Truman by David McCullough:
The war in Europe that changed the world in such drastic fashion need hardly have concerned Harry Truman of Grandview, Missouri, much beyond what he might have read in the Kansas City papers or some of his favorite magazines. Had he chosen, he could have played no part in it, and nobody would have expected him to have done otherwise. He turned thirty-three the spring of 1917, which was two years beyond the age limit set by the new Selective Service Act. He had been out of the National Guard for nearly six years. His eyes were far below the standard requirements for any of the armed services. And he was the sole supporter of his mother and sister. As a farmer, furthermore, he was supposed to remain on the farm, as a patriotic duty. Upon the farmers of the country, said President Woodrow Wilson, rested the fate of the war and thus the fate of the nation and the world.