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The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  102 reviews
An original and penetrating assessment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, showing Ike’s enormous influence on modern America, the Cold War, and on the presidency itself.

In a 2017 survey, presidential historians ranked Dwight D. Eisenhower fifth on the list of great presidents, behind the perennial top four: Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. H
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Simon Schuster
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4.30  · 
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 ·  536 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“No wonder…that Americans loved Ike. He was big enough to embody their collective hopes and dreams. He was a Texan, a Kansan, a Coloradan, and a New Yorker; a soldier and a peacemaker; a poor country boy and a wealthy elitist; a devoted reader of Scripture who seldom went to church until he was 62; a beer-and-hot dog man who feted his powerful White House guests with pheasant under glass. With his example in mind, Americans could aspire to riches, power, and personal success without losing their ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion this biography is the right thing at the right time, and a joy to read. Unlike other popular biographies, William I. Hitchcock's The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s does not linger on Ike's upbringing and military service: indeed, a mere 46 pages of text take us up to his 60th birth year, when he's retired from the Army, President of Columbia University, and seriously mulling running for President on the Republican ticket in 1952. Ike's candidacy and two admin ...more
This book covers the time frame from 1953 to 1961 when Eisenhower was president. Hitchcock does a brief overview of DDE’s early life and military career. I found it helpful when the author provided a review of the various biographies of Eisenhower as well as the most common negative reviews of his presidency. Hitchcock presented different viewpoints of Eisenhower’s handling of the cold war including the U2 incident, when to use atomic weapons and Joseph McCarthy. Eisenhower expanded many of FDR’ ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Ike's presidency and the 1950s is the story of the dog that didn't bark. I have a quote from a friend and colleague who once said: "If you do a good job, no one will think you did anything at all."
That is the story of the fifties. If baby boomers remember it with nostalgia it is because they were children. The world was a pretty dark and scary place and the reason we think wistfully of the fifties is that Ike was competent enough and lucky enough to steer the country on troubled waters with a
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
An able, though unspectacular, biogeography, William Hitchcock touches lightly over most every significant event in President, not General, Eisenhower’s life. Oh, there’s a chapter devoted to his Kansas origins, his meteoric WWII ascent—which mostly serves to illustrate how Ike believed battle honors “cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead.” “It is impossible,” writes Hitchcock, “to imagine Patton or MacArthur sounding so mournful in this moment of high ho ...more
Scott  Hitchcock

A very well done piece on Ike's presidency. It's hard these days to imagine a liberal Republican but Ike would have qualified. It's also a shocking reminder that in that time period they were considering nukes as just another bomb. Eisenhower was definitely a complicated individual and his battles with Khrushchev in particular were interesting. It's funny how time has refocused how effective a president he was.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listened-to
"The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s" is my 3rd book on Eisenhower. The first two just didn't capture who the man was. With this work, Hitchcock nails it. This book is now THE definitive work on Ike, in my opinion.

Hitchcock is thorough but gets right to the point. Ike's childhood and time as a general are briefly dispatched. He gets to the Presidency with great speed and I fully appreciated that. Hitchcock also doesn't sugar coat Eisenhower. He frequently criticizes Ike's d
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have always had a fascination with the 1950s, even though they ended many years before I was born. But I know little that is not trivia or surface knowledge. My excuse is that it seems difficult to find good histories of the 1950s that are not either narrowly focused or crammed with ideological claptrap blended with Baby Boomer preening (David Halberstam’s awful "The Fifties" is an example of such a combination). This book, William Hitchcock’s "The Age of Eisenhower," seemed like a reasonable ...more
Brian Eshleman
Mostly Eisenhower rather than “age of.“ Has the feel of a breezy biography in spite of its length.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hitchcock’s biography of Eisenhower is a good blend of Eisenhower’s political and personal life, his military and his public careers though the personal takes a back seat. As is required for such a story Hitchcock’s style is fact driven which comes across as less intimate though Eisenhower’s warmth and relatability for many people insured his success. It’s easy to write him off as a popular war hero who traded on that talent to go even higher but behind his kind uncle facade he was an intelligen ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all readers, especially those interested in how we got to today's military-industrial status quo
Recommended to Brent by: publisher via Carlos Museum Bookshop
I really like this balanced, well-researched new biography of the Eisenhower presidency. Coverage of diplomacy and politics is top-notch. Coverage of civil rights is rich, and, like Eisenhower's own view, could be richer. But the use of archival resources is deep, especially pertaining to intelligence uncovered in recent decades.
Eisenhower reminds me in many ways of my mother's father, newspaper reporter and editor Wright Bryan, who Eisenhower awarded the Medal of Freedom. This author, historian
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written narrative of Eisenwhower’s presidential years with many of the different issues he confronted, including the numerous covert operations undertaken by his administration. Not a traditional biography as it covers very little of pre or post presidency or family life.
Porter Broyles
I grew up in as a military brat, so my perspective of Ike was very positive. He was one of the great military geniuses of American History, a president who stood up to Russia, and a staunch supporter of the military.

Thirty years later my point of view has shifted some. The things that I admired as a youth are the things that I found myself more critical of now.

This book had me questioning my high regard for Ike. He was very much into the CIA and using it to overthrow governments that didn't sta
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ebook
“Eisenhower had that rarest of gifts in politics: he brought America together.”

Damns Eisenhower with faint praise. Following the rising tide of academic and popular reappraisal of Ike, Hancock tries to hew to the old bumbling amateur angle, even as he says he rejects it.

“These first years of his presidency, Eisenhower laid down a blueprint for the warfare state--an official plan to mobilize the nation and put it on a permanent war footing. The military-industrial complex had begun to take shape.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on Eisenhower’s presidency that strives to make a case for the centrality of Eisenhower’s role as domestic and international peacemaker. I really enjoyed this book, but think there were a few things that might have been better. 1) Whatever sense of unity that existed between Russia and China was on the way out with the death of Stalin in 1953. There are numerous books, memoirs, and academic studies to document this fact. However, the author persisted in using a term like “the comm ...more
Jason Hojnacki
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
From the title I was hoping for something closer to Nixonland where the lives of average people were tied into the story, but this was not the case. This is more like a biography of Eisenhower’s life with the really interesting parts taken out. It’s definitely thorough with the big points about what was occurring during his presidency, but I would’ve liked to know more about the man himself or more about how average Americans perceived him and the era.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Interesting history, well-written.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is more about the 'Age' than 'Eisenhower'. It's an excellent survey of a decade in which some of the most prominent figures in modern history took center stage. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and the Dulles Brothers are all featured prominently. Eisenhower is clearly the central figure and it's a fair treatment of his legacy, but I wasn't able to see the soul of the man in the way other biographies achieve. If read for ...more
Tom Brennan
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I suspect Hitchcock's work will be received like his subject, more under-rated than he deserves. It is not an exceptional book, but it is a good one. It does a solid job pushing back against the accepted wisdom that Ike as president played golf and was carried along by events, coasting during the good times in American history. Hitchcock has done his homework, and it shows. He pulls the curtain back to show us how Ike worked at dealing with issues like the burgeoning civil rights movement, the J ...more
Josh Caporale
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

As I was reading this book, it was at the time of the 50th anniversary of Dwight D. Eisenhower's passing, as he died on March 28, 1969 at the age of 78. This book, though, is about the life he lived and specifically the eight years of his presidency, which took place from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower was a popular figure during the 1950s and saw a great deal of popularity among the general public, even when his party did not necessarily see the same kind of appeal. At the same time, Eisenho
Don Scaggs
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Those who cannot remember the past are commended to read about it.” (Don Scaggs, 2018)
In a 2017 survey, presidential historians ranked Dwight D. Eisenhower fifth on the list of great presidents. After reading this book, I understand why.
He ended the Korean war.
Avoided involvement in Viet Nam. (France wanted military help at the time).
Stood up to China as it attacked some of the islands off Taiwan. (Military leaders wanted to use atom bombs on China)
Established NASA in order to move the space pr
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of The Age of Eisenhower by William Hitchcock courtesy of Net Galley  and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have read a number of biographies on American Presidents including Dwight David Eisenhower. It is the first book by Will
Jim Cullison
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the first sentences of this masterful and definitive biography of our 34th president, author William Hitchcock presents the reader with a new image of Ike. Hitchcock's Eisenhower is not the blandly affable Bing Crosby stunt double who ambled into the Oval Office with a nine iron and proceeded to nap for the better part of the 1950s. Nor is this Ike the sly and cunning Jedi mind-tricker of later "hidden hand" biographies and interpretations. This Ike is an elemental force of nature, the very ...more
Melissa Dee
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hitchcock carefully unwraps the history of the Eisenhower administration, with a balanced attention to both its strengths and its failures.
I was left agreeing with Nixon’s conclusion, that Eisenhower “was a far more complex and devious man than most people realized.” I was also powerfully impressed with this explication of his gift for organization which so well served the development of a federal bureaucracy.

Eisenhower’s diary statement, “The Republican party must be known as a progressive orga
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A terrific and ultra-readable account of Eisenhower’s presidency, this book splits up Ike’s two terms into topical, semi-chronological chapters. The organization keeps things clear, and the writing style is efficient and enjoyable to read. (As much as I love Robert Caro, some of his sentences get pretty unwieldy—there’s no such obstacle here, and this book was easy to devour.) The author admires Eisenhower, but backs that up with solid arguments, and does not shy away from the darker aspects of ...more
John Yingling
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a thoroughly interesting and enlightening book. I love a good story, I love history, especially American history, and I love finding out more about a period of history and/or a person from history that I thought I already knew a lot about. Mr. Hitchcock does an outstanding job of accomplishing all the things I enjoy about a book and about history. And he's excellent at putting events in context. He's quite fair in his assessment of Eisenhower as a person and as President. I wish more histor ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a book! It was long and full of details. I believe it was 20 plus hours of listening. It took us a lot of trips to dialysis to finish this one. I love Eisenhower! I was born on his birthday, October 14th, a number of years after him. So I have always identified with him, and was proud to share that fact. I was a teenager in the 50's and lived through his presidency years. So I was prepared to learn more about my hero, and to love this book. I still love Eisenhower, and have more to admire ...more
Tom Rowe
This book looks at Eisenhower's presidency. Ike is one of those presidents that comes with lots of contradictions. Not a strong civil rights advocate, he does manage to move the the ball forward, but then stops its movement. He is a former general who keeps the country out of war, unless it's a secret one. A man who touts personal responsibility over government handouts, but strengthens the safety nets brought about in the New Deal. Eisenhower is an interesting, yet somehow forgettable president ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Would like to read a more balanced approach to the president's life.
Jacob  Harrison
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the Eisenhower presidency and America during the 50s. I always found the covert operations in Iran and Guatemala to be the most interesting parts of his years in office. I admire that someone was able to accomplish so much while balancing a budget and lowering taxes a little bit as well.
A moderate politician who inspired religious sentiments and patriotism, Eisenhower should be a model for all future presidents.
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