HISTORICAL NOTES: Giving Them More Hell

While in the White House, Harry Truman once wrote to a music critic who had snickered at Daughter Margaret's singing that the fellow would be needing a jockstrap if they ever met. Now it turns out that advancing age and tranquil retirement in Independence, Mo., did nothing to sweeten the tongue or soften the wrath of the 33rd President of the United States. In a book appropriately titled Plain Speaking, to be published in February (G.P. Putnam's Sons), Truman displays all of his oldtime fire.

The book came out of a long series of conversations that Truman, then 77, had...

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