MSNBC host Scarborough (Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day) delivers a brisk and informative look at the development of the Truman Doctrine. In 1947, Great Britain, which had been economically devastated by WWII, informed the Truman administration that it couldn’t provide much-needed financial aid to Greece and Turkey. Secretary of State George Marshall and his top deputy, Dean Acheson, recognized the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to the two countries, which the Soviet Union wanted to add to its sphere of influence. If that happened, Marshall and Acheson argued, other countries in the Middle East and Western Europe might soon follow. The broader rationale behind their recommendation for U.S. intervention was accepted by President Truman, even though it meant transforming “America’s conception of itself and its role in the world” and becoming “an active participant in the political affairs of other nations.” Though that role is now commonly accepted, Scarborough expertly details the behind-the-scenes politicking that made it happen, paying special attention to the role of Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg, who charted a new, internationalist direction for his party. Though it breaks little new ground, Scarborough’s vivid account will appeal to readers who long for a new era of bipartisanship in American politics. (Nov.)
Morning Joe host Scarborough, a former member of the House of Representatives, here examines President Harry Truman's first year in office. Truman might have been intent on "saving freedom," but he surely faced challenges: many parts of the world were still climbing out of the rubble, and the Cold War loomed. With a 200,000-copy first printing.
The story of the aid program that helped launch the Cold War.
MSNBC host and former congressman Scarborough reminds readers that 1947 began with Americans basking in peace after the end of World War II less than 18 months earlier, and the budgets for the armed forces were slashed drastically. This was the scene in February when the British Foreign Office delivered two notes described as “shockers” by undersecretary of state Dean Acheson. They summarized events in Greece, which was impoverished and reeling under a communist-led civil war, and Turkey, threatened by Soviet expansion. Britain had long provided their support, but, bankrupt after the war, it could do so no longer. Tactfully, British leadership suggested that America step in to prevent those nations from falling to the communists. Acheson showed the notes to Harry Truman, who agreed that the circumstances required action. Scarborough delivers a lively blow-by-blow account of Truman’s consultations with advisers and meetings with congressional leaders, including Sen. Arthur Vandenberg (whom the author clearly admires), formerly a hidebound Republican isolationist but a convert to internationalism who won over many of his colleagues. There followed Truman’s famous March 12, 1947, address before Congress urging aid to Greece and Turkey; the president proclaimed that America “must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” Isolationist Republicans were opposed, as were liberal democrats, who urged that the matter be turned over to the U.N. and pointed out that Greeks were not “free” but ruled by an unpleasant autocrat. In the end, with Vandenberg’s backing, the aid passed, and the Truman Doctrine was born. Defeating Greek communist rebels turned out to require several years, during which Truman returned America to world leadership with actions such as the Marshall Plan, the founding of NATO, and the defense of South Korea from the North’s invasion.
Solid American history and another feather in the cap of Truman, whose presidential reputation is rising steadily.
As a practitioner of politics and an astute analyst of the storms of the present, Joe Scarborough is uniquely positioned to bring history to life. And that’s exactly what he’s done here, giving us a compelling account of a great man and a great American moment. Harry Truman comes to life in these pages— and his is a life that repays our attention now more than ever.
New York Times
"In an earnest, engaging new book, ‘Saving Freedom,’ Joe Scarborough, the eponymous host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ shows readers why and, most important, how Truman set a precedent for all his successors...its rediscovery of the politicians’ role in the Cold War comes at just the right time.
"Bold and highly readable."
Scarborough’s eerily timely book is Saving Freedom, a fluently written and engaging account of the Democrat Truman in 1947 winning over sceptical Republicans in Congress to end 150 years of American isolationism and unite the west against the Soviet Union.
Saving Freedom speaks to our national crisis here and now. Joe Scarborough tells the American miracle of how Harry Truman, a 'strange little man' from Missouri, pulled together Republicans and Democrats to confront Soviet communism and establish America as a global power. As Joe reminds us in this wise history, American greatness begins with unity and good values."
Joe Scarborough’s Saving Freedom is a wonderful examination of a pivotal moment in world history, and a perfect lesson for this tumultuous moment in America. Scarborough illuminates how, at a moment of existential peril for Western democracy, farsighted and skillful presidential leadership built the transatlantic architecture that has sheltered seven decades of peace and prosperity. It is a story for the ages, beautifully told.”
As someone who sat in Harry Truman’s seat in the US Senate, I have read every book written about him. I thought the subjects had all been covered. I was wrong. This book explores, in depth, the broad reach of Truman’s revolution in US foreign policy. If you want to understand why isolationism harms America’s national security, read this book. The Truman Doctrine ushered in the dominance of the United States in the world and the containment of communism, but this book is even more important as a cautionary tale about the fraying of America’s alliances with freedom-loving nations.
"Bold and highly readable."