A “superb and harrowing history” of the Cold War, the Lavender Scare—and Eisenhower's first National Security Advisor (The Guardian)
President Eisenhower's National Security Advisor Robert “Bobby” Cutler shaped US Cold War strategy in far more consequential ways than previously understood. A lifelong Republican, Cutler also served three Democratic presidents. The life of any party, he was a tight-lipped loyalist who worked behind the scenes to get things done. While Cutler’s contributions to the public sphere may not have received, until now, the consideration they deserve, the story of his private life has never before been told.
Cutler struggled throughout his years in the White House to discover and embrace his own sexual identity and orientation, and he was in love with a man half his age, NSC staffer Skip Koons. Cutler poured his emotions into a six-volume diary and dozens of letters that have been hidden from history. Steve Benedict, who was White House security officer, Cutlers’ friend and Koons’ friend and former lover, preserved Cutler’s papers. All three men served Eisenhower at a time when anyone suspected of “sexual perversion”, i.e. homosexuality, was banned from federal employment and vulnerable to security sweeps by the FBI.
“A genuinely engrossing read . . . Illuminating, because it resembles the experiences of countless men and women who, forced for so long to mask their true selves, appeared to the world as mysteries.” —The Washington Post
“Shinkle’s illuminating biography is a love story, albeit an agonizing one and one that reveals a singular character in American Cold War history.” —The Boston Globe