Places in history

In July I was in Kansas City, and made it a point to visit the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. It was fascinating to see the power with which this place brought into focus the story of an American president: how a man of modest means and humble beginnings—honesty perhaps his most-prized value—found himself thrust into a position of great political influence.

Much more than a collection of books and papers, the library explains Truman's place in history. Whether or not visitors agree with his politics, they come away with a perspective on the forces that came together throughout his life to shape his actions at home and abroad—the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, NATO.

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September 30, 2002
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