NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Christian Science Monitor • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Magisterial.”—The New York Times
In this extraordinary volume, Jean Edward Smith presents a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America’s thirty-fourth president. Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower’s superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory. 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 perceptive retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. He managed not only to keep the peace, but also to enhance America’s prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.
Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time—and for the ages.
Praise for Eisenhower in War and Peace
“[A] fine new biography . . . [Eisenhower’s] White House years need a more thorough exploration than many previous biographers have given them. Smith, whose long, distinguished career includes superb one-volume biographies of Grant and Franklin Roosevelt, provides just that.”—The Washington Post
“Highly readable . . . [Smith] shows us that [Eisenhower’s] ascent to the highest levels of the military establishment had much more to do with his easy mastery of politics than with any great strategic or tactical achievements.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Always engrossing . . . Smith portrays a genuinely admirable Eisenhower: smart, congenial, unpretentious, and no ideologue. Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D’Este, this is the best.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“No one has written so heroic a biography [on Eisenhower] as this year’s Eisenhower in War and Peace [by] Jean Edward Smith.”—The National Interest
“Dwight Eisenhower, who was more cunning than he allowed his adversaries to know, understood the advantage of being underestimated. Jean Edward Smith demonstrates precisely how successful this stratagem was. Smith, America’s greatest living biographer, shows why, now more than ever, Americans should like Ike.”—George F. Will
Except for FDR, Eisenhower was the 20th century s most successful president, says Smith. After delivering this jolt, Smith, senior history scholar at Columbia (and winner of a Francis Parkman Prize for FDR) makes a reasonable case in this long but always engrossing biography. Eisenhower (1890 1969) spent 16 years as a major in the hidebound pre-WWII army, but the people who mattered (FDR, generals MacArthur and Marshall) recognized his talent. Smith describes a man who commanded the largest coalition army in history without grandiloquent posturing, feuds with superiors, or favoritism to certain egotistical subordinates who responded by disparaging his leadership. As president (1953 1960), Smith credits Eisenhower with leading Republicans away from their isolationist past, keeping the peace, and leaving office more popular than any successor. Ironically, no Republican candidate today would dare praise the legacy of this progressive conservative who slashed the military budget, opposed tax cuts, resisted evil (in this case communism) without going to war, and supported Social Security and federal aid programs. Warts turn up, but Smith portrays a genuinely admirable Eisenhower: smart, congenial, unpretentious, and no ideologue. Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D Este, this is the best. Photos, maps.