Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip

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Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip

Author: Matthew Algeo
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 272
Cover Price: $ 24.95

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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.

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Background Information

Harry S. Truman of Missouri was FDR's surprising choice for vice-president in 1944 and became president upon Roosevelt's death in 1945. The Secret Service is charged with protecting the integrating of the currency of the United States and the well being of the President and other high federal offficials. Joseph McCarthy was an obscure senator from Wisconsin until he discovered the power of unfounded accusations against supposed Communist sympathizers.