Eisenhower in War and Peace -- Dwight D. Eisenhower has long been one of America’s most enigmatic figures. While his military stature is without peer, his generalship was often disparaged. And, although as president he presided over eight years of international calm and domestic tranquility, he was considered by many to be an aloof and ineffectual leader.
With "Eisenhower in War and Peace," Jean Edward Smith, author of the bestselling FDR, returns with a revealing new biography of Eisenhower that reassesses the life and legacy of America’s 34th president. Arguing that, with the exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower was the most successful president of the 20th century, Smith reintroduces us to a hero from the past whose virtues have become clouded in the mists of history.
Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point, to Paris under Pershing, and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines. As the panorama of World War II unfolds, Smith demonstrates how Eisenhower’s superlative leadership forged the Allied path to victory through multiple reversals of fortune in North Africa and Italy, culminating in the triumphant invasion of Normandy.
Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike’s finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.
Smith’s chronicle of Eisenhower’s presidential years is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Derided by his detractors as a somnambulant caretaker, Eisenhower emerges in Smith’s retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. Smith convincingly portrays an Eisenhower who engineered an end to America’s three-year no-win war in Korea, resisted calls for preventive wars against the Soviet Union and China, and boldly deployed the Seventh Fleet to protect Formosa from invasion.
This Eisenhower, Smith shows us, stared down Khrushchev over Berlin and forced the withdrawal of British, French and Israeli forces from the Suez Canal. He managed not only to keep the peace—after Ike made peace in Korea, not one American soldier was killed in action during his tenure—but also to enhance America’s prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world. Domestically, Eisenhower reduced defense spending, balanced the budget, constructed the interstate highway system and provided social security coverage for millions who were self-employed.
Unmatched in insight, "Eisenhower in War and Peace" at last gives us bold new look at one of America’s most important modern presidents.