Harold's Reviews > Eisenhower in War and Peace

Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith
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M 50x66
's review
May 27, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: history, biography
Read in June, 2012

I didn't know much about Eisenhower, who was president when I was a baby. The 50s always seemed like this backward, but idyllic time; but Eisenhower gets little credit, and is hardly noted. If Jean Smith's book is to be believed (and I have no reason to doubt it), he was a good general, more political than strategic, and a phenomenal president. Where is he today? Here was a president who could accomplish great things and who had great vision without having to announce it to the world. And he had common sense and morality to boot. He settled the Korean war, balanced the budget, built the interstate highway system, improved our relationship with Russia, advocated disarmament, defused the Suez crisis, ushered in the civil rights movement by supporting the decision on Brown vs. Board of Education, and sending in the military to Arkansas to support integration, and finally railed against military industrial complex. And he couldn't bring himself to support Nixon (at least in 1960) or McCarthy.

Oh those were the days.

So what else did I learn reading this book. I learned what we are missing. A true centrist. A military general who knew the horrors of war, and was a pacifist at heart -- but a true realist when he needed to be. A leader who didn't read public opinion polls, but really lead, and who had values and ideas, who focused on the big picture and delegated as much as he could, who could charm the pants off world leaders, using honesty as his principal weapon.

I was born too late.o
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