While the interests of America’s historical record — long bereft of gay history, which is often elusive by nature — may be served by revealing the intimate details of Cutler’s interior life, whether he merits a full-length biography is another matter ... Shinkle’s contribution to history is his revelation that a gay man played an important bureaucratic role in this tragedy by advocating a policy that lowered the threshold for dismissal from disloyalty to homosexuality. There are not many more such previously undisclosed moments in this book, however, much of which treads familiar Cold War history ... Ike’s Mystery Man becomes a genuinely engrossing read in its final third, when Cutler develops a romantic interest in a National Security Council staffer half his age.
Shinkle organizes his story by topic, spelling out the details in simple declarative prose. But some readers may be bothered by Shinkle’s habit of referring to his characters by their first names or nicknames. (Even the esteemed Eisenhower becomes just plain 'Ike.') ... Readers who lap up Washington wonkery will relish Ike’s Mystery Man for its insider accounts of bureaucratic turf wars. Others may find it too wonky for words.
Informative ... Shinkle’s access to primary source documents and his meticulous research into the life of his great-uncle enable him to produce an extremely intricate portrait of an influential American. This biography is sure to appeal particularly to those interested in the history of the Cold War and the contributions of LGBTQ people in American government.