"No one will ever study or write about the time of Truman again without a bow of gratitude to Merle Miller. Never has a President of the United States, or any head of state for that matter, been so totally revealed, so completely documented." —Robert A. Arthur
Plain Speaking is a book based on conversations between Merle Miller and the thirty-third President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. From these interviews, as well as others who knew him over the years, Miller transcribes Truman's feisty takes on everything from his personal life, military service, and political career to the challenges he faced in taking the office during the final days of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. Using a series of taped discussions from 1962 that never aired on television, Plain Speaking takes an opportunity to deliver exactly how Mr. Truman felt about the presidency, and his thoughts in his later years on his accomplishments and the legacy he left behind.
Merle Miller was born on May 17, 1919 in Montour, Iowa, and grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and the London School of Economics. He joined the US. Army Air Corps during World War II, where he worked as an editor of Yank. His best-known books are his biographies of three presidents: Plain Speaking: An Oral History of Harry Truman, Lyndon: An Oral Biography, and Ike the Soldier: As They Knew Him. His novels include That Winter, The Sure Thing, Reunion, A Secret Understanding, A Gay and Melancholy Sound, What Happened, Island 49, and A Day in Late September. He also wrote We Dropped the A-Bomb, The Judges and the Judged, Only You, Dick Daring!, about his experiences writing a television pilot for CBS starring Barbara Stanwyck and Jackie Cooper, and On Being Different, an expansion of his 1971 article for the The New York Times Magazine entitled "What It Means to Be a Homosexual." He died in 1986