Sign up for our free newsletter
At a moment when American politics seems irreparably broken and when bipartisanship seems obsolete, Lawrence J. Haas has written a book about one of the most significant cross-party alliances in modern American history. In Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World, Haas—a former journalist and aide to Vice President Al Gore—recalls the partnership between President Harry Truman, a Democrat, and Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, a Republican, which produced such bedrock elements of U.S. foreign policy as the Marshall Plan to rebuild post-war Europe, the NATO military alliance, and the United Nations. “Historians often choose what stories to write about because they’re inspired by current events,” Haas says. “I wanted to address two myths about our current era—that our politics has never been more partisan, and that we’ve never faced such a tough set of challenges at home and abroad. Neither of those notions is remotely true, especially when held up against the late 1940s. Back then, the parties managed to collaborate over foreign affairs while fighting bitterly over domestic affairs.” Hear Haas’ argument for cockeyed optimism when he speaks at Politics & Prose. Larry Haas reads at 1 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com.