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Eisenhower: A Biography (Great Generals) Hardcover – October 31, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The author of One Square Mile of Hell (2006) quickly returns with this biography in the Great Generals series, edited by Wesley Clark. It is a sound introduction to its subject, who, like many of his contemporaries, went to West Point to get a free college education. Eisenhower displayed common sense, the degree of empathy that made for good relations with both the soldiers he commanded and his fellow officers, and a positive genius for staff work. He stayed in the army during its lean years between the world wars, and when called to high command, his empathy also made him an effective diplomat and, as such, an indispensable asset to Allied interrelations during World War II. Some may feel Wukovits falls short in assessing Eisenhower's strategic gifts and in discussing his personal life. For such he provides notes and bibliography pointing the way toward completing their own assessments of a man who, undeniably, was one of the most influential soldiers of the twentieth century. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

In his highly readable and concise style, John Wukovits has once again succeeded in packing a wealth of information into a single volume on the life of one of the greatest soldier-statesmen in history. He conveys the strength of character and innate leadership of Dwight Eisenhower in a manner which will captivate the reader. (Michael E. Haskew, Editor, WWII History Magazine)

With his depth of research, insightful approach, and clarity of style, the author and military historian John Wukovits has managed to put a human face on one of the 20th century's greatest figures and turn an historical icon into a flesh-and-blood human being. One comes away from this book feeling as if Ike is a friend, not just a legend. (Flint Whitlock, author of The Fighting First: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day)

Wukovits' book is excellently researched but his greatest merit as an historian is a rare ability to make the past a real living thing. This book is a special pleasure to read, for it is peopled by real figures the reader can understand and care about. Eisenhower is not cast as the Olympian figure he is too often made out to be. A superior history of an intensely human man. (Robert Barr Smith, Colonel, USA (ret))

Wukovits gives us a portrait of a general who devised and sustained a broad-front strategy that led to Germany's unconditional surrender, and a man who never took his eyes off the prize. (Jonathan E. Lazarus, The Star-Ledger.)

John Wukovits now offers a concise portrayal of the commander who served as the chief architect of D-Day and the campaign in northwest Europe. (Col. Cole C. Kingseed, USA Ret., ARMY)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; First Edition edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403971374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403971371
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Polymath on November 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book, and found it a very enjoyable read. I learned a number things about Eisenhower's earlier years that were new to me--for instance, I never knew he had served in Panama, or been offered more lucrative business opportunities, but had elected to stay in the army. or that because of his abilities as a staff officer he had been denied the chance to have his own command except for a very brief period.

In terms of Eisenhower's WWII experiences, the focus is on getting into Eisenhower's thoughts and feelings and his relationships with other generals, particularly Patton and Montgomery, though the author also points out that Eisenhower tried to meet with all ranks of soldiers when time allowed. I was somewhat surprised that Eisenhower's alleged relationship with Kay Summersby is completely unmentioned, though the author does quote four times from her book.

Also, this is not the book to go to if you want an operational description of the battles Eisenhower oversaw--even the situation on Omaha is covered in only a couple of sentences. Similarly for Market-Garden, but here the author states this operation should never have happened, one of his few (though here only implied) negative statements about Eisenhower.

Eisenhower's life after the army and his presidency are briefly covered, with all the major events highlighted, but not discussed in detail.

I strongly recommend this book for an introduction to Eisenhower.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey B. Demers on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good introduction for someone who has always wanted to read a biography of IKE the General but never could find the time for the heftier 500 page treatments of the General. The book is well-written, fast paced and interesting.

Wukovits' doesn't offer anything new to people already familiar with IKE the General. Much of what Wukovits writes has been hashed over in hundreds of books. This does not mean, however, that the book is not a contribution. In a brief bio of the general, Wukovits has no choice but to include much that many already know. The contribution comes in the analysis of IKE's leadership style- and his honesty, integrity, empathy all figure largely in Wukovits story. At times Wukovits appears to be writing an idealizing hagiographic biography and skims over the IKE's poor decisions. IKE dreaded sending men to battle and in many instances poor decisions by IKE made under political influence got men killed. (Omaha Beach, Market Garden, etc)- Certainly, we can criticise IKE for these decisions (Wukovits is very light on criticism) while also realizing no man could have done better.

It's hard for me to think of IKE as anything other than the greatest wartime leader this country has ever had. Wukovits has written a nice book. So far all three of THE GREAT GENERALS volumes have been quite good. See my reviews.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By carolyn moody on January 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This should especially be a must read for students. The book is concise and to the point without a lot of extraneous words. Having just recently rented a film about Eisenhower at a local store, I'm shocked that the student-age employee neither knew who Eisenhower was or how to spell his name. Do we call this a dumbed-down nation?

A good combination with this book would be to first have the students read it and then show the film Ike: A Countdown to D-Day which was a made-for-TV film starring Tom Selleck.

More books of this ilk would help EDUCATE!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yalensian VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Of the four titles in Palgrave's Great Generals Series that I've now read (Patton, Bradley, MacArthur, and now Eisenhower), this is the worst. Wukovits, whose World War II writing has for the most part covered the Pacific, doesn't seem to have a strong background in the European theater, and it shows. The details are very basic; there's little, if anything, new here for anyone who has read a book or two on the ETO. Sure, an author can cover only so much in a book of less than 200 pages, but for the possibilities of a short biography, take a look at historian Richard B. Frank's insightful volume on MacArthur in this same series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William L. Brown VINE VOICE on June 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
As a young boy, I read a Scholastic paperback about the life of Dwight Eisenhower. This was before he became President. I found Eisenhower to be a great role model, and a paragon if honesty, integrity and courage. After reading Wukovits's book, I am still convinced that Ike was an outstanding leader who was well suited to leading our military as well as serving as President of the United States.

The author has culled information from a wide variety of sources to paint a vivid portrait of our 34th president. He includes sufficient detail to give the reader a clear view of what made Eisenhower "tick" without going into so much depth as to drown the reader in a sea of minute details.

I was particularly impressed with the information presented regarding Eisenhower's relationship with General George Patton. Ike's sensitivity to the needs of the troops was complemented by Patton's sheer grit and determination -- a combination that overcame political correctness in order to press forward with the effort needed to defeat the Axis powers and put an end to the horror of the Third Reich. On at least two occasions (once when Patton assaulted shell-shocked soldiers for their "cowardice" and again when Patton announced that the US and Britain were destined to rule the world) Patton's indiscretions came close to removing the bombastic general from service on the front lines.

It was difficult not to chuckle when reading about Eisenhower's first offer of marriage (to a woman who had been a high school classmate), which was rejected because the woman's father opined that her suitor would never amount to anything. Mamie Doud's father, on the other hand, warned his daughter not to play hard to get, or "the Army boy will give up in disgust.
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