Eisenhower: The White House Years

Eisenhower: The White House Years

by Jim Newton
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Eisenhower: The White House Years by Jim Newton

Newly discovered and declassified documents make for a surprising and revealing portrait of the president we thought we knew.

America’s thirty-fourth president was belittled by his critics as the babysitter-in-chief. This new look reveals how wrong they were. Dwight Eisenhower was bequeathed the atomic bomb and refused to use it. He ground down Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism until both became, as he said, "McCarthywasm." He stimulated the economy to lift it from recession, built an interstate highway system, turned an $8 billion deficit in 1953 into a $500 million surplus in 1960. (Ike was the last President until Bill Clinton to leave his country in the black.)

The President Eisenhower of popular imagination is a benign figure, armed with a putter, a winning smile, and little else. The Eisenhower of veteran journalist Jim Newton's rendering is shrewd, sentimental, and tempestuous. He mourned the death of his first son and doted on his grandchildren but could, one aide recalled, "peel the varnish off a desk" with his temper. Mocked as shallow and inarticulate, he was in fact a meticulous manager. Admired as a general, he was a champion of peace. In Korea and Vietnam, in Quemoy and Berlin, his generals urged him to wage nuclear war. Time and again he considered the idea and rejected it. And it was Eisenhower who appointed the liberal justices Earl Warren and William Brennan and who then called in the military to enforce desegregation in the schools.

Rare interviews, newly discovered records, and fresh insights undergird this gripping and timely narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767928137
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 516,662
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 8.06(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

JIM NEWTON is a veteran journalist who began his career as clerk to James Reston at the New York Times. Since then, he has worked as a reporter, bureau chief and editor of the Los Angeles Times, where he presently is the editor-at-large. He also is an educator and author, whose acclaimed biography of Chief Justice Earl Warren, Justice for All, was published in 2006. He lives in Pasadena, CA.

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Eisenhower 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
pab58 More than 1 year ago
I can't think of a more apropos time since his Presidency ended in 1960 for us to look back on Ike's two terms in the Oval Office. Jim Newton wrote a definitive biography of Chief Justice Earl Warren entitled, Justice for All. Now, he's focused his brilliance and talent on the man who put Earl Warren on the court. Hold on. It was Republican who put the classic "activist judge" Earl Warren on the Supreme Court? Indeed. And that's just one of the reasons it's a good time to revisit the Eisenhower Presidency. More than a half-century after Dwight D. Eisenhower left office, his old campaign slogan "I like Ike" has become a cliché. But, in this era of Tea Party Republicans and Ronald Reagan worship, it's nostalgic to recall a Republican President who would never have said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" That kind of simplistic, anti-government demagoguery would not have appealed to the complex man who built our interstate highway system and sent Federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce school desegregation. Newton's book is not about General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander who led his forces to victory in World War Two. It's about the man, who, like George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant, went from the highest-ranking military leader in an epochal war to Commander in Chief as the thirty-fourth President of the United States. As Newton recalls Ike's Presidency, it's hard to imagine why so many have considered him an inconsequential "caretaker" in the White House. Ike was the second President to have an atomic bomb in his arsenal -- and he refused to use it. He kept radical anti-Communist McCarthyism at arm's length until it became, as he called it, "McCarthywasm." And, after lifting the nation out of its post World War Two debt, he was the last president until Democrat Bill Clinton to leave office with a budget surplus. For these, and many more reasons, this lifelong Democrat likes Ike. And I like Jim Newton's book.
Peter Halseth More than 1 year ago
This is a well written account of President Eisenhower's time in Office, and puts into perspective the events that shaped the next Administration's challenges
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RS64 More than 1 year ago
This well crafted book shows the attention to detail that Jim Newton brings to the historical field. Well paced and filled with great POV.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this volume on Eisenhower after reading McCullough's similar book on Truman. The Eisenhower book disappointed me by contrast. It seemed less thoroughly researched and more impersonal. As a result, I did not get the continuing flow of US presidential history for which I hoped. Recognizing that the books were written by different authors, I nevertheless assume that both are talented historians. So I attribute at least part of the difference to time. Good history - like good wine, beer and bourbon - requires aging. I don't plan to continue forward and read about Kennedy, Johnson et alia for quite awhile.
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