Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Englishman Wins Harry S. Truman Book Award

 The Harry S. Truman Book Award recognizes the best book published within a two-year period that deals primarily and substantially with some aspect of the history of the United States between April 12, 1945 and January 20, 1953, or with the public career of Harry S. Truman.

Tragic is not too sure how many laughs they have over at the old Harry S. Truman Library and Museum which looks a in need of livening-up judging by its website, but they do carry a valuable legacy.  

The machinations of the Truman administration ,especially it's early up take of what we could view as modern propaganda techniques, plus it's role in shaping sociological values that would not be challenged until the late sixties, means that the award's period of interest was fundamentally important in how the second half of the 20th Century unfolded .

Anyhow,  in 2010, for the first time ever a non-American has won the award. Fancy. 

That the winner comes from the USA's arguably closet ally, the UK, shouldn't rock too many gun ships though. As Tragic's father played role in the Royal Navy during the Korean War, the winning subject matter is of keen interest.

Dr Steven Casey, a senior lecturer in the (London School of Economics) LSE Department of International History, won the 2010 Harry S Truman Book Award for his work Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950-1953 (Oxford University Press, 2008).

"Selling the Koran War, which previously won the 2009 Neustadt Award in American Politics, was selected from a record field of thirty-three entries to emerge as the winner of the Harry S Truman book award. 

Dr Casey is the first non-American to win this award, whose previous recipients include Dean Acheson, McGeorge Bundy, Bruce Cumings and John Gaddis," LSE says.
Commenting on the book, Dr. Jeffrey Gall, chair of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee, said:
"The committee believes that Dr. Casey's work is a unique and important contribution to the historiography of the Korean War. He explores how, at all levels, the Truman administration worked to control and shape the public's understanding of what was occurring on the Korean peninsula and to maintain both popular and Congressional support for a conflict unlike any the nation had ever seen."
"U.S. setbacks in the war clearly helped lead to Truman's plummeting approval ratings as he left office, yet Casey argues the administration succeeded on other levels. Support for the war never totally collapsed as it might have, and the administration helped the public come to better understand the long, perilous, and complex situation faced by the nation in the emerging Cold War." 

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