HARRY TRUMAN: I don't know whether you fellows ever had a load of hay or a bull fall on you. But last night the moon, the stars and all the planets fell on me. If you fellows ever pray, pray for me.

A REPORTER: Good luck, Mr. President.

HARRY TRUMAN : I wish you didn't have to call me that.

That, on April 13, 1945, was the humble Harry Truman, ex-soldier, unsuccessful haberdasher, minor Missouri politician, able U.S. Senator, thrust suddenly into the White House by the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. "I never...