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The two DDEs
on November 1, 2010
`Going Home to Glory' covers Dwight D. Eisenhower's life from the time of Kennedy's inauguration and Eisenhower's return to "private" life and his death in 1969. David, of course was his grandson and his namesake and married Eisenhower's vice-president Nixon's daughter, Julie; but do not think that this is an unobjective writing.
David Eisenhower is a superb writer. He is thorough in his research; going to as many primary sources as possible, those persons still living, the personal notes, papers and documents rather than just using secondary ones- books and previously published material. Of course for many subjects, especially his grandfather, he is a primary resource himself; but his writing is very impartial and fair, both in dealing with his subject and his mind-set himself.
He includes his own observations and some of the correspondence that he had with his grandfather. His thoughts are warm and create a private picture of a world figure that bring a warmth and closeness to the story; but that is not the main focus. Most of the book deals with Eisenhower's political feelings and observation on what was happening in the world /US scene. There are the moments of the wise grandfather and he is treated gently, especially in the subject of the Bay of Pigs debacle; but there are many little, if known at all facts: Mamie's thoughts that she was not sure that anyone, including herself really knew Ike. He was kept informed and briefed by all the presidents after him, so there are many views and judgments on world events, including the Cuban missile crises, civil rights and the various elections.
We see Eisenhower as a general, who wanted that title back rather than Mr. President, a man who led the allied forces in WWII, a president and as a grandfather, who once he discovered the remote control drove Mamie and everyone else to distraction by changing channels every 90 seconds. A grandfather who did not understand or approve of the morals of the 1960's and as a General who felt Johnson mishandled the war in Vietnam.
A list of abbreviations used in an appendix would have been somewhat helpful for those that forget what NSC and JES, for example mean, you are told once, if at all, but again that is not really a problem in the reading.
David's views and opinions to a minor extent are included in the writing, but they are not obtrusive . It is a personal and at the same time a broader look into one of America' s senior statesmen and leaders. What a perfect book DDE has completed for anyone who loves US history and wishes to learn more in an enjoyable, informative way.