An expansive account of the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, drawing extensively on declassified material from the Eisenhower Library, the CIA and Defense Department, and troves of unpublished documents.
...a splendid biography that belies the image of Mr. Eisenhower as a benign do-nothing president ... As a president, Dwight Eisenhower deserves the judgment of historian Hitchcock that he was a 'model of loyalty, dignity and decency Eisenhower lent his name to the age. And his people had lived in the presence of greatness.' ”
Mr. Hitchcock discusses the full range of challenges that occupied Eisenhower across the eight years of his presidency (1953-1961), from school desegregation to building the interstate highway system to presidential heart attacks. Like Eisenhower himself, however, he devotes the majority of his attention to foreign affairs ... Throughout his rich narrative, Mr. Hitchcock wrestles with the question of who gave us the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower famously warned against in his farewell address. On the evidence, a leading miscreant was Eisenhower himself, striving to protect his cherished country with overwhelming force, an artist in iron.
Yet in emphasizing Eisenhower’s political virtues, Hitchcock still confronts Ike’s troublesome failings, including those that sometimes made the CIA a foe of democracy abroad. Still, even in his defects, the Eisenhower who emerges here stands head and shoulders above his anxious and nakedly ambitious vice president, Richard Nixon. A complete and persuasive assessment.