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TRU History | June 18, 2015

TRU History


Recommended Reading from Harry Truman

Here’s a reading list that just might change your life.

Harry Truman famously said, “Not all readers become leaders, but all leaders must be readers.”

Truman’s study of history proved indispensable. According to Truman Library Supervisory Archivist Samuel Rushay, “It provided him ethical and moral guidance and was a tool that he used to make decisions, most notably as President of the United States during his two terms of office….Truman ‘internalized’ history and looked to the past almost reflexively whenever a problem or issue arose.”

Whether you be reader, leader or both, summer offers the opportunity to delve into one or more of President Truman’s most read and oft-recommended volumes:

Plutarch’s Lives
Caesar’s Commentaries
Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography
Gibbons’ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Bunker Bean by Harry Leon Wilson
Missouri’s Struggle for Statehood, 1804-1821 by Floyd Calvin Shoemaker
Plato’s Republic
Complete works of Robert Burns
Complete works of Lord Byron (George Gordon), especially Childe Harold
Edward Shepherd Creasy’s Fifteen Decisive Battles Of The World: From Marathon To Waterloo
Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution
William Shakespeare, all writings but especially Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and The Sonnets

If a summer reading list that includes Plutarch feels a bit daunting, take this encouragement from Mr. Truman:

“It has been a life-time program for me, and if you start out even on this incomplete list, you will find it a lengthy study but well worthwhile.

“It will keep you out of mischief, too.”