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Ike: An American Hero

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,101 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Ike is acclaimed author Michael Korda's sweeping and enthralling biography of Dwight David Eisenhower, arguably America's greatest general and one of her best presidents—a remarkable man in an extraordinary time, the hero who won the war and thereafter kept the peace.
ebook, 800 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2007)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 01, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: presidents-staff
”A man who has successfully commanded millions of men in battle, who has made the most difficult and far-reaching military decision of all time, and who accepted the formal surrender of Nazi Germany, must have a core of steel; a streak of ruthlessness; the ability to make cold, hard, objective decisions; and an imperial sense of command, however well disguised they may be by a big grin and a firm handshake.”

 photo dwight-d-eisenhower_zpsdwktwc9q.jpg

Dwight D. Eisenhower almost didn’t go to West Point. He wanted to go, but his best frien
“I like Ike!”

Of course, I do; we all do. But I don’t worship at his altar and I bet you don’t either. However, I can’t say the same thing for Michael Korda. He fell in love with his subject and concluded that his man never made a mistake and those who disagreed with him were always – well, nine out of ten times anyway -- wrong.

He should have ended the book with Germany’s surrender because while he writes of the Eisenhower presidency in glowing terms, he constantly overstates his case and devotes
Joe Kovacs
Thus may I chalk up to "five" the number of presidential biographies I have completed to date--and advance one further step in my quest to read a biography of EVERY U.S. president who ever served.

This one-volume story of Dwight David Eisenhower, our 34th president, brings readers through a well-paced account of his childhood in Abilene, Kansas, his successful tenure as a cadet at West Point, his first years as an Army man (his talent for logistics kept him at home and in planning/training roles
Jul 03, 2014 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of American history
Shelves: history, maps, biography, ebook
A clear and comprehensive biography of the thirty-fourth president. Though Eisenhower has long suffered from the grandfatherly caretaker image painted by the press then, Ike emerges from Korda’s pages as a capable, though quiet leader who European victories during World War Two carried into the White House a decade later.

Kordas relies heavily on public writings which might have biased his book toward conventional wisdom, but he goes against the tide of even his fellow Englishmen in Ike’s famous
Aaron Million
This is one of the most poorly-written books that I have read in several years. Immensely disappointing. Korda does a terrible job of accurately depicting who Eisenhower really was. He is obviously a big admirer of him (which is fine - there is much to admire about the man). But the admiration comes at the almost total exclusion of discussing Eisenhower's personality flaws. There is little discussion of how Ike was remote from his son John, and how he continually relegated his wife Mamie to the ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book. It was absolutely facinating and full of great information and wonderful details. I had 2 major hangups though.

First, Korda kept interjecting information about his family and/or career or something of that sort into the book. They were mostly footnotes similar to "The author's brother once met a neighbor of the aforementioned general and had a plesant discussion about the bombing in London." They added nothing to the book and quickly became annoying and disrup
Apr 30, 2010 Boomerang64 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: presidents
I've read a lot of presidential biographies. This one was, by far, the most disappointing. There were a lot of facts, but very little insight into Eisenhower as a human being. And I have to mention this because it bothered me as I was reading -- at times it was self-indulgent. He clearly likes to put events into context, but he puts them into the context of his own life - not the reader's. (At one point, we learn how his grandparents met which, by the way, had nothing whatsoever to do with Eisen ...more
Jeremy Perron
Apr 06, 2012 Jeremy Perron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Korda's Ike is a fascinating look into one of the most famous men of the twentieth century. He was a first-rate solider and statesman, this life-long solider would leave office warning the nation of the growing military-industrial complex. This is an incredible story of a boy from Abilene, Kansas who would rise to become one of the most famous figures on the world stage. If history had not intervened he probably would have retired from the army a bird colonel and we never would heard abo ...more
Jeff Kelleher
Feb 01, 2013 Jeff Kelleher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is top-down history, an example of the "great man" school of historiography. Korda makes clear from the start that he leaves to others the chronicle of the "little people" who did the bleeding and dying. The result is a sort of Masterpiece Theater drama of manners and personalities, as Ike maneuvers to hold together the alliance, and shape the strategy that won the war in the West. The clash of egos between Churchill, DeGaulle, Montgomery, Patton, Tedder, Harris, and Brooke has been told ma ...more
Jun 15, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history fans, world events, military history
Recommended to Rachel by: Dr. Marshall Gollub
Shelves: history, military
This was an excellent biography of Eisenhower. I enjoyed all 700 pages, which is saying something -- Korda is an experienced author with a good sense of what makes a story.

While several reviews of this book complain that Korda was too sympathetic to Ike, and not nearly critical enough, I felt that being critical was not the point of the work. He certainly pointed out Ike's mistakes and missteps, but his thesis was that Ike demonstrated courage, military skill, hard work, integrity, and common se
May 11, 2009 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who loves historical biographies, this book was a treat. Korda employs a readable style with enough detail to delight, but not too much so as to overwhelm.

Without question, Korda is sympathetic towards Eisenhower. Countless places throughout the book he will state others’ criticism towards Eisenhower (i.e., not pressing to Berlin in WWII), and immediately follow with “but…” and defend the general’s decisions and character. In particular, Eisenhower’s relationship with Kay Summersby is
Feb 25, 2009 Steve rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Korda has to be the most arrogant biographer ever to be published. Not only does he insert himself into just about every interesting story about Dwight Eisenhower that he tells in the book, but even the book itself - underneath the jacket - doesn't feature the name of the book, but does feature the initials of the biographer. Seriously, this guy is painful to read, and it's a shame because his subject is so interesting and he managed to ruin it by drawing you out of the story and into hi ...more
Carl R.
May 07, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president I remember knowing or thinking much about. FDR was dead before I was five. I was ten when Truman left office. I recall my father criticizing him for his unpresidential language--a man in his position shouldn’t be saying “damn” and “hell” in public--but not much else. But I do remember Ike vs. Adlai. I even listened to one of the conventions on the radio, or at least parts of it. Why or what I got out of it, I can’t say. It was probably the democratic ...more
George Hodgson
Feb 19, 2017 George Hodgson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very pleasant read that does great justice to Eisenhower's military career. The premise that his Presidency was an important active one rather than laid back, is rather weakly presented when it takes up less than 100 pages of a 700 page book. Overall though, a good attempt at presenting him as the extremely competent gentleman diplomat that he was.
Carl Rollyson
Michael Korda misses the point about American heroes, thinking we pester them into infamy or insignificance. In his new biography of Dwight Eisenhower, he quotes Emerson's comment, "Every hero becomes a bore at last," noting, by way of contrast, France's "national passion for Napoleon," England's "sentimental hero worship of Nelson," and Russia's "glorification of Peter the Great." But if we cut our heroes "down to size," as Mr. Korda contends, we do so only to build them back up again. Hence Da ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Scottnshana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this is a great companion to David Halberstam's book "The 50s"; whichever one reads first is irrelevant, but I found that they complemented each other nicely. I have never read Korda before but I think he's one of those British historians that in the past decade has gone into the archives and brought sharper clarity to events we thought we had completely explored. Starting off the book with the decision to go on 6 June 1944, and delving into the "What-ifs" of a failure at Normandy ...more
Sandy KPMP
Feb 26, 2017 Sandy KPMP rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book.
Jan 11, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I like Ike” as his campaign buttons proclaimed, I’ve always liked Ike, and I liked this Ike.
Michael Korda did not have the benefit of the “hundreds and hundreds of hours” of conversation with Eisenhower that Stephen Ambrose, the elite of Eisenhower biographers, enjoyed but this is a valid and very decent addition to the memory of a great man.
While writing this I remembered that when Ambrose wrote his three volume biography of Nixon, which stretched over a ten year period, Nixon never granted h
Oct 01, 2008 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rick by: Jenn Collins
This is the first time I've read Korda and I must say I was skeptical at first considering the fact that he was a British writer. I thought that perhaps Korda would be biased towards Ike considering past British authors that have revised history in favor of Montgomery (Monty) the British general that was often at odds with Ike. I was more than pleasantly suprised by Korda's research, detail, fairness while not idolizing Ike. This was the best book on Ike that I've read since Ambrose's take on th ...more
Jennifer Nelson
I was pleasantly surprised by the readability of this book considering dryness of content (the politics of upper level military leaders does not appeal to me much). Michael Korda does a good job balancing historical facts with glimpses into the personalities of the people he writes about. It was entertaining to read about some of the big names of World War II: Churchill, Monty, de Gaulle, and MacArthur. However, I found that I was not very impressed with the subject of the book, Ike, that is. Fo ...more
Bill F.
While certainly an enjoyable read, this book will leave readers who came to it with little historical knowledge with the strong belief that Eisenhower simply parted the Atlantic Ocean to land the Allies at Normandy. Through 700+ pages, not a single negative side to Ike is presented, and Korda practically falls over himself heaping praise on the man. Certainly, in some areas this is deserved - for example, Ike's stewardship of that D-Day landing; his warnings against the "military-industrial comp ...more
David Bruns
Apr 30, 2013 David Bruns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first biography of Ike that I have read. Some of the other reviewers who seem to be hard-core WWII fans, tended to dismiss Korda's work as derivative, which I thought was unfair and incorrect. I found his style very readable and the subject matter organized well. In addition, his infrequent asides about his personal connections to Ike and to WWII struck me as interesting and relevant to the material - some reviewers found it annoying.

I have two critiques: (1) there was lots of detai
Bookmarks Magazine

Citing David McCullough's biographies of Truman and MacArthur, Michael Korda claims that "a reputation can be revised by a single great book," and he seeks to do just that in Ike. Korda treads no new ground; instead, he gathers his information from previously published sources. In place of originality, reviewers commended his engaging, accessible style. Some were annoyed by Korda's lack of objectivity and the short shrift he gives to Eisenhower's presidential years (fewer than 100 pages), but th

Feb 04, 2009 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a complete biography of Eisenhower. I like the author's writing style while telling Ike's story from his humble begining, thru his West Point days, his disappointments in WWI, his years with Mac Arthur and how he quickly rose thru the ranks in WWII and finally to his Presidency. Korda treats Ike with respect and does not hestiate to examine some of Eisenhower's battles with his staff, the British and French. Did not think the Presidency years were fully explored and would have liked to s ...more
New York Times bestselling author Michael Korda's books include Horse People, Country Matters, Ulysses S. Grant, and Charmed Lives. Korda's newest book Ike, is a big, ambitious, and enthralling new biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower is full of fascinating details and anecdotes, which place particular emphasis on his brilliant generalship and leadership in World War Two. It also provides, with the advantage of hindsight, a far more acute analysis of Ike's character and personality than any that ha ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I haven't finished this book and technically haven't read it through, I wanted to add it here. Perhaps because I have read so much about WWII lately, I found myself flipping g through the sections about Ike's service during that war. Korda's scholarship and writing style are first rate. The info about Mamie and the courtship and subsequent marriage is fascinating. Who knew that Mamie was a hottie when she was young? And of course the who can forget Kay Summersby? If you are looking for ...more
Jul 12, 2013 William rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author obviously wanted to write a book about World War II rather than a complete biography of Ike. The postwar section of the book is treated as an afterthought. Throughout the book there are bizarre and sometimes unacceptable personal anecdotes from the author's life that do not add to the thesis. Most unfortunately, the main section of the book covering Ike's role in World War II fails to either provide a cogent case in military history for Ike's genius or a fascinating case in personal b ...more
Robert L.
Feb 12, 2009 Robert L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite a good read. Does not spend a lot of time with the military decision making; some; more of Ike's personal march through life. Gives great respect to Ike's intellectual abilities, which Ike's mannerisms - at least as we hear of them nowadays - tended to hide. Tells the story of a man of duty to his country. The book generally always takes Ike's side in the controversies of his life. Defends his record on several such matters. Probably minimizes some of his bad decisions, but then maybe in t ...more
Jeff Loxterkamp
Jul 07, 2012 Jeff Loxterkamp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Michael Korda also weaved his own military experience into his excellent Eisenhower biography. To me that added to Ike's frame of mind, how he went about things. Lots of humor, like how Ike had to deal with, such as negotiating with the Vichy Commander Darland, if Darland was was going to let the Allies easily land at Morroco and Algiers or not, in 1942 for Operation Torch. And dealing with shifty characters like Giraud.
Like Thomas Jefferson, who would wrather have been known as being Go
Feb 12, 2012 Thom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An informative but overly-worshipful portrayal. I'd be hard-pressed to cite more than one or two critical observations the author made of Eisenhower throughout the entire book. Eisenhower presided over the nation during a very tumultuous time, and yet perhaps only 15% of the book deals with Eisenhower's time in the White House. Perhaps a second volume would have been in order so Korda's assertion that Eisenhower was much more hands-on in his presidency than a lot of people give him credit for co ...more
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is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.
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