There was so much hubbub over the Wallace ouster that no one thought much about his possible successor. That could wait. Harry Truman went off to seek weekend sanctuary on the presidential yacht.

One man had serious thoughts about the job. He was Alfred Schindler, a short, bouncy, cheerful conservative who had been Henry Wallace's Under Secretary for 17 months. A onetime feed salesman, he was on a speaking tour of the West Coast when word came from Washington that he was now Acting Secretary. Salesman Schindler bustled into action, sent word to...

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