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Eisenhower: The White House Years

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  63 reviews
“Newton's contribution is as cogent an inventory of Eisenhower's White House years as I've ever read. He blends masterful writing with historic detail and provides the value-added of Ike as the man and the leader.”
—Chuck Hagel,Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University; U.S. Senator (19972009)

Newly discovered and declassified documents make for a surprising and reveal
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jim Gallen
The 1950s are often remembered as a quiet period of stagnation presided over by a kindly grandfather type president. A study of the Eisenhower Administration proves that it was anything but that. It included the end of the Korean War, the invasion of Lebanon and the Suez Crisis. It was a period of covert action that effected pro-American regime change in Iran and Guatemala but also saw the U-2 crash and the rise of Castro. The Army was challenged by Sen. Joseph McCarthy who was, in turn, defeate ...more
An excellent portrait of Eisenhower's presidency. Enough detail in the early chapters to give a measure of the man, but not so much as to bore and distract. Newtown argues that the traditional interpretation of Eisenhower's tenure in the White House -- that Ike spent most of the time on the links, delegating substantive work to powerful aides -- misses the mark, largely because most people misunderstood Ike's leadership style. He was not a self-promoter and he resisted his staff's attempts to cl ...more
Jeni Enjaian
I absolutely loved this book. If it weren't for a few pesky details I would have happily given it 5 stars.

First, the pesky details

The first few chapters are thematic summaries of Eisenhower's life before he reached the White House. When I started reading the book I forgot to pay attention to the subtitle and started getting very disappointed in the book. Newton's tome on Earl Warren was fascinating and I was hoping for the same with this book. When I saw the subtitle, Newton's organizational cho
Very good. People seem to be looking back more fondly at the Eisenhower presidency because of the frustrations moderates are having with more recent Republican presidents. This books offers a positive take on Ike, particularly focusing on Ike's desire to find balance between the left and right. This balance often worked well, particularly in dealing with foreign policy and the issue of nuclear weapons use, and in dealing with domestic budgetary issues. However, Newton does not shy away from poin ...more
President Eisenhower was the first president whom I remember. Despite my parents' votes for Stevenson, they had a great deal of regard and affection for this man, so I was very interested to read about Eisenhower's years in the White House. Jim Newton's biography is masterful, a truly clear-eyed, balanced and nuanced view of the man.
Newton draws a portrait of a president who above all had integrity and put the good of his country over any party or personal preferences. Considering the current pa
Alias Pending
Short Review: How can something this slight be so long?

Military-Industrial Complex Sized Review: Good General, bad President. End of Book. Except! The author has to make his point about the Military-Industrial Complex. To get there, the author has to make Eisenhower's famous warning about said complex valid. To do that, he has to make Eisenhower seem like a great president. To do that, the author must use every weasel word and method of dissemblance known to man. Proof? No problem. The whole boo
I like Ike well enough, but the evidence for the author's thesis --- that he should be ranked as a great President --- is pretty slight, although he was a competent one. Newton's problem is Ike's addiction to overthrowing foreign governments and his general unwillingness to provide leadership on moral issues such as civil rights. The best Newton can do is a sort of lukewarm testimonial to Ike's reluctant endorsement of Supreme Court decisions (and even then he had to be shamed into putting Earl ...more
Today there is a great desire for moderates. The tea party has shown once again the trouble of extremism and an unruly congress.

Eisenhower is the epitome of centrism. His policy was to compromise and to seek the "middle way".

There was success in this. The economy grew, our country was secure, and there were other successes.

Eisenhower also is a lot like Obama. Losing his party in congress after his first term, he faced trouble. Korea and Iraq are analogous wars that were unpopular and ended wit
Jake Shimanek
I learned quite a bit about Eisenhower from this book. He got the Korean war to end....He hated Sen McCarthy....He was supportive of covert operations, but against sending our troops to other countries wars so to speak....Bay of Pigs was his plan, but Kennedy screwed it up....Not long after Bay of Pigs Kennedy invited Eisenhower to Camp David to show him where he messed it up....And Eisenhower did so in a non-in-your-face way.....His motive for supporting the Brown V. Board of Ed. of Topeka was ...more
An excellent account of the Eisenhower presidency, another Republican President (Lincoln, TR) who wouldn't stand a chance with today's Republican Party. Conservatives in the party never really warmed up to him even then. Close to all his brothers, Ike leaned toward the more liberal influences of brother Milton. (Brother Edgar chastised him for the "socialist" drift of the country during his two terms.!) Eisenhower supported Egypt during the Suez crises, demanded that Britain, France and ISRAEL e ...more
I was immediately interested in reading more about Eisenhower when I saw this biography about his years in the White House listed on Goodreads. I was thrilled when I won a copy through the giveaways and wasn't in the least disappointed when I read the book. Like many others I did think of Eisenhower as the President between the more interesting presidencies of Truman and Kennedy. I was astonished at everything that went on during Eisenhower's Presidency--from the Cold War, to the civil rights mo ...more
This was my first reading about Eisenhower, and I believe the period of the Presidency was well-covered. Newton conveys a strong portrait of Ike's personality, warts and all. Newton clearly has a lot of admiration for Eisenhower and his overall performance.

Another reader's review mentioned that Ike is looking better all the time. Certainly he was a commanding presence with an ability to wield power, play politics and, above all, to prevail. He did not reach his goal nuclear stability but he did
David R.
There are many biographical treatments of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Newton's is a solid contender. But it has its shortcomings. This narrative is organized largely on a chronological basis and touches on each major incident as they occurred. There is frustratingly little material on some (the McCarthy controversies, the Suez crisis, etc.) and begs the question on two Eisenhower management styles. One of these is the proclivity "Ike" had for managing his presidency like a military operation. Newt ...more
By the end of his administration, Eisenhower was being dismissed by many as an anachronism, a bungler, an inattentive executive who let the USSR and China gain an upper hand in world influence. This image was cruelly and disingenuously encouraged by John F. Kennedy with his "new generation of Americans." Jim Newton shows that this characterization of Eisenhower was superficial on the face of it and that it thrived in part because of Eisenhower's style, which was strategically undramatic. Weighed ...more
As foretold in the title, this is a history of Eisenhower as president.
Part One, "Making Ike" begins "By the time he declared his candidacy for the president in 1952 Dwight Eisenhower was a formed man,". The next two chapters, 40 pages or so, prepare the background. His family life in Kansas and his military life through the end of WW II. And its all to preface his presidential and political life.

It was an interesting juxtaposition to read this wonderful history of Ike's terms in the 1950's whi
I received this as a First Reads giveaway for which I am very grateful. I love having the chance to read books and authors that I might not otherwise have been exposed to. Unfortunately this was not one of my favorite reads. While the subject and research that went into this were interesting, the delivery ended up being just a bit boring. I didn't expect a biography of Eisenhower to be captivating or thrilling but this ended up being just a few notches up from a text book. My biggest problem was ...more

If a people can worship an era like a false deity, Americans kneel at the altar of the 1930s-1950s. The “Greatest Generation” could do no wrong; they were duty-bound, hard-working people who went through hell and came out better for it. But we romanticize the people, not their leaders. The legacies of leaders from this era, while still generally held in high esteem, are now, at the very least, complicated to some ideologues. Roosevelt created the social we
It was a fantastic book. Being a biography of a president, you'd think that it would be long, hard to read/understand, and boring. But it was actually easy to read and understand, and not long at all. Newton paints a picture of Eisenhower always trying to stick to the middle ground while leading the country, and being tested by both sides. It is obvious he is partial towards Eisenhower, but of course he is, he wrote the book on him. Newton does a great job showing how being the Supreme Allied Co ...more
This reads much more like propaganda than an honest biography or history. Hero worship is presented as fact, leading this reader to doubt Newton's version of the facts. (Not necessarily the facts presented, but certainly the selection of facts presented as being balanced.) I found this to be quite annoying.

There are a number of major omissions and distortions. Newton credits Ike as winning the war in Europe, but in reality it was the Soviet armies that crushed Germany, and Ike's performance as a
The first 15% of the book deals with General Eisenhower before he is elected to the Presidency, so I guess the title of the book indicates where the author planned to place emphasis and was not meant to be taken literally. The book was okay. I suspect it was accurate in it's portrayal of the Eisenhower years but the author contended that the depiction of Eisenhower as an uninvolved, not very decisive man was incorrect, and yet as I read the book, it is exactly the impression that I got from her ...more
Jo-Ann Murphy
A friend leant me this book to read when I saw it sitting on his desk and expressed inerest. It was a slow read. I thought I would never get it back to him. The first part was particularly confusing. I think because the author tried to cram so much of a long life before the White House into a short space.

The author states that Eisenhower was the third son and named David Dwight Eisenhower. At no time does the author ever explain how David Dwight became Dwight David Eisenhower.

Once we get to the
Delores Thomas
This is not only the story of Ike's life, it also gives political background in relation to his life. It shows the who, what, when, where, and often the why of each era in his life. It includes the major players and his interaction and opinions of each. If you love history you will learn something from this biography.
Bob R Bogle
Big theme of this book: President Ike was not as dull as he seemed then, or now. Throughout much of the book I thought the point was well-defended. However, by the time I got to the end, the over-arching conclusion seemed to be just the opposite. The hero who won the war was extremely out of touch with the radical new world he'd helped to build. It's hard to accept that a perpetual willingness to use nukes if necessary to defend our interests in remote locations exemplified wisdom more than it s ...more
Ian Divertie
This guy was obviously a hard worker. I just can't imagine the burdens he carried and made it look so effortless to us all at the time. He paid a big price though in his private life for all the balls he simultaneously juggled for us all.
A straight-forward recounting of the Eisenhower presidency with an introductory section on his career prior to election. Not a lot of insight, but a good description of what transpired. Mostly favorable to Ike.
The first part of the book, as others have mentioned, is about Eisenhower's earlier life, but the focus of the book is on Ike's Presidency. I thought Newton did a good job in explaining each of the significant events and themes during Ike's Presidency, especially with regard to his relationship with Nikita Khrushchev.

The book could have been more critical, questioning the wisdom of some of his clandestine operations or other policy decisions over a long-term view. But I think the book gave a he
John Kaufmann
Excellent biography of Eisenhower's presidential years. I always thought of Eisenhower as a do-nothing president. This book sets the record straight. First, he actually did accomplish a lot, although a lot of it was done quietly and without great fanfare. Secondly, some of what he accomplished was, in fact, what he refrained from doing - that is, he exercised great patience and caution in dealing with some potentially very dangerous situations, where rash action advocated by those who accused hi ...more
Robert Morrow
A solid biography of Ike as president, eminently readable with good strong narrative threads. For the most part, the book presents a more balanced view of Eisenhower than Ambrose's work, with only one or two moments of descent into the whine of Eisenhower biographers that the stereotype of Ike-as-golfer is unfair (it is, but hey, get over it). I particularly enjoyed the passages dealing with his complex relationship with Richard Nixon; Ike had as hard a time fathoming Nixon's motives as the rest ...more
Let me say that this is one of the most insightful views of any President's terms in office I have read. While Ike was one of the most revered warriors of all times, as our President, he used every power and maneuver to avoid sending Americans into combat! As a young Marine serving as a cordon in President Kennedy's inauguration parade, I always revered him. But I am disappointed now that he and his administration didn't speak very highly of the previous (Eisenhower) administration while he cons ...more
Kathryn Thomas
A sympathetic synopsis of Ike's life, with emphasis on the years of his presidency. He dealt with nuclear weapons, cold war, and the beginnings of the end of Jim Crow.
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