing some of his own horrific life experiences which lay behind the NYT essay.
Miller attended the University of Iowa and spent a year at the London School of Economics. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as an editor of Yank magazine, in both the Pacific and in Europe, until his discharge in September 1945. He worked briefly as an editor at Time and Harper's magazines.
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