Acclaimed historian Paul Johnson’s lively, succinct biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower explores how his legacy endures today
In the rousing style he’s famous for, celebrated biographer Paul Johnson offers a fascinating portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower, focusing particularly on his years as a five-star general and his time as the thirty-fourth President of the United States.
Johnson chronicles President Eisenhower's modest childhood in Kansas, his college years at West Point, and his rapid ascent through the military ranks, culminating in his appointment as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Beginning when Eisenhower assumed the presidency from Harry Truman in 1952, Johnson paints a rich portrait of his two consecutive terms, exploring his volatile relationship with then-Vice President Richard Nixon, his abhorrence of isolationism, and his position on the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the Civil Rights Movement. Johnson notes that when Eisenhower left the White House at age 70, reluctantly passing the torch to President-elect John F. Kennedy, he feared for the country’s future and prophetically warned of the looming military-industrial complex.
Many elements of Eisenhower’s presidency speak to American politics today, including his ability to balance the budget and skill in managing an oppositional Congress. This brief yet comprehensive study will appeal to biography lovers as well as to enthusiasts of presidential history and military history alike.
Accomplished historian and biographer Johnson (Churchill) produces an engaging, if bizarrely brief, survey of the life of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Johnson's work covers all the major facets of Eisenhower's career, beginning with his boyhood in rural Kansas and ending with his tenure as president of the United States. It is not a serious academic biography, but rather an overview of Eisenhower's life, with an emphasis on his personality and character, including his flair for public relations. Where Johnson addresses Eisenhower-as-president, he emphasizes his deviousness and intentional manipulation of his public image to obscure his own high intelligence. Johnson views Eisenhower positively and asserts that Eisenhower not being a combat general but a staff officer for most of his career contributed to his success as president. Johnson's contribution will serve as a great introduction to "Ike" the man, but anyone interested in the details of WWII generalship or the politics of the Eisenhower administration will have to look elsewhere.