Co2's Reviews > Eisenhower: The White House Years

Eisenhower by Jim Newton
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Nov 27, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: first-reads, biography
Read from September 16 to 21, 2011

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 while following the daily histrionics of political life today. Ike did play a lot of golf. He did set time aside to regenerate himself. In the context of this book it makes sense. But with today's 24/7 coverage it would taken as selfish and irresolute. That's too bad.

However, Newton's purpose is to give us the feet paddling below the surface as the duck glides above. The strongest point I took away is how Eisenhower was able to hold back those who wanted to use our new nuclear weapons. It took a man of Eisenhower's military background and strong reputation to deny them use of those horrible weapons. You have to wonder what may have happened if Stevenson had been president facing the professional military during the Korean War demanding that we use "tactical atomic weapons".

This is a wonderfully written, wonderfully researched biography. Jim Newton has a reporters eye for discerning detail and a biographer's ear for nuance.
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