At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world, when he suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. At a time when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America’s path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way.
The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin’s blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur’s forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era.