Israel and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman

Michael J. Devine, Robert P. Watson, & Robert J. Wolz, eds.

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After 50 years of continuing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, the legacy of Truman’s struggle is reflected in the distinct voices of this collection’s contributors, including scholars, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, and a former White House aide during Truman’s presidency. (TLS 3)

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Product Description

The Truman Legacy Series, Vol. 3

When he assumed the presidency in April 1945, Harry S. Truman inherited various international sources of turmoil, including the ambiguity of American policy toward political Zionism. Three years later, President Truman recognized the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, just 11 minutes after the announcement of its existence. These essays explore the methods Truman used to tackle this dilemma—one he is said to have considered more troublesome than almost any other issue plaguing the United States at the time. After 50 years of continuing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, the legacy of Truman’s struggle is reflected in the distinct voices of this collection’s contributors, including scholars, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, and a White House aide during Truman’s presidency.

Topics include Truman’s attitude towards Jewish refugees, his anti-Semitic diary entry of 1947, his broad Middle East policy, Truman’s recognition of Israel and the moral fiber it took to make his decision, the trajectory of the Middle East since 1948, the role of Islam, and the vision of peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Appendices include an interview, a memoir, and a chronology. Illustrated with well-chosen period photographs.

Contents

Introduction
The $64 Question.....John Judis

Harry S. Truman, Jews, and the Recognition of Israel
Harry S. Truman and Jewish Refugees.....Alan L. Berger
Truman’s 1947 “Anti-Semitic” Diary Entry.....Bruce S. Warshal
Recognizing Israel: “A Little Touch of Harry in the Night”.....Michael T. Benson
Pragmatic Idealism: Truman’s Broader Middle East Policy.....Tom Lansford
An Act of Political Courage.....Asher Naim
The Truman Doctrine and the Recognition of Israel.....Pat Schroeder
Remembering President Truman.....Ken Hechler

Reflections on the Middle East since 1948
Understanding Historical Narratives.....David Gordis
Islam and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East.....Ahrar Ahmad
Envisioning Peace between Israelis and Palestinians.....William A. Brown

Authors

Michael Devine received his MA and PhD from Ohio State University. He is the former director of the Truman Presidential Museum and Library and president of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. He has served as a senior Fulbright lecturer in Argentina (1983) and in Korea (1995), and was the Houghton Freeman professor at the Johns Hopkins Nanjing University Center in China (1998–99). In addition, Devine was the Illinois state historian (1985–91) and director of the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming (1991–2001).

Robert P. Watson received his PhD from Florida Atlantic University. He is an associate professor of political science at Lynn University, and the author or editor of twenty-five books and over one hundred articles and chapters on the U.S. presidency, first ladies, campaigns, and elections. He is the founding editor of the White House Studies journal.

Robert J. Wolz is executive director of the Harry S. Truman Little White House in Key West, Florida. He is the author of The Legacy of the Harry S. Truman Little White House: Presidents in Paradise, and several articles on Florida history. Wolz is past vice commander-in-chief and national historian of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and a graduate of Youngstown State University. He is pursuing postgraduate studies in nonprofit management at Central Florida University.

Reviews

An impressive work of meticulous scholarship throughout, Israel and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman is a welcome addition to academic library’s 20th Century American History collections, as well as a recommended and informative read for any who are studying Harry Truman’s contribution to the establishment of Israel.

Midwest Book Review

Just 11 minutes after the announcement of its existence, Truman recognized the State of Israel. This came after years of wrestling with the ambiguity of American policy toward plitical Zionism. How Truman worked through the dilemma he largely inherited is reflected in these essays by academics, diplomats, and era politicians.

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