The Soldier from Independence


The Soldier from Independence

A Military Biography of Harry Truman, Volume 1, 1906-1919

D. M. Giangreco

Foreword by Alonzo L. Hamby


312 pages
35 photographs, 1 illustration, 1 map, index


September 2018


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October 2018


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Revealing the little-known facts of Harry Truman’s remarkable military performance, as a soldier and as a politician, The Soldier from Independence adds a whole new dimension to the already fascinating character of the thirty-third president of the United States. D. M. Giangreco shows how, as a field artillery battery commander in World War I, Truman was already making the hard decisions that he knew to be right, regardless of personal consequences. 

Truman oversaw the conclusion of the Second World War, stood up to Stalin, and met the test of North Korea’s invasion of the South. He also had the fortitude to defy Gen. Douglas MacArthur, one of America’s most revered wartime leaders, and ultimately fired the Far East commander, often characterized as the American Caesar. Filling in the details behind these world-changing events, this military biography supplies a heretofore missing—and critical—chapter in the story of one of the nation’s most important presidents. The Soldier from Independence recounts the World War I military adventure that would mark a turning point in the life of a humble man who would go on to become commander in chief.

Author Bio

D. M. Giangreco is a former editor of Military Review at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the award-winning author of fourteen books on military and sociopolitical subjects, including Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945–1947 and United States Army: The Definitive Illustrated History. Alonzo L. Hamby is a distinguished professor emeritus of history at Ohio University. He is the recipient of a Harry S. Truman Library Institute Senior Fellowship and the Ohio Academy of History Distinguished Service Award.


"Giangreco's work is an excellent piece of scholarship. Unit histories, oral interviews, Truman's papers, and archival materials at the National Archives as well as the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum form the backbone of the work."—Justin Prince, Chronicles of Oklahoma

"Giangreco's study fills a vacuum in the literature on Truman. There are many biographies of him, but they deal only briefly with his life before the end of World War I. Giangreco provides thorough coverage of Truman's career in the military, both as a citizen soldier and then later after the U.S. government federalized his National Guard unit."—James Matray, Strategy Bridge

“The style and clarity in which this book is written make it an easy, compelling read for anyone who has served in combat or is interested in Harry Truman, World War I, the Army National Guard, or, frankly, just a fast-moving adventure story. The Soldier from Independence provides serious insight into a man who would become one of the most effective presidents of the United States.”—Douglas V. Johnson II, Parameters

“Giangreco’s military biography of Truman is a study in command and proper and successful employment of authority.”—David O. Whitten, On Point

“Harry S. Truman was commander in chief at one of the critical moments in American—and global—military history: when the decision had to be made to drop the atomic bomb. As to his military credentials, however, Truman is often dismissed as little more than a National Guard hack and a Kansas City haberdasher with no real military acumen. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, as D. M. Giangreco makes clear in The Soldier from Independence.”—Military Book Club

“With his customary thoroughness, D. M. Giangreco has given us a splendid account of Harry Truman’s military career.”—Alonzo L. Hamby, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Ohio University

“Reading Truman’s account of events is very powerful, and Giangreco has skillfully constructed a narrative with these sources that makes it possible for readers to experience the war as if they were on the battlefield with Harry Truman and Battery D.”—Jon E. Taylor, Missouri Historical Review

“Going into combat in the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918, Captain Truman’s actions as recounted by Giangreco will engage readers drawn to the formative experiences of future presidents.”—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

“Giangreco not only gives us a look at one of the millions of ordinary Americans who served in the Great War, giving us a soldier’s-eye view of the AEF and the trenches as well as a brief treatment of the army’s mismanagement of the National Guard, but also discusses how Truman’s time in uniform shaped his business and political life.”—A. A. Nofi, Center for Naval Analysis, Naval War College, and senior editor of

Table of Contents

Foreword by Alonzo L. Hamby
1.         The Life of Napoleon
2.         Corporal Harry S. Truman
3.         Camp Doniphan
4.         “No Trifling Test of Patriotism”
5.         Jacobson & Trumanheimer
6.         “Wondering if We’d Be Heroes or Corpses”
7.         “Dizzy D”
8.         “Un Secteur Tranquil”
9.         Code Name “Chicago”
10.       First Blood
11.       125 Miles of Mud and Rain
12.       The Meuse-Argonne
13.       “Go to Hell . . . But I’ll Try!”
14.       Scratch Two Boche Batteries
15.       Counterattack at Exermont
16.       “Frenchmen Buried in My Front Yard and Huns in the Back”
17.       “It’s Over, Over There”
18.       “Full and Immediate Separation”

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