Harry S. Truman Book Award

Harry S. Truman Book Award

2024 Truman Book Award Announced


The Truman Library Institute has named Steve Drummond winner of the 2024 Harry S. Truman Book Award for his 2023 book, The Watchdog: How the Truman Committee Battled Corruption and Helped Win World War Two (Hanover Square Press). The honor carries with it a $5,000 cash award.

The Truman Library Institute’s review committee praised Drummond for his “vital and enjoyable contribution” to the historical literature by illuminating an overlooked chapter of Harry Truman’s political life.

“Drummond’s book grabs the reader from the very beginning—with the dramatic story of the sinking of the SS Schenectady—and then carries us through the ways in which then-Senator Truman worked diligently and in a bipartisan manner to ensure that similar disasters could be averted,” said Jason C. Parker, committee chair and professor of history at Texas A&M University.

“We see the development of the traits that shaped Truman’s subsequent presidency, but Drummond effectively draws our attention to the crucial, if largely forgotten, role that Truman’s service in Congress played: helping to ensure that U.S. industry could create the caliber of ships and equipment that the nation and its allies would need to win the Second World War,” Parker said. “With that, Drummond forces the reader to discard the myth of U.S. industry spontaneously coming together and becoming an effective ‘arsenal of democracy.’”

Drummond is an award-winning senior editor and executive producer at NPR in Washington, D.C., where he has been a senior editor for more than two decades. He teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.

“It’s a wonderful honor to receive this award, especially given the amazing authors who’ve won in the past and the impressive writers and scholars whose books were entered this year,” Steve Drummond said. “I hope it brings worthy recognition of the wartime contributions of Harry Truman and the public servants who worked so hard on the Truman Committee.”

Established in 1967, the Harry S. Truman Book Award recognizes the best book published within a two-year period dealing primarily and substantially with the life or career of Harry S. Truman between 1945-1953. Recent awardees include Christian F. Ostermann, Derek Leebaert, Kevin Peraino and Michael Neiberg.

The Truman Library Institute will formally present the Truman Book Award to Steve Drummond on September 18, 2024 at a public event and book signing in Kansas City, Missouri. Registration for the free public program will open August 1, 2024 at TrumanLibraryInstitute.org/events.


Steve Drummond is a journalist at NPR in Washington, where he has been a senior editor for more than two decades. He has been a reporter with newspapers in Florida and the Associated Press in Michigan and has written for many publications, including the St. Petersburg Times, the Detroit News, the New York Times, Education Week and Teacher Magazine. He lives in Maryland, where he also teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.


“This is an original and insightful chronicle of an overlooked yet critical stage in the career of Harry Truman. Not only did his path to the White House begin during World War II, his dogged devotion to detail and bipartisan passion saved many battlefield lives along with billions of dollars. Vividly, The Watchdog takes Truman from junior Missouri senator to his stunning ascension as leader of a world still fighting for freedom.”—Tom Clavin, New York Times bestselling author of Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival

“Steve Drummond has written an engaging, clear-eyed story of an important but overlooked chapter in the life of Harry Truman. The Watchdog will make you long for an era when government could be made to work.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of First: Sandra Day O’Connor

“It takes a thoughtful and agile reporter to see the story that others have overlooked. It takes an astute student of history to understand how the past speaks to the present. Steve Drummond is both. His unlikely tale of the Truman Committee, a shocking example of governmental success, will have readers looking anew at its chairman and namesake: the wonky senator from Missouri, with a distaste for partisanship and publicity, who became our thirty-third president.”—Robin Givhan, senior critic at large of The Washington Post and author of The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History

“Drummond shines a light on a dark, forgotten corner of wartime history.”Kirkus

“Drummond used a trove of documents to create this excellent narrative. The result is a well-written, engaging analysis of an often-overlooked and instructive aspect of Truman’s career that was essential to the war effort.”—Booklist

“Few people know the details of what [Harry Truman] did to make himself one of the most famous people in the nation, a story that is as fascinating as it is little-known, and which is told brilliantly in an important new book, The Watchdog. This is, indeed, a book that’s not only hard to put down, but which has a lot to say about how government can, and should work.”—Lessenberry Ink

Read an excerpt from The Watchdog.

2026 Harry S. Truman Book Award

Books written about Harry S. Truman or the period of his presidency and published between January 1, 2024 and December 31, 2025 will be eligible for the 2026 Harry S. Truman Book Award.

Submission Deadline: January 20, 2026

Contact: Lisa Sullivan, Lisa.Sullivan@TrumanLibraryInstitute.org or 816.400.1216

Harry S. Truman Book Award

The Harry S. Truman Book Award is presented biennially and is generously endowed by Mary and John Hunkeler. Established in 1963, the Harry S. Truman Book Award recognizes the best book published within a two-year period dealing primarily and substantially with some aspect of the history of the United States between April 12, 1945 and January 20, 1953, or with the life or career of Harry S. Truman.


2022      Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany by Christian F. Osterman

2020      Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957 by Derek Leebaert

2018       A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949 by Kevin Peraino

2016       Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe by Michael Neiberg

2014       Henry Wallace’s 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism by Thomas W. Devine

2012       The War for Korea, 1950-1951: They Came from the North by Allan R. Millett

2010       Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950-1953 by Steven Casey

2008       From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima, and the Cold War by Wilson D. Miscamble

2006       The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis

2004       Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations by Stephen C. Schlesinger

2002       The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968 by Kari Frederickson

2000       Downfall: The End of the Japanese Empire by Richard B. Frank

See all recipients since 1967 here.


Lisa Sullivan, Book Award Administrator