Sometimes, I was left baffled as to why the author added these interjections or commentaries. They're readable, yes, but they really did not seem to fit in with the rest of the book. I would give this section of the book 1 star. Overall -- 3 stars.
It's a very fast read I was able to read this in less than a day , and it's very light reading. May 08, Toni rated it really liked it Shelves: Even more than a record of Harry and Bess Truman's road trip during the summer of , this little book is an excellent peek into 's Americana and the history that brought us there.
As the author tells about Harry's love for the automobile and driving he gives us the rich history of our chosen modes of transportation, from the early days of the first horseless carriages to Harry's beautiful Chrysler New Yorker the next model up was the Imperial - "too swanky for me," according to Ha Even more than a record of Harry and Bess Truman's road trip during the summer of , this little book is an excellent peek into 's Americana and the history that brought us there.
As the author tells about Harry's love for the automobile and driving he gives us the rich history of our chosen modes of transportation, from the early days of the first horseless carriages to Harry's beautiful Chrysler New Yorker the next model up was the Imperial - "too swanky for me," according to Harry. From their home in Independence, Missouri to New York City and back again we get a glimpse of life at the time - diners and mom and pop restaurants to the first motels before the mega hotel chains came into existence to the rise and demise of the KKK to flying saucers and the early days of television and the first presidential airplanes.
Harry Truman was truly an original, an avowed Democrat, a devoted husband and father and completely unapologetic with no second thoughts about the decision he made shortly after assuming the office of president to end the war in the Pacific. He was the last president to leave the White House in humble circumstances, before presidential pensions became the law of the land and also before round-the-clock Secret Service protection.
Although Harry would have none of that anyway! An enjoyable and nostalgic look back into a time not so very long ago and a man who helped shape the world we live in now. Jan 04, Mark rated it really liked it. And in the summer of he did something millions of ordinary Americans do all the time, but something no former president had ever done before—and none has done since. He took a road trip The author documents, much of their route, including gas station and restaurant stops, along with their overnight lodging. Harry chats with mechanics, cabbies, fellow diners and state troopers.
The author also followed this route, while researching the book and makes interesting comments about how things have changed across the Midwest, in these plus years. Truman is one of my favorite historical figures. Someone I would love to sit down and have a beer with, plus he loved books.
If you would like a little slice of American history, hop in the backseat and give this one a spin. Aug 21, Chuck rated it it was amazing. The year is Eisenhower on January 20 and in June of the same year he and his wife Bess took off in a brand new Chrysler New Yorker on a circuitous trip to Washington, D. This is a report on that trip.
If you are not that familiar with Harry I suggest you try this one. I think you will find him likeable and I think he was one of our great and underappreciated presidents. Nov 19, Carmen rated it liked it Recommends it for: A kind of boring book about Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, taking a road trip post-presidency without bodyguards or any sort of fanfare. The author seems obsessed with precisely recreating Truman's every move, breath and meal. At least he has a small sense of humor. Jan 05, Patty rated it really liked it. Very interesting and fun to read.
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I feel as if I am in the back seat of Harry's big black car traveling the highways back in the early 50's. Mar 09, Bev rated it liked it Shelves: I mean, just look at that cover there on the left. Harry Truman was the last President who didn't leave the White House with a cargo of Secret Service to follow him around and protect him.
He didn't have a pension. He was expected to lead a fairly public life and yet pay for it all himself. When he was invited to Philadelphia in to give a speech regarding anticipated defense spending cuts he wasn't in favor , he decided to load his car with traveling gear, bring along his co-pilot, Bess, and set off on a cross-country journey. Truman loved cars and he loved driving cars. He loved driving them fast--to Bess's dismay. She agreed to the road trip with one caveat: Harry must keep his speed under the limit.
Harry hoped to make the trip as a civilian--no fanfare, just him and Bess enjoying a road trip vacation. Unfortunately, even in the years before instant internet access, his face was too well-known and the couple made few stops without having fellow diners or motel customers lined up for autographs--or to just shake the Ex-President's hand. But the Trumans were always gracious to those seeking a few minutes of their time and they soon learned that folks had started missing Harry almost the moment he walked out of the White House. My husband and I enjoy taking road trips especially on Route 66 , so it was interesting to read about Harry Truman's love for the road.
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The best of the book is the first hand reports from families who hosted or met the Trumans along the way. Algeo attempted to recreate the journey and this might have been more effective if so many of his stops hadn't been derailed by restaurants and hotels having either been torn down completely or converted for other uses. Several of the stops could have been more interesting if he had planned better--he could have visited restaurants that were closed when he stopped by, for instance. Overall, a fairly interesting read which can be finished in a single sitting. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block.
Please request permission before reposting. Matthew Algeo wrote a fun and fact-filled account of Harry and Bess Truman's post-presidency road trip in Despite my interest in American history and passion for road trips , this was a sojourn I knew little about and I was both endlessly entertained and incredibly informed by every page of Algeo's impressively researched book, which is made all the more authentic as the author weaves in his own experiences in the footsteps of Harry and "The Boss".
One comes away knowing not only more abou Matthew Algeo wrote a fun and fact-filled account of Harry and Bess Truman's post-presidency road trip in One comes away knowing not only more about the trip, but also more about the Trumans themselves and a cross-section of American history from politics, race, and industry to diners, motels, and cars.
Sep 12, Heather rated it it was amazing. Packed with information and anecdotes that any Truman fan will appreciate, I highly recommend this book! The days before a presidents receive a pension,Secret Service protection or free mail, Harry and Bess drove from their home to New York and back. A wonderful book to read. Feb 24, Megargee rated it really liked it. This book will probable appeal most to those of us "of a certain age" OK, I turn 78 this week who remember Harry Truman and middle America of the early s.
In , about a year after leaving office, the former president, as always dapper in a suit and tie, and former first lady Bess "the Boss" packed their grips in their new Chrysler and hit the road for a trip from Independence that's in Missouri for those of you who do not remember to the East Coast where he planned to visit former This book will probable appeal most to those of us "of a certain age" OK, I turn 78 this week who remember Harry Truman and middle America of the early s. In , about a year after leaving office, the former president, as always dapper in a suit and tie, and former first lady Bess "the Boss" packed their grips in their new Chrysler and hit the road for a trip from Independence that's in Missouri for those of you who do not remember to the East Coast where he planned to visit former colleagues in DC, give a talk in Philadelphia, and visit daughter Margaret in New York.
This is the story of that trip, as researched and related by Michael Apgar, who recently did his best to retrace their route, interview those they encountered, and see what has become of the sites they saw and the places they stayed. I was especially interested in this part because in and again in I drove solo from Arizona to Massachusetts along much of their route That was when roads had names, not numbers, and most motels and eateries were family owned enterprises.
Harry and Bess didn't get away with staying anonymous of course. Police in some towns insisted on posting an officer outside their motel room. Well wishers came by to shake hands and get an autograph. No selfies back then, but people did bring their Brownies that's a kind of film camera, not a dessert. But Harry enjoyed meeting everyone with the exception of VP Richard Nixon whom he despised but could not avoid when he dropped in to his beloved Senate.
At the time Truman retired, there were no pensions for former presidents. He was never a wealthy man. He refused to accept the lucrative directorships or exorbitant speaking fees that he was offered lest they dishonor the office. Truman even had to pay for his own office expenses out of his pocket to keep up with his correspondence.
This eventually changed, but in , Harry had to be frugal, and he was not above accepting a free fill up with 27 cents a gallon premium gas and a Coke from a service station owner. That Coke bottle is still on display. Fortunately when he was pulled for going 55 too slow on the PA Turnpike, the trooper let him off with a warning, only fair since Bess had insisted he keep it down.
While the story of the trip is interwoven with tales of the Truman presidency and campaigns, this is a social not a political history. Algeo brings in many then current issues in the course of his narrative, ranging from McCarthyism to UFOs. Each segment of the trip is plotted on maps and there are numerous then- and-now photos. Although road travel is easier today than it was then, I am sure we will never see a former president freely roam the country without an entourage again.
And that is too bad. Meanwhile enjoy the book. Jun 19, Janet rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After a time away from them, I think the American electorate tenderizes its opinion of ex-presidents, more comfortable remembering personality than the stream of policy events from the years they were in office. In , Truman garn After a time away from them, I think the American electorate tenderizes its opinion of ex-presidents, more comfortable remembering personality than the stream of policy events from the years they were in office.
Guess this gives our recently departed president, who regularly calls up Truman in his remarks, some hope for the future - dang!! But back to the road trip Truman left the presidency to Dwight D. Eisenhower in January , and boarded the train back home to Independence, Missouri. In June he got into his brand new Chrysler New Yorker and he and Bess drove back east to Washington DC, NYC, then back again across PA to Missouri, collecting his connections and the somewhat unexpected attention hmmm… from the press and the public along the way.
Truman was a consummate politician, unyielding, but ever flexible and gregarious when the terms were right, and the terms and the road map were right here. Truman gloried in it all — the people he met, their notice and appreciation, his car, and the freedom it afforded him. He was one of the first in the post-war generation who so enjoyably took off and traveled on the road; I think Truman popularized this type of family vacation for the era, and helped solidify the culture and commerce that arose from that for decades.
I truly enjoyed the road history documented in this book… from the 50ss my family traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike innumerable times back and forth from Delaware to Ohio. When I was a little kid in the late 50s, the PA turnpike still seemed new and an adventure.
I remember the ominous thrill of driving through the mountain tunnels, and stopping at HoJos, always having a grilled cheese sandwich with their signature mustard, and mint choc chip ice cream Probably my older brother and sister will tell you I whined more than I can recall, especially if I was the one stuck for the moment sitting on the middle hump in the back seat of our car while the others were enjoying prime time looking out the windows.
I still appreciate a classic road trip these days.
My friend Jim Erbe, himself a voracious reader of nonfiction of all kinds, not only recommended this book to me, but went out and bought me a copy. I guess that counts for a fairly strong recommendation. Thus, a little-known piece of history comes to life in this short volume. After he finished his presidency in , Mr. The author, Matthew Algeo, gives a delightful narrative of that trip, with many stops along the way, visiting friends and political allies and enemies alike; his initial problems with both Hoover and Eisenhower become resolved, as does, to a somewhat lesser extent, that with Nixon.
Algeo mixes travel, politics and nostalgia in a very entertaining manner. As part of the research for this book and there is considerable documented research , the author retraced the trip himself, speaking to a few people who recalled meeting Mr. Truman, and describing a number of the restaurants and motels the Trumans ate and stayed in. To tell you the truth, I found these comments on Mr. Aug 11, Jacob rated it liked it. Fun tale of a road trip by Harry and Bess Truman, private citizens, that would be incomprehensible today. It's big business being an ex-president in the 21st century, but that wasn't the case for Harry Truman, who had no independent wealth and couldn't afford any extravagant vacations after leaving the White House.
When Harry was asked to speak at a military convention in Philadelphia, he and Bess packed up their beloved Chrysler and drove halfway across the country — just the two of them — Fun tale of a road trip by Harry and Bess Truman, private citizens, that would be incomprehensible today. When Harry was asked to speak at a military convention in Philadelphia, he and Bess packed up their beloved Chrysler and drove halfway across the country — just the two of them — from their home in Independence, Mo. The book gives good insight into the Trumans' loving relationship and their down-to-earth personalities.
It's strongest in its detail of the Trumans' trip and the regular people they encountered along the way. The author also retraced as much of the "excellent adventure" as possible, staying in some of the same hotels, eating in the same restaurants, talking to people who met the Trumans on their trip. I found myself not nearly as interested in Algeo's travels as I was with the Trumans', mostly because the people he encountered weren't as entertaining.
Learning that the airport restaurant in St. Louis closed at 6 p. Or maybe I'm just too spoiled by Tony Horwitz's fantastic "travel histories. Jan 03, Tranna Foley rated it really liked it. This is a very enjoyable book about Harry Truman and his wife and their cross-country road trip soon after his presidency was over. Really shows how things have changed! Review from Library Journal: In the summer of , back in Missouri after leaving the White House six months before, Harry and Bess Truman loaded up their new Chrysler and headed out, like thousands of their fellow citizens, on a summer vacation.
Public radio reporter Algeo chronicles this unlikely excursion in great and wonderf This is a very enjoyable book about Harry Truman and his wife and their cross-country road trip soon after his presidency was over. Public radio reporter Algeo chronicles this unlikely excursion in great and wonderful detail.
Along the way they caused a sensation at almost every diner and filling station at which they stopped. In addition to a detailed itinerary, Algeo, who retraced the Trumans' route, also provides many interesting side trips, including both press and government reactions and interviews with folks who'd met the Trumans on the trip.
It was still a time when former Presidents received no pension or Secret Service protection, when there were no interstate highways or big chain motels, and travel was a much more intimate and haphazard affair. This enchanting glimpse into a much simpler age that is all but gone should appeal to anyone interested in the Fifties, Harry Truman, or unusual travel tales.
May 17, Randy rated it it was ok. Matthew Algeo really didn't have a book. Harry and Bess Truman's road trip the year after he left the Presidency is, at best, a magazine article. But Mr Algeo vamps for pages and makes it into hard cover. It is a great story and Harry Truman is an entertaining character. But that's exactly what happened. Harry and Bess on the road, stopping at diners, filling up at gas stations, staying with friends or in motor hotels. He even got pulled over by the state patrol for driving too slow a deal he'd made with Bess. Of course, they were recognized and reporters appeared and Harry enjoyed the entire trip.
When he retired in there was no Presidential pension, no secret service protection, no expense allowance. Barely 60 years ago being an ex-President wasn't a license to enrich yourself. The charm of the book is the simplicity of the time. It's a nostalgia piece and though I skipped many of the filler pages Mr. Algeo captures the innocence of the 50's and of the man. Sep 15, Chris rated it liked it Shelves: A cute and charming account of Harry's road trip to the East after he relinquished the Presidency.
I'd read McCullough's epic biography of Truman and enjoyed it but Algeo comes up with a few things I'd forgotten or that weren't mentioned; like the S in Truman's last name stood for really nothing and he didn't write a period after it. Truman also almost joined the KKK at one point. Algeo tried to be as accurate as possible following in Truman's footsteps but many of the buildings have vanished. I A cute and charming account of Harry's road trip to the East after he relinquished the Presidency. It's an entertaining account of a most excellent adventure and one we'll never see again- an ex-President driving himself around the country without a security detail.
We also won't see an ex-President begging for a pension or "destitute" for funds like Truman who refused to sully the office of the Presidency by joining corporate boards, etc.. It's now the path to riches. Good thing Harry is not around to witness it. Along the way we are exposed to lots of interesting tangential topics like the piano factory in Indiana and a sensational murder trial involving the KKK. I love Harry Truman, favorite modern president Harry Truman is charming and his road trip is of a bygone era. Truman held the office of President in such esteem that he would turn down paid board seats or multi-thousand dollar speeches.
After that, just as they wished, they were on their own. Harry thought the road trip was his best idea. Hoping to travel unnoticed they hit the road. As luck would have it, they were recognized at nearly every stop, some towns would get a warning that he was coming and pulled him over just for the photo. This book was everything I love about Harry Truman. Jun 30, Linda rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm not a fan of politics or history, so it's no small thing that I found this book to be absolutely charming. But when the customers arrive, Kum Kau really comes alive. The cooks whip up tantalizing dishes for hungry patrons.
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