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Eisenhower in War and Peace

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  9,620 ratings  ·  438 reviews
The Christian Science Monitor • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In his magisterial bestseller FDR, Jean Edward Smith gave us a fresh, modern look at one of the most indelible figures in American history. Now this peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever wri
Hardcover, 976 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Random House
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Mzakaria It mentions his upbringing and family view towards faith in few pages. It also touches on that when Ike was asked to join a church when he ran for off…moreIt mentions his upbringing and family view towards faith in few pages. It also touches on that when Ike was asked to join a church when he ran for office. The main theme is that religion was a very private thing in Ike's life and tended more towards the spiritual rather than the ceremonial. (less)

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 ·  9,620 ratings  ·  438 reviews

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Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
My ongoing exploration of presidential biographies led me to explore the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower, as depicted by Jean Edward Smith. With a preponderance of information, Smith is able to develop a fairly comprehensive look at the man who rose to greatness as the Supreme Allied Commander in the European Theatre during the Second World War. This preceded taking the reins of domestic power as he led America in the early stages of Cold War aggression. As the title suggests, Eisenhower was a man ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
For those familiar with this author’s previous books on John Marshall, U.S. Grant and FDR, you know Smith’s biographies are thorough and detailed narratives, filled with anecdotes and first-hand accounts, analyses of the historical record, some personal opinion, a little wit and – yes – lengthy. The books are also very readable and engaging. Eisenhower In War And Peace is no exception and a very worthy addition to this author’s legacy and - I won’t be the only one to note this – timely – particu ...more
John  Bellamy
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Few reputations are more mutable than those of former U. S. presidents. I’m ancient enough to recall the contrasting images of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy that prevailed for several decades after they had passed from the scene: Eisenhower, likeable and grandfatherly but dim, disengaged and increasingly enfeebled; Kennedy, young, dynamic and ever open to fresh ideas and ways of doing things. Not coincidentally, Kennedy’s Camelot halo began dimming just about the time the scholarly r ...more
robin friedman
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jean Edward Smith's Study Of Eisenhower

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 -- 1969) served as the 34th President of the United States (1953 -- 1961) following his career as the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during WW II. His presidency and his generalship have been the subject of varied assessments over the years. I was a child in the 1950s and my first memories of a president are of Eisenhower. To many younger Americans, he may remain an obscure historical figure. Jean Edward Smith's new lar
In this biographical tome, Jean Edward Smith presents Eisenhower as a complex tactician with a knack for administrative politics. This image of Ike is somewhat at odds with popular American history and the stereotypes surrounding his presidency and character. Did he golf a lot? Yes. Was his military career without blemishes? No. Was he an outsider president who lacked political insight? Absolutely not. In Eisenhower in War and Peace, the reader encounters the life of a man that weaves in and out ...more
Brian Eshleman
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This book offers almost 1000 pages on Eisenhower, and I did not feel like I knew him. Good biographies offer such an intimate portrait of the subject's psyche that the reader knows how he or she would react in a different situation, OR they provide such a detailed, textual portrayal of the subject's times that the reader feels like he or she was present in them. Great biographies offer both. This one falls short on both counts.

Eisenhower is so magisterial and fascinating that whatever fraction o
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dwight D. Eisenhower seems at this distant remove a not terribly colorful American president. His term of office was an extraordinarily peaceful one and prosperity largely enveloped the country. So it is perhaps not surprising that many do not think of him as a particularly exciting leader. But this fine biography makes clear that this calm and methodical man was one of the most gifted leaders the country has ever known, and, between his remarkably wise guidance as commander of U.S. forces in Wo ...more
John Bohnert
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography of Ike gave me a new understanding of Eisenhower as a general and later as president. I admire Ike very much as a result.
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Usually when it comes to popular biographies of major historical figures, there's a question of why exactly another biography is necessary after umpteen thousand volumes have been written on the subject. And there are certainly no lack of books on Dwight D. Eisenhower, as a general or as President, but in this case the 'why' is clear. The most influential Eisenhower biographer is Stephen Ambrose, whose writings on DDE included eye-popping revelations like Eisenhower's private doubts about integr ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it

Published in 2012, “Eisenhower in War and Peace” is Jean Edward Smith’s third presidential biography (following “Grant” in 2001 and “FDR” in 2007). Smith taught political science at the University of Toronto for 35 years and at Marshall University for 12 years. His most recent (and controversial) biography “Bush” was published in July 2016.

The first comprehensive biography of Eisenhower in a decade, Smith’s review of the 34th president is lengthy (with 766
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I tried to give JE Smith another chance, after being less than fulfilled by his FDR, but alas, Eisenhower fared no better. The coverage of World War II was superbly detailed, but at times Ike himself fell out of focus. The extensive war presentation meant something else had to be sacrificed, I guess, and I really began to worry when I was reading about the sixth year of Ike’s presidency and there were only fifteen pages left to go.

I loathe a hasty ending, and Smith gave me one of the worst. Whi
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography
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 ...more
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As the dust jacket blurb asserts, Smith is "indubitably America's most distinguished biographer." Eisenhower in War and Peace is detailed and erudite, but also exceedingly well written. It is a masterpiece of the biographer's art. ...more
Frank Theising
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one. Smith’s enthusiasm for his subject is evident throughout and it makes this an engaging read. The first 500 pages covering his early life and military career are exceptional. The chapters are entertaining, thorough, and offer a balanced assessment of Ike’s career, covering both his strengths/successes as well as his weaknesses/shortcomings. I will say I think his admiration for Ike led him to cover some faults (most notably his affair with Kay Sommersby) with more delicac ...more
Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President when I was 3 years old and left office when I was 11. I have read little about Eisenhower until this year. This is the 3rd book that I have read about him this year and is the first full biography.

Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas, the 3rd of 7 sons born to David and Ida Eisenhower. His father had moved the family from Kansas in 1988 to find work. The Eisenhowers only lived in Texas for 4 years before they moved back to Kansas. D
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I always pick up a Jean Edward Smith book with a sense of anticipation. I wish there was an on-demand service where he could write a biography for all of my favourite historical figures. This one on Eisenhower, like his others on Grant and FDR, is superb. He somehow manages to balance scholarly analysis, balanced appraisal and deep research with an engaging narrative style and a touch of humour, and it makes his books an utter pleasure to read. I wish he'd take on Lincoln or Sherman or RFK.

Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Eisenhower in War and Peace" is a monster of a political biography. At 976 pages (only 760 if you don't read the notes and annotations at the end and who reads those, you weirdo), it is a long, long book. However, I feel like I've got a much better idea who Ike was now. Jean Edward Smith clearly admires Eisenhower but brings up issues that had previously been left out like Ike's poor performance whenever he actually had to lead any troops into battle and his affair with his driver. (And va va v ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a very detailed but superbly written biography of Dwight Eisenhower. I love histories and biographies the bring their subjects to life, and Smith certainly does that. Bravo to the writing and research. I only have a few minor quibbles with his details. Later.
Smith is even in his treatment of Eisenhower. He admires the man and his contribution to the U.S. and to the war in Europe, but he is also a bit criticial of his also somewhat critical of his military performance, during the North Af
Susan O
4.5 -
Jean Edward Smith's biography of Eisenhower is excellent, well-researched and well-written. It was a little lackluster, but this admittedly might be the subject rather than the book. It is an even-handed description of the man pointing out both strengths and weaknesses as a good biography should. I was left with a better understanding of why he was so popular as a President, but doubting that I would have liked the man.

Eisenhower was not the best military general of the war. Patton, Montgo
Emmett Hoops
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those rare books that provide a new understanding of a man we all safely assumed had already been properly disposed of by a competent biographer. As it turns out, much of what is known or believed to be known about Dwight D. Eisenhower is due to Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower's previously principal biographer. Should you choose to read this excellent book, you will find reasons to doubt and disbelieve some of Ambrose's more controversial conclusions.

In Jean Edward Smith's more than
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In this excellent presidential biography, Jean Edward Smith covers Eisenhower's childhood, his early military career and steady rise to prominence during the inter-war years, his leadership during WWII, his brief stint as President of Columbia University, and finally, his Presidency. Most of the book is dedicated to Eisenhower's leadership during WWII and the major events during his 8 years as President. It seemed to me that Smith gave a very fair analysis of Eisenhower, pointing out negative as ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History Readers, Biography Readers, Readers Interested In Presidents
As always, Jean Edward Smith was a pleasure to read, well researched and with insightful notes and comments throughout the chapters. I absolutely loved this biography of Eisenhower and learned a lot about him that I previously did not know. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys presidential biographies or has an interest in WWII and/or the 1950's. ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a well done and long biography that sets out to make a point - that contrary to popular opinion, even among those who read history, Eisenhower was the second most effective US president in the 20th century - after FDR. The author is clear in making his interpretive points, even while providing a carefully documented and reasonable account. The key to the argument is Smith's view that Eisenhower's top management skills, his moderation, and his ability to forge consensus were the key eleme ...more
Smith has a nice flowing style, but at 765 pages, I'll probably pass. The reason can be found in the early warning footnotes. The level of unnecessary detail can be stunning. I'm diligent about reading footnotes, so when I read a footnote telling me about the six wheel concept behind the York Pullman ( an automobile the young Eisenhower drove), the seemingly complete history of Abilene, and disputes about the origins of the term "Buffalo soldier," I figure I would have been in for a very long an ...more
Alan Tomkins-Raney
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent biography by Jean Edward Smith. Eisenhower was an inspirational and admired leader because of his character: he was generally a decent, honest man of integrity. That, combined with hard work and good fortune, made him a true American success story and a heroic figure. I really enjoy Smith’s biographies because first they are such well researched and thorough descriptions of their subjects, accurate and unbiased, and second because they reveal so much about the times and other i ...more
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a really fine full-life biography of General and President Dwight Eisenhower. Author Jean Edward Smith has previously written biographies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lucius Clay, and his research for those books deeply informs his analysis of Eisenhower. Above all, Smith is judicious, direct about assessing his mistakes as well as his successes, and Smith makes no effort to hide anything about Eisenhower's life. That's particularly important in that Eisenhower himself was particular ...more
Josh Liller
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
A small history discussion group I belong to chose Dwight Eisenhower as our next topic. Having previously read and enjoyed Jean Edward Smith's Grant I chose to read his biography of Ike.

Smith certainly seems qualified to write about Eisenhower, having written previous biographies of his contemporaries Franklin Roosevelt and Lucius Clay, plus the aforementioned of Ulysses Grant biography. Eisenhower, Grant, and Washington are the only three generals turned two-term presidents in US history.

This h
Dec 04, 2015 added it
I loved the Preface where Smith argues that it is wrong to see Eisenhower as th kindly old war hero president who wasn't all that smart and hadn't accomplished that much. I agree and was pleased to see that there was plenty of focus on Eisenhower's shortcomings as well. This is really a next generation biog.

I wasn't all that interested in Eisenhower's personal life or even his war years, the former because I don't care that he had a long affair with his driver during the war and the latter becau
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I end up saying this about a lot of biographies, but in a world where David Halberstam and Robert Caro wrote/write, otherwise fine books feel quite lacking. If you walk away from a Caro or Halberstam work, you get a very real feel for not just the subject matter's personality, but also what made them tick. What drove them, how they operated, etc. These opinions are obviously open to interpretation--people are complicated! But you feel like there's an ethos or theory. It's also why those books te ...more
Peter Wolfley
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eisenhower lived such a full life that even though this book just hits on the highlights of his great life, it is still 700+ pages. Eisenhower's close friend, General George Patton, always said that Ike had a "divine destiny" and you can see that play out in this book. It really makes you feel like people are put on Earth at certain times for very specific reasons.

Nobody but Eisenhower had the unique set of skills, experience, and personal qualities to lead the allied powers to victory and guid
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Jean Edward Smith was the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto after having served as professor of political economy there for thirty-five years. Smith also served as professor of history and government at Ashland University.

A graduate of McKinley High School in Washington, D.C., Smith received an A.B. from Princeto

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