Affection and Trust


Affection and Trust

The Personal Correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, 1953-1971

Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson
Introduction by David McCullough

364 pages
12 photographs


March 2013


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In this riveting collection, available for the first time in paperback, we follow Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, two giants of the post–World War II period who were primarily responsible for the Marshall Plan and NATO, among other world-shaping initiatives, as they move from an official relationship to one of candor, humor, and personal expression. In these letters, spanning the years from when both were newly out of office until Acheson’s death at the age of seventy-eight, we find them sharing the often surprising and always illuminating opinions, ideas, and feelings that the strictures of their offices had previously kept them from revealing.

Unbuttoned, careless of language, unburdened by political ambition or vanity, Truman and Acheson reveal their characters and their loyalty to each other on every page. Truman, a Missouri farmer with the unpolished but sharp intellect of a largely self-educated man, and Acheson, well educated, urbane, and affluent, seem an unlikely pair. But both men shared a deep and abiding patriotism and a taste for politics that transcended their very different backgrounds. Affection and Trust is a remarkable book that brings to light the very human side of two of the most important statesmen of the twentieth century.

Author Bio

Harry S. Truman was the thirty-third president of the United States. Dean Acheson was secretary of state during the Truman administration. David McCullough is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the author of John Adams and Truman, both Pulitzer Prize winners.


"What pure joy it is to read this astonishing exchange of letters between these two giant figures. This unreserved and surprisingly tender correspondence is simultaneously a moving tribute to friendship, a historical treasure, and a fabulous read from start to finish. It is also a happy throwback to a bygone era when people took the time to write long handwritten letters to one another."—Doris Kearns Goodwin

"Harry Truman was the last American president who had worked behind plow horses and had never been to college. His Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, was a patrician from Yale, from the upper reaches of the legal profession, and from the vanished world of America's WASP ascendancy. Their collaboration, even more, their friendship, made history—and these luminous letters."—George F. Will

"Just as the letters between Adams and Jefferson provide an intimate and historically rich view of the birth and early years of the Republic, so, too, does the post-presidential correspondence between Truman and Acheson offer illuminating insights into the watershed years following World War II. At a time when America had emerged with strength and maturity into another vastly changed world, the candid views of these two old and mutually trusted friends on affairs of state and the personalities involved in them are invaluable sources of information. Scholars and historians will be mining this trove for years to come."—Dr. Henry Kissinger

"What a wonderful book this is; a treasure abundant with little gems of statecraft, patriotism, and keen observation by two honorable men."—Ken Burns

"A revelatory collection of letters, these missives exchanged between a former president and his secretary of state simply defy simple characterization. . . . Valuable to historians, the divulgences in these letters will equally intrigue history readers."—Booklist

"[Readers] will receive an insightful, if sometimes partial, view of cold war politics through the eyes of two thoroughly admirable American leaders."—Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

Editorial Note
Introduction by David McCullough

1. February to December 1953
    A New Outlet for "the Truman-Acheson Front"

2. January 1954 to April 1955
    Eisenhower's Foreign Policy - Musings on History and Government - Truman's Memoirs - A Serious Operation - The Truman Library - Visits in Kansas City and Washington - Testimony and Tough Political Talk

3. June to August 1955
    A Blunt Critique of Truman's Memoirs

4. August 1955 to September 1956
    The Postdam Paper - "Intellectual Prostitutes" - Margaret Is Married - A Trip to Europe

5. November 1956 to December 1957
    Foreign-Policy and Civil-Rights Crises - A Meeting in Washington - More Politics - The "S"

6. January 1958 to June 1959
    Meetings in New Haven, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C. - A Political Season - A President Who Doesn't Know Where He's Going - Three Foreign-Policy Crises - Truman Is "Steamed Up" - A Grand Birthday Celebration

7. June 1959 to November 1960
    A Candidate for 1960 - George Marshall's Death - The U-2 Incident - Sit-Down Strikes - A "Treaty on 'Don'ts'" - John F. Kennedy and the Democratic Convention - The Campaign

8. February 1961 to October 1971
    JFK and LBJ - An Operation and a Fall - More Memoirs - Deaths in the Family - The Last Letter

List of Letters

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