Interview with Author Steve Drummond on the Truman Committee

The Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society are delighted to bring you an interview with author Steve Drummond discussing his current book “The Watchdog: How the Truman Committee Battled Corruption and Helped Win World War Two” with U.S. Senate Historian, Kate Scott. 

Particular thanks to the Pew Charitable Trust and Pew’s Studio Manager, Antonio Villaronga, for the recording!

About the Book

The story of how a little-known junior senator fought wartime corruption and, in the process, set himself up to become vice president and ultimately President Harry Truman.

Months before Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that the United States was on the verge of entering 

another world war for which it was dangerously ill-prepared. The urgent times demanded a transformation of the economy, with the government bankrolling the unfathomably expensive task of enlisting millions of citizens while also producing the equipment necessary to successfully fight—all of which opened up opportunities for graft, fraud and corruption.

In The Watchdog, Steve Drummond draws the reader into the fast-paced story of how Harry Truman, still a newcomer to Washington politics, cobbled together a bipartisan team of men and women that took on powerful corporate entities and the Pentagon, placing Truman in the national spotlight and paving his path to the White House.

Drawing on the largely unexamined records of the Truman Committee as well as oral histories, personal letters, newspaper archives and interviews, Steve Drummond—an award-winning senior editor and executive producer at NPR—brings the colorful characters and intrigue of the committee’s work to life. The Watchdog provides readers with a window to a time that was far from perfect but where it was possible to root out corruption and hold those responsible to account. It shows us what can be possible if politicians are governed by the principles of their office rather than self-interest.

About the Author

Steve Drummond is a journalist at NPR in Washington, where he has been a senior editor for more than two decades. He has been a reporter with newspapers in Florida and the Associated Press in Michigan and has written for many publications, including the St. Petersburg Times, the Detroit News, the New York Times, Education Week and Teacher Magazine. He lives in Maryland, where he also teaches journalism at the University of Maryland.