34 - Dwight D Eisenhower
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1952 Election Eisenhower (442 electoral votes) vs Stevenson (89)
1956 Election Eisenhower (457 electoral votes) vs Stevenson (73)
He switched his first and middle names around to avoid confusion between he and his father.
Eisenhower was one of three presidents to graduate from a military academy. He went to West Point.
He had a putting green installed on the White House lawn.
Eisenhower was the first president of all 50 states.
He was the first president to appear on color television.
Eisenhower was the first president licensed to pilot a plane.
In their married life, the Eisenhowers moved 28 times before their retirement in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
He was the only president to serve in both World Wars.
He graduated from West Point sixty-fifth in a class of 165.
All six of the Eisenhower boys were at one time or another nicknamed Ike.
He was responsible for putting 'under God' into the Pledge of Alliegence.
Korda covers Eisenhower's entire life but sort of skimps on his presidency. (The Amazon review says he spends 64 pages on his presidency and I don't doubt that.) The focus here is definitely on Ike's military career.
This is an interesting (though long--800 page) Eisenhower biography. Very readable, I thought. For one thing, a friend gave this to me after I had surgery in Aug of '07 and I was faciing about two months off of work. Once I got my wits about me, this was one of those engrossing books that helped make the time fly by.
I'd like to read more about Eisenhower. Someone, Stephen Ambrose possibly, has a multi-volume biography of Ike. Someday, I would like to read that or else at least read an Ike bio that focuses more on his Presidency.
Eisenhower by Stephen E. Ambrose finished 1-27-2008
At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends by Dwight D. Eisenhower finished 10-22-2008
Enjoyed them both. In fact I have enjoyed everything I have read by Ambrose (which is most of his books). The other, being an autobiography, was a nice read as well. Definitely a fascinating man.
"…In social policy, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools. He also signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years…"
From The Source of All That is Good and True (wikipedia):
"Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race as a Republican to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft and to crusade against "Communism, Korea and corruption". He won by a landslide, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson and ending two decades of the New Deal Coalition. In the first year of his presidency, Eisenhower deposed the leader of Iran in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état and used nuclear threats to conclude the Korean War with China. His New Look policy of nuclear deterrence gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weapons while reducing the funding for conventional military forces; the goal was to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits. In 1954, Eisenhower first articulated the domino theory in his description of the threat presented by the spread of communism. The Congress agreed to his request in 1955 for the Formosa Resolution, which enabled him to prevent Chinese communist aggression against Chinese nationalists and established the U.S. policy of defending Taiwan. When the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957, he had to play catch-up in the space race. Eisenhower forced Israel, the UK, and France to end their invasion of Egypt during the Suez Crisis of 1956. In 1958, he sent 15,000 US troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government from falling to a Nasser-inspired revolution. Near the end of his term, his efforts to set up a summit meeting with the Soviets collapsed because of the U-2 incident.
On the domestic front, he covertly opposed Joseph McCarthy and contributed to the end of McCarthyism by openly invoking the modern expanded version of executive privilege. He otherwise left most political activity to his Vice President, Richard Nixon. He was a moderate conservative who continued New Deal agencies and expanded Social Security.
Among his enduring innovations, he launched the Interstate Highway System; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which led to the internet, among many invaluable outputs; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), driving peaceful discovery in space; the establishment of strong science education via the National Defense Education Act; and encouraging peaceful use of nuclear power via amendments to the Atomic Energy Act.5
In social policy, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools. He also signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years and made five appointments to the Supreme Court. He was the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd Amendment. Eisenhower's two terms were peaceful ones for the most part and saw considerable economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59.
Eisenhower is often ranked highly among the U.S. Presidents."
This is an easy read. The language is everyday usage and the flow is good. It is high quality newspaperman style. I think it is a good potted-history document. There are other books and sources for in-depth discussion on the Eisenhower presidency, as evidenced by the foregoing posts, but this provides a great way to get a "feel" for the man.
Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith.
He started his career by entering West Point and going on to secure a commission. Ike had several mentors in the Army who secured prime appointments for him to advance his path including appointments to the War College and the command school. His worst assignment was working for MacArthur in the Philippines. He was passed over for European command several times during WWII, until being appointed Supreme Commander for D-day. His time as President was filled with ending the Korean conflict, trying to stay out of Vietnam, dealing with desegregation including his decision to send troops to Little Rock to assist with desegregation. The books also goes into his personal life of his marriage to Mamie, his affair with Kay Summersby, and hints that he wanted to divorce Mamie to marry Kay after the war. Ms. Smith also tends to compare Ike to President Grant both militarily and as a president.
by Michael Korda
So for Dwight Eisenhower, I narrowed it down to two books available from the library: this one, which is more of a biography of General Eisenhower, and another, which focused more on his presidency. It caused me to stop and remember why I had embarked on this project--to get a better understanding of the sweep of United States history. While politics play a big role in that, I am just as interested in the events and life experiences that formed the leaders of our country. So I opted for Ike, the book that had more coverage of Eisenhower's life before World War II and his presidency.
The book was quite enjoyable to read. The narrative flowed smoothly. Like Harry Truman, Eisenhower grew up in a working class family. Tight finances and a desire for more education led him to the United States Military Academy. His success there led him to a variety of postings in training and administration. He found it frustrating, but those experiences equipped him to become the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe, where, in Mr. Korda's opinion, Eisenhower did a superb job of leading combat operations as well. (I learned that there is plenty of controversy over how well General Eisenhower did his job. Mr. Korda acknowledges that but then makes the case in Eisenhower's defense.)(I also learned that the first enemy American troops engaged in North Africa were the French! So much I need to learn...) After 352 pages of Eisenhower's war time exploits, Mr. Korda breezes through Eisenhower's campaign and eight years in the White House in a mere 83 pages. At that point, I was beginning to wonder if I should have borrowed both of the books I looked at. But brief as that section was, I did feel I got a sufficient overview of the decade. All in all, the book was well worth checking out.