In an era of spin doctors, media consultants, and politics by poll, it's refreshing to read the words of a politician who knew his own mind and wasn't afraid to speak it. That politician was Harry Truman. "I never sit on a fence," said Truman. "I am either on one side or another." Pithy, blunt comments like this were his stock in trade. Many of them have survived the test of time. "Being a president is like riding a tiger," Truman observed. "A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed." In Truman's opinion, "An honest public servant cannot become rich in politics." And, "When an egotist is punctured, a lot of noise and whistling always accompanies the escaping air." These are just a few of the wealth of quotes and anecdotes that Ralph Keyes has collected for The Wit & Wisdom of Harry Truman. He has also included excerpts from Truman's letters, speeches, press conferences, and diaries, such as this entry that Truman wrote while in the White House: "Another hectic day in the executive office. Saw a lot of customers. Hope they all left happy." The Wit & Wisdom of Harry Truman is an informative and entertaining collection of the best observations by this most quotable of presidents. It is also a splendid introduction to his life. And a great read. From the book: After he left the White House, Truman was invited to visit San Francisco shipping mogul George Killion. When his driver got lost, Truman rang the doorbell of a nearby house and asked for directions. The homeowner couldn't help him. "I hope I'm not hurting your feelings," he did say, "but you look exactly like that old s.o.b. Harry Truman." "I hope I'm not hurting your feelings, either," responded Truman, "but I am that s.o.b."
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Ralph Keyes's sixteen books include The Wit & Wisdom of Oscar Wilde, The Quote Verifier, and Euphemania. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with his wife, Muriel. For further information see Ralph Keyes's website.Review:
This splendid little collection of pithy Truman quotes is a marvelous introduction to the most human president of this century. --Tampa Tribune
A treasure of information about our 33rd president and a must for Truman admirers. --Letter to Editor, Kansas City Star
What was on Harry's mind back in the '40s might just as easily be on any Democrat's mind today. --Philadelphia Daily News
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