Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure
The True Story of a Great American Road Trip
By Matthew Algeo
(Chicago Review Press, Hardcover, 9781556527777, 272pp.)
Publication Date: May 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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On June 19, 1953, Harry Truman got up early, packed the trunk of his Chrysler New Yorker, and did something no other former president has done before or since: he hit the road. No Secret Service protection. No traveling press. Just Harry and his childhood sweetheart Bess, off to visit old friends, take in a Broadway play, celebrate their wedding anniversary in the Big Apple, and blow a bit of the money he’d just received to write his memoirs. Hopefully incognito. In this lively history, author Matthew Algeo meticulously details how Truman’s plan to blend in went wonderfully awry. Fellow diners, bellhops, cabbies, squealing teenagers at a Future Homemakers of America convention, and one very by-the-book Pennsylvania state trooper--all unknowingly conspired to blow his cover. Algeo revisits the Trumans’ route, staying at the same hotels and eating at the same diners, and takes readers on brief detours into topics such as the postwar American auto industry, McCarthyism, the nation’s highway system, and the decline of Main Street America. By the end of the 2,500-mile journey, you will have a new and heartfelt appreciation for America’s last citizen-president.
Matthew Algeo is a public radio reporter. His first book, Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles—"The Steagles"—Saved Pro Football During World War II, won the 2006 Nelson Ross Award for best pro football historiography. For more information, visit www.trumanroadtrip.com.
"With deliberate detours, this book is a portal into the past with layers of details providing unusual authenticity and a portrait of the president as an ordinary man." Publishers Weekly
"Matthew Algeo recalls [my grandparents'] memorable trip beautifully and with the sense of humor it deserves." Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of Harry S. Truman
"Enlivened by Algeo"s endeavors to see the places where Truman stopped, this is an engaging historical sidebar." Booklist Online
"An engaging account . . . Well-researched." Wall Street Journal
"Combines . . . history with the ever-popular road book, researching, duplicating, and reporting in detail on the last trip the Trumans took, driving their new Chrysler to Washington, and back to Independence." Max J. Skidmore, author, After the White House: Former Presidents as Private Citizens
"Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure resonates Aaron Copeland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man'brassy, bright, energetic, brief and declaratively American." Washington Times
"Algeo has done a first-rate job of piecing together the trip . . . a fascinating reading experience." Jackson Free Press
"Charming and engrossing." Riverfront Times