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Eisenhower in War and Peace
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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 02, 2015 12:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Note: These threads are being set up in advance.

This is the "Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts" thread.


For those of you who have completed the book and/or who want to discuss aspects of the book which are beyond our weekly assignments in the non spoiler threads, this thread is a spoiler thread where you can discuss those points. We know that some folks like to color outside the lines - so this a place for them.

If you have completed the book and would like to tell us what you thought about this selection, please feel free to discuss your opinions in a respectful way here.

However, please no links to personal reviews because we consider that self promotion. Simply post your thoughts here without the links.

Many folks read ahead of the weekly assignment and that is OK too; however, you must make sure that your posted comments on the other weekly non spoiler threads do not reflect reading ahead of the posted weekly assignment. If you would like to discuss aspects of the book further along, this is a spoiler thread where you can do just that.

We try to move along the discussion slowly on the weekly non spoiler threads but realize that some folks like to move along swiftly. So we have options for both groups of folks.

This is also the thread where you write your review of the book after completing it.

Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith by Jean Edward Smith Jean Edward Smith

Bryan Craig A solid effort by Smith here. Thanks for the few who stuck it out to the end. :-)

Brian | 31 comments This was my first involvement with the History Book Club, and with a book / subject that I found appealing. Dwight Eisenhower had a mystique about him and his place in history. Smith, as a biographer, is an excellent writer, and liked his discipline for the truth as well as many citations and supplemental notes contained within the chapters. After reading this book, I'm still puzzled with Eisenhower's place in presidential history. Kay aside, it seems to me that Eisenhower kept the peace, provided strong leadership, and restored fiscal accountability. He also was pivotal in moving civil rights. He was groomed for the presidency by his unique experience in the military. I truly enjoyed the book, and looked forward to the weekly assignments / sharing with others, which made me think. I will move forward with a reading of Smith's biography of US Grant. Thank you all.

Christopher (skitch41) | 158 comments Sorry it has taken me so long to give my thoughts of the book as a whole, but I've been graduating from school and moving over the past few weeks. Below is the review of the book I wrote for Goodreads. I think this sums up my thoughts on the book as a whole:

"As we gear up for another Presidential election season and as the Republican party struggles to find a candidate that can best represent them after nearly eight years out of power, a reflection on some their party's past presidents will be inevitable. Ronald Reagan will be held up as the Republican gold standard, but I think Dwight Eisenhower would be a better role model for them instead. And if any Republicans, or those interested in presidential biographies in general, want to learn more about Ike, then this is one fine volume to look at. Mr. Smith wrote a great biography of FDR and I have his biography of Grant on my bookshelf, so I had some high expectations for this book. Rarely was I disappointed. Mr. Smith does a great job of pacing the story without moving too fast as well as conveying how multi-faceted Ike could be. In a sense, Ike is a simpler subject than FDR, but Smith is still able to show every aspect of Ike's life and character that contributed to him being such a great Allied Commander and then a great president. There were times when I thought Smith would not touch certain subjects only to find him tackling them head on in the next chapter. His writings on Ike's relationship with Kay Summersby during the War is meticulous without being gossipy or overwhelming the rest of Ike's story. And you should definitely take a minute to look at the footnotes he has throughout the chapters as they provide interesting details not just about Ike, but about the biographers and historians who have written about Ike as well. Nearly every issue is covered: Ike's decision to join the Army, his ability to ingratiate himself with powerful Army men and later politicians, his tutelage under MacArthur and Gen. Marshall, the series of decisions that led him to the command of all Allied armies in Western Europe, his time as President of Columbia University, and the major issues of his presidency. Many of these are well written and informative. Smith's full chapter on Little Rock was particularly eye-opening to me. Still, unlike his biography of FDR, Smith does occasionally fall into the trap of all single-volume biographies: sacrificing depth for brevity. Ike's time as Supreme Commander of NATO gets consumed by his behind-the-scenes maneuvers to secure the Republican nomination in 1952 and his second term in office is condensed into two chapters, one of which covered only a single incident. Even his eight post-presidency years only got about 6 pages! Still, this is a fine single-volume biography of the great general and president that is even-handed and fair both to the man and to those who have written about him (again, see Smith's footnotes about this). I would recommend this to anyone else who likes Ike."

Bryan Craig Thanks all. Good thoughts.

For a one-volume, Smith does a real solid job. I agree, "sacrificing depth for brevity." The author writes well and presents the usual stuff in a good way.

Barb (greatnana210) | 3 comments Enjoyed the book as a whole, but still not sure about why Smith sees him as one of the great presidents.

Bryan Craig Thanks Barb for reading with us.

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Hi All

I didn't do this as I thought that I had commented on the overall book in the previous comments but, looking at Christopher msg. 6, not really to do with this "sorry", is that Ike should be truly a better example for the Republicans than Reagan - but Ike was less of a Republican and more of an American who happened to choose the Republican party to run with in my view.

I do not understand how the theoretically fiscally conservative Republicans can latch onto Reagan as their poster boy after the change in national debt after his reign.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Great comments all

message 10: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Eisenhower in War and Peace is an exhaustive look at Eisenhower's military career and an overview of his presidency. Jean Edward Smith goes into great detail on Ike's upbringing and rise in the military from his time at West Point through his tenure as Chief of Staff. One chapter is devoted to his time as President of Columbia University and the final chapters cover his two terms as President and his retirement spent at Gettysburg, PA. It is very well researched with some wonderful side notes that are worth the read.

I enjoyed the book and feel like I have a good understand of Eisenhower the military man. I think, though that Smith glosses over some things, or will introduce an aspect of Ike's life, but then never really ties it up later. I was disappointed that more was not included on his White House years and his retirement. It sounded like once he retired he did nothing more than write his memoirs and play golf, yet there was some commentary that he did get involved in some issues during JFK's tenure.

Eisenhower in War and Peace is still worth the read, but it does lead me to want to search out more books on his presidential years.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Teri

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