Bookends: May 19, 1986

BESS W. TRUMAN

by Margaret Truman

Macmillan; 445 pages; $19.95

One day in 1955, ex-President Harry S. Truman found his wife before the fireplace, burning their letters. "Bess," he protested. "Think of history." She replied, "I have." Fortunately, most of Harry's letters home were spared, thereby enhancing his legacy and helping his daughter Margaret write a gentle, warmhearted biography of the addressee. Harry had to chase Bess, a spirited child of a prominent Independence, Mo., family, for almost three decades before she would marry him. By the time he entered the White House in 1945, she was, he wrote her, "the...

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