Picks and Pans Review: Growing Up with My Grandfather: Memories of Harry Truman
Clifton Truman Daniel didn't spend all that much time with his famous grandfather. And Truman died when Daniel—eldest son of Harry's daughter Margaret (the mystery writer)—was only 15. So this book is not a memoir of life with the down-to-earth 33rd President. Its true subject is how it feels to be a low achiever in a famous American family.
Daniel, whose father was a managing editor of The New York Times, grew up in New York City, studied at all the right schools, met all the right people and nonetheless (or because of that, as he sees it) became an alcoholic and a drug abuser. He has managed to put his life in order through therapy, a strong marriage and children of his own (plus a job his father secured for him at the Wilmington Star-News in North Carolina), but the book has a whiny tone. Perhaps fellow members of the overprivi-leged club can sympathize with the demons that haunted Daniel. But fans of President Truman's give-'em-hell style will find this book a disappointment. (Birch Lane, $19.95)