Harry Truman left office in 1953, before ex-Presidents had Secret Service protection or pensions. With only his Army pension for income, Harry returned to his Independence, Missouri home to resume life as an ordinary citizen. Harry loved to drive, and was determined (despite his wife’s misgivings) to make a 2500-mile vacation road trip to New York and back. He and Bess set out in their new Chrysler on a journey over America’s back roads (no interstates then), with stops at small-town diners and Mom and Pop motels, during a hell-busting heat spell (no air conditioning in cars then, either).
This book is utterly charming. This is not a 1000-page deep history. What it offers is an intriguing and humorous look at Harry Truman, the 1950s, and road trips in general. It offers fascinating side stories (like Harry’s feud with Dwight D. Eisenhower), details of meals taken (Bess really eats quite a lot of fruit), and a view of what has happened since 1953 to some of the places they visited (one of the motels is now a halfway house for felons). A very satisfying read, and an incitement to read much more about Harry Truman.