Close Reading Analysis of Last Of His Kind

The 33rd President of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman,
had over ten biographies published about him, each one being different
from one another. This book is especially unique due to its style, easy
reading, and simple sentence structure.
The tone of the book Last of His Kind, by Charles Robbins, is best
described as informative and effusive, in other words the book is very
outgoing by often giving "fun facts" and a great deal of insight. There
is also some juggling of conversation between Harry, his friends, and
the author. This "juggling" helps to give the book its own distinct
style and also keeps the reader focused. The author's view towards
Truman was very admiring.
The style is informal for conversations due to the use of jargon like "I
put up a whirlwind membership campaign for the Kansas city Automobile
Club and made a good living at it." This suggests that Truman is being
involved in automobiles and often gives a little insight. Also, it
often seems as though Harry is speaking to the reader directly. Slang is
also a big part of conversation mostly because of the author's attempts
of making the conversations appear more life-like by giving the people
the southern accent that they had. Slang sayings like "?you were late
and you caught the devil" are also often used, throughout the whole
book. Other slang words like "Bum," and "gimpy" are also being used.
The formality and informality fluctuates between the author and Harry.
When Harry is speaking the style is informal but when the author is
speaking the style switches to high formal.
The sentence structure is basically simple and conversation-like when
Truman or his family/friends are speaking but changes to compound and
sometimes complex when the author is speaking. A good example would be
"?[s]o I came to the United states senate and went to work? (notice the
simple words) Beyond pointing out that both his opponents had not been
above seeking Pendergast's help?." Notice the change of style between
Truman's sentence and the author's. Figurative language like metaphors
and similes are only used in conversations. Most sentences are clear,
organized and parallel. They are also very specific when referring to
certain actions in the past that will affect the future. The sentences
are mainly short thought they sometimes tend to run on. (nobody is
The diction, often formal when the author speaks, tends to push towards
formal due to the choice of elegant words used, but when Truman speaks,
it tends to be informal and neutral. Denotation and connotation, even
though its hardly used, it is used when Truman speaks about his wife,
Bess, and daughter, Margaret.
The syntax maintains an active voice throughout the whole book and only
is passive in a few small spots. The sentences are loose in some parts
and become periodic in other parts; it mostly depends on what is going
on. A good place to find periodic sentences is around the atomic bomb,
and the firing of Gen. MacArthur. Parallel structure is maintained
throughout the book and is sometimes not parallel when Truman speak. The
syntax is generally simple and only slightly becomes complex when the
author speaks.
Simple syntax, a peaceful tone, and great insight on Harry S. Truman
all contribute to the style of the book making it unique and
captivating. The mixture of first and third person point of view
combined with all the other good aspects of this book make it not only
interesting but also bring it one step closer to grammatical perfection.