Praise for Jim Newton's Eisenhower: The White House Years
“Newton’s book is thorough and reasonable. . . . What makes it valuable now is the timing: We need this book and its insights to judge the vicious and counterproductive politics of these days. This is a book worth reading.” —Richard Reeve, Los Angeles Times
"An essential narrative. . . . [Newton's] objective is to tell the story, and he does so well, inviting us to form our own opinions and giving us a sense of an era that seems both quaint and comfortable in our own age of harsh polarization." —The Wall Street Journal
"Drawing on declassified documents, Newton's narrative, especially of the many international crises, is clear, brisk, and insightful, a timely study of a master of consensus politics with lessons for today's polarized Washington." —Publishers Weekly
"[Newton's] well-researched account shows that Eisenhower was an engaged, decisive leader guided by some bedrock moral and political beliefs. . . . A well-done presentation that helps correct enduring perceptions about an effective but misunderstood presidency." —Booklist
"A truly great book, spirited, balanced, and not just the story of President Eisenhower but of an era." —Bob Woodward
"Jim Newton brings President Eisenhower to life, and we walk with him page by page as he’s transformed from epic General to two-term President. Newton navigates a fascinating journey from military leader to novice politician to one of the most beloved Presidents in our history." —John F. Kerry, U.S. Senator
"Jim Newton does a masterful job illustrating the forces that confronted Dwight Eisenhower during his years in the White House, from nuclear politics to race relations to the federal debt and deficit. He paints a vivid portrait of a president struggling to find middle ground—sometimes successfully, sometimes not—but always with the good of the country in mind. While many Americans are intimately familiar with Eisenhower the general, less is known about Eisenhower the president. Newton artfully fills that void, examining the evolution of our 34th president from the invasion of Normandy to the political warfare of Washington." —Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator
"Newton's contribution is as cogent an inventory of Eisenhower's White House years as I've ever read. He blends masterful writing with historic detail and provides the value-added of Ike as the man and the leader. This is a book for all who are interested in a better understanding of how America and the World were shaped post–WWII and for those who aspire to lead: Read Newton's book first." —Chuck Hagel, Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University; U.S. Senator (1997–2009)
"Jim Newton has given us an entirely fresh look at Dwight Eisenhower—and his riveting book couldn't be more timely or useful today." —Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine
"Ike's wisdom, born of experience and intellect, is on display in this important book, which heightens appreciation for his leadership. Newton reveals, for instance, that after the Korean War, only one American soldier was killed in combat during Eisenhower's presidency. This volume contributes to our understanding of an outstanding human being." —George P. Shultz, 60th U.S. Secretary of State
“Dwight Eisenhower’s eight years as the 34th president of the United States marked a shining moment in American history. In short, it was a wonderful period of prosperity, peace and freedom. But during his presidency and for years afterwards, many believed that Ike was a decent but do-nothing president who left the hard work to others. In his book, Eisenhower: The White House Years, Jim Newton does a superb job of dispelling that false myth and describing Eisenhower as a dedicated chief executive who excelled at running the country.” —James A. Baker, III, 61st U.S. Secretary of State
"Jim Newton's book is a fresh and welcome reminder that Dwight D. Eisenhower was not only a superb general, but a cunning, shrewd and surprisingly progressive politician, and one of our most important presidents. A very welcome book!"
—Michael Korda, author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
"As we enter another critical political season, there is little we can benefit from more than a knowledge of our 34th President, Dwight Eisenhower, his values and the giant decisions of his Presidency that those values motivated. Jim Newton's Eisenhower, The White House Years, simply and eloquently, delivers the man, his Presidency and, if America is paying attention, the life lessons that are his legacy." —Norman Lear
“Jim Newton has written a captivating book that reinforces the rising tide of positive studies of the Eisenhower presidency. Gracefully written and rigorously researched, The White House Years introduces the reader to ‘a great man at the height of his power,’ a master at ‘waging peace,’ more effectively than any other post-war president.” —David A. Nichols, author of Eisenhower 1956 and A Matter of Justice
“Jim Newton’s brilliant reassessment of Eisenhower’s presidency is long overdue, and his book makes it clear that Ike was indeed a great president. Ike’s insistence on always doing the right thing for the country despite party pressure and personal predilection serves as a valuable model for politicians in all three branches of government. Jim Newton's book should be required reading on Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill.” —William S. Sessions
While he rejects Eisenhower's reputation as a "weak president," Newton is frank about his subject's failings, especially on civil rights. And while he can wax rhapsodic…Newton remains critical of Eisenhower, both as a man and as a political actor. The result is an engaging if conflicted work of presidential history…
The Washington Post
The political skills Dwight Eisenhower honed while commanding a fractious WWII alliance made for a great presidency, according to this appreciative but also probing biography. L.A. Times editor-at-large Newton lauds the 34th president's "middle way" rejecting extremes of left and right—including the anti–New Deal ravings of his ultra-conservative brother and the anticommunist witch hunts of fellow Republican Joseph McCarthy—to extract peace and prosperity during the turbulent 1950s. At home, Newton notes, Eisenhower steered a fiscally responsible course between Democratic domestic spending and Republican tax cuts and military boondoggles, while initiating a colossal interstate highway system. He championed a massive nuclear deterrent, but resisted pressures to use it and persistently defused geopolitical crises. The Eisenhower-approved coups in Iran and Guatemala were exceptions of which Newton provides trenchant critical accounts. Eisenhower's timid middleism on civil rights looks uglier, but Newton (Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made) notes that, once the courts ruled, Ike took his marching orders and sent troops to enforce school desegregation. Drawing on declassified documents, Newton's narrative, especially of the many international crises, is clear, brisk, and insightful, a timely study of a master of consensus politics with lessons for today's polarized Washington. (Sept.)
Admiring biography of the 34th president.
A national hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) could have run for president for either party but was temperamentally inclined to the Republicans. After a landslide victory, he chose a strong cabinet with a variety of opinions, from the fierce Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, to Attorney General Herbert Brownell, who supported the nascent civil-rights movement. Los Angeles Times editor at large Newton (Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made, 2006) points out that every incoming president believes that the nation is in crisis, and few doubted this in 1953. The Korean War was entering its third year of bloody stalemate; communism seemed on the march abroad with McCarthy's anticommunist hysteria spreading confusion at home. Within a year, the war had ended, McCarthy had self-destructed and Eisenhower—not Dulles, insists Newton—was conducting the Cold War with good sense. The author explains his lackluster performance on civil rights on the weak grounds that he was a man of his times with many segregationist friends and little sympathy for blacks. Yet, by the standards of today's Republicans, Eisenhower was a liberal who accepted New Deal social programs, showed no interest in massive tax cuts and opposed America's enemies while refusing to support a military buildup. Although contemporary observers described him as an amiable, inarticulate figurehead, his reputation has risen since.
Newton works hard with some success to argue that Eisenhower was a firm leader who kept his head during crises, encouraged America's burgeoning prosperity and left the office to a more pugnacious successor (JFK) who did not improve matters.