The Year of Indecision, 1946: A Tour Through the Crucible of Harry Truman's America

The Year of Indecision, 1946: A Tour Through the Crucible of Harry Truman's America

Kenneth Weisbrode / Jan 24, 2020

The Year of Indecision A Tour Through the Crucible of Harry Truman s America A vivid account of America at the pivot point of the postwar era Harry Truman s first full year in office In America had just exited the biggest war in modern history and was about to enter ano

  • Title: The Year of Indecision, 1946: A Tour Through the Crucible of Harry Truman's America
  • Author: Kenneth Weisbrode
  • ISBN: 9780670016846
  • Page: 101
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A vivid account of America at the pivot point of the postwar era, Harry Truman s first full year in office In 1946, America had just exited the biggest war in modern history and was about to enter another of a kind no one had fought before We think of this moment as the brilliant start of America Triumphant, in world politics and economics But the reality is murkier 1A vivid account of America at the pivot point of the postwar era, Harry Truman s first full year in office In 1946, America had just exited the biggest war in modern history and was about to enter another of a kind no one had fought before We think of this moment as the brilliant start of America Triumphant, in world politics and economics But the reality is murkier 1946 brought tension between industry and labor, political disunity, bad veteran morale, housing crises, inflation, a Soviet menace all shadowed by an indecisiveness that would plague decision makers who would waffle between engagement and isolation, as the country itself pivoted between prosperity and retrenchment, through the rest of the century The Year of Indecision, 1946 overturns the image of Truman as a can do leader 1946, in fact, marked a nadir in his troubled presidency Relations broke down with the Soviet Union, and nearly did with the British The United States suffered shortages and strikes of a magnitude it had not seen in years In November 1946, the Democrats lost both houses of Congress The tension between fear and optimism expressed itself too in popular culture Americans rejoiced in talent and creative energy, but a shift was brewing Bing Crosby making room for Bill Haley and B.B King John Wayne for Montgomery Clift That year also saw a burst of spirit in literature, music, art and film beneath the shadow of noir The issues and tensions we face today echo those of seven decades ago As we observe in this portrait of the era just before our own, as America learned, piecemeal and reluctantly, to act like a world power, it tried, and succeeded only partially, to master fear Indecision, Weisbrode argues, is the leitmotif of American history.

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      Posted by:Kenneth Weisbrode
      Published :2019-04-21T15:38:45+00:00

    About "Kenneth Weisbrode"

      • Kenneth Weisbrode

        Kenneth Weisbrode is Assistant Professor of History at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.His specialist research area is the history of diplomacy, with a focus on American and European history of the 20th century Within this field, he is concerned with the relations of official institutions principally foreign offices to informal diplomatic networks in the Atlantic region His dissertation at Harvard University led to the book The Atlantic Century Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America s Vital Alliance with Europe 2009.


    508 Comments

    1. I wasn't that impressed with this book. It covered Harry Truman's presidency in detail and society in less detail. In Music 1946 was the year the Big Band era was replaced by the " Crooner's" such as Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mercer. Oscar Hammerstein's musicals were in their hey day in these years with plays such as "It Might as Well Be Spring." Hollywood also boomed at this time. Superstars such as Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Joan Crawford emerged. President Truman first te [...]


    2. I received this book through a "First-Reads" Giveaway. Not what I was expecting based on the title of the book. This book is not a historical narrative of a single year. Instead, the author focuses on certain persons, places, and events (some of which occur in 1946, some of which don't), as he explores America coming to terms with being a post-war power, understanding and defining what exactly that meant, and the fear and indecision that plagued both our political leadership and the populace as [...]


    3. Any book, by definition, must be a labor of love, or why else would someone devote the time and effort to what can be an arduous and typically thankless task. That said, I really dislike giving such a negative appraisal, but I do not know what this book adds to our understanding and discussions of the postwar world. I get it, the author believes most politicians and policymakers after WWII were underprepared, overrated, and probably overwhelmed. So, the American century wasn't so much created as [...]


    4. Too fuzzy to be useful, I think.Weisbrode wants to explain that much-forgotten era, the immediate post-War in America. (In the popular imagination, the country jump-cuts from VJ-day to the Cleavers in Levittown.) That's all to the good. The problem here is that his argument is simultaneously too diffuse and too focused.The too-focused bit is obvious in the structure, and content. Weisbrode offers a very old-fashioned kind of history. He wants to discuss *the* American culture of the time, *the* [...]


    5. Weisbrode's book feels less like reading about history than listening to someone talk about an era with not only deep knowledge but a fair bit of wit. In many ways, the book argues that Truman (and many Americans of his era valued the idea of decisiveness over the less satisfying--but often wiser--process of working through problems thoughtfully. It also suggests that the USA often gets away with such decisiveness because of preponderance--even poorly thought-out policies are sometimes successfu [...]


    6. This is an interesting read about the uncertainties facing the United States in the mid- to late 1940s. The subtitle of the book is probably the more appropriate one, as the book does not mention a lot about, let alone focus on, the year 1946. The author intended to cover a lot, but with mix results, in which some chapters are much better than the others (chapters 4, 6 and 10 are good reads).




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