Tag Archives: hiroshima

Book review: The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman, the bomb and the four months that changed the world


While in Washington DC, I made a pilgrimage to the large “Prose and Politics” bookstore in Connecticut Avenue NW. As one would expect, it was bursting with political books. I would have quite happily walked away with an entire wheelbarrow load of books, if my airline baggage weight limit had allowed it. In the end, I bought one paperback, which was “The Accidental President” by A.J.Baime about Harry S. Truman’s first four months as President in 1945. I was not disappointed. It is a brilliant book – a real page turner. By coincidence, Harry Truman lived with his family from 1941 until 1945 (including for the first few days of his Presidency) at 4701 Connecticut Avenue, which I passed on my way to the bookshop.

Harry Truman took over as US President in the most extraordinary circumstances. A.J.Baime quotes a Boston Globe reporter who wrote that Truman’s elevation to Vice Presidential candidate in 1944 was “one of the most amazing stories in American democracy”, adding:

It is the story of an average man, swept to dizzy heights against his will, a little bewildered by it all and doubting whether it is really true.

Posted in Books | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Jo Swinson’s video from the UN

Last Saturday at the Bloggers’ Unconference, our final interview of the day was with Jo Swinson MP – which was particularly kind of her, since she’d flown back from New York the day before, and must have been jet-lagged.

Falling at the end of the day, the discussion we had with Jo was one of the most informal of the day, but was all the better for that. Her enthusiasm for finding new ways of communicating really shone through, and she talked to us about creating the video below. In particular, she was really keen to show us her new Flip video camera, which is extremely portable and can be used by just the one person, without needing fancy lights, an off-camera microphone or an extra person working as camera operator.

Jo used her Flip to make a series of mini videos about the work she was doing at the UN, and quite simply to give some basic impressions of what visiting the UN buildings in New York are like. The buildings are iconic, but not particularly fancy. Working in the main office block is like working in any slightly old fashioned tower block. She also takes time out of her schedule to show us a moving statue rescued from the rubble of Hiroshima – on the face, undamaged and intact; on the rear, scraped raw by the heat and debris of the nuclear explosion.

If you follow LDV’s twitter feed, you may also have seen this message promoting a short audio interview with Helen Duffett asking Jo the questions.

Posted in Blogger Interviews and Online politics | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment
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