In his time, Harry S. Truman was one of the most underrated presidents of the 20th century. Succeeding the charismatic Roosevelt, he was often seen as an uninspiring leader, a poor diplomat and a fumbling politician. He was the first man to authorise the use of nuclear weapons, and was in office at the time when the multiplicity of hopes which arose at the end of the Second World War were inevitably disappointed. Nothing could be further from Roy Jenkins' view of him.
This is the first biography of Truman to be written by an author with anything approaching the subject's own range of political experience, and Roy Jenkins brings to this book a quality of appreciation of Truman's political skills which has not been seen before. It is also the first biography to be written by a British author, giving it a new objectivity on the international affairs which occupied so much of Truman's presidency and by which he must be judged.
Elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1948, Roy Jenkins (1920- 2003) served in several major posts in Harold Wilsons First Government and as Home Secretary from 1965-1967. In 1987, Jenkins was elected to succeed Harold Macmillan as chancellor of the University of Oxford, following the latter's death, a position he held until his death.
Jenkins grew to political maturity during the twilight of a great age of British parliamentary democracy. As much as Churchill, though in quite a different way, Jenkins has been from the cradle a creature of the system that nurtured Palmerston and Disraeli, Gladstone, Asquith, and Lloyd George.