Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Daniel assembles a collection of letters containing the mundane, everyday musings of the devoted Trumans, his grandparents. Early letters are of particular interest, showing Harry, who as a farmer was exempt from the draft but enlisted anyway, traveling to France in 1918. The couple court via correspondence and Harry instructs his betrothed to "please get ready to march down the aisle with me" at the earliest opportunity. Great moments in their lives are recorded through letters, including endless tales of their new daughter Mary Margaret, born in 1924. In these days before air conditioning, there is much discussion of the blistering Independence, MO summers. As Mary Margaret ages, her father chides her for not writing more. Bess tirelessly devotes her time to "pinching pennies." Though the letters offer little insight into Truman's political life, Daniel begins chapters with that information. Though he notes that a 1939 letter contains the raciest line in their correspondence (Bess bought herself a "thin negligee"), readers looking for scandal are more likely to find it in the offhand use of the "n" word. Despite the casual racism, this is a charming, if molasses-paced, look back. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.