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Eisenhower: Soldier and President Hardcover – February, 1991

4.3 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this admiring and enormously readable revision/condensation of his acclaimed two-volume biography, published in 1983 and 1984, Ambrose reminds us that this "great and good man" was the most successful general of the greatest war ever fought and the only president of this century to preside over eight years of peace and prosperity. Tracing Eisenhower's family background, education, military and political careers, and influence as elder statesman, the author chronicles Eisenhower's triumphs and failures and at the same time provides a vivid picture of the off-duty Ike. As Allied Supreme Commander, he is revealed once again as a coalition leader of extraordinary ability (and "an intensely alive human being who enjoyed his job immensely"). As our 34th president, he was a statesman who guided the free world through one of the most dangerous decades of the Cold War. Ambrose argues that Eisenhower has much to say to us today on such fundamental issues as national defense, arms expenditures, the importance of a balanced budget and the desirability of a United States of Europe with an all-European army. This is the definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Publishers Weekly The definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.

Robert J. Donovan The best book to date on its subject....Of Eisenhower's high rank on the list of presidents there can he little doubt.

John Keegan A magnificent biography.

James MacGregor Bums Fascinating....An important case study in military and political leader ship. --Publishers Weekly

Publishers WeeklyThe definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.

Robert J. DonovanThe best book to date on its subject....Of Eisenhower's high rank on thelist of presidents there can he little doubt.

John KeeganA magnificent biography.

James MacGregor BumsFascinating....An important case study in military and political leadership. --Publishers Weekly

Publishers WeeklyThe definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.

Robert J. DonovanThe best book to date on its subject....Of Eisenhower's high rank on thelist of presidents there can he little doubt.

John KeeganA magnificent biography.

James MacGregor BumsFascinating....An important case study in military and political leadership. --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (February 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067170107X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671701079
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,934,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You can tell that Stephen Ambrose truly likes and admires his subject, Dwight Eisenhower, yet he's able to present a very balanced sketch of the 34th President in "Eisenhower: Soldier and President".
This is Ambrose's condensed, one-volume biography based on his earlier two-volume work, but I didn't feel as though I was missing out on anything.
I gained a better understanding of the realities of war from this book. Eisenhower knew when he launched the D-Day invasion, that thousands of soldiers would die even if the mission was successful. It made me think back to earlier in the book, when a young Eisenhower bemoaned the fact that World War I had ended before the West Point graduate saw any 'action'. Be careful what you wish for. Even in monumental success, there had to be quite a weight on Eisenhower's soul from all the young lives lost under his command.
I had a little trouble warming up to Eisenhower as reluctant politician. He obviously wanted to run for President, he just didn't want to be seen as someone who wanted to run - he insisted on seeming above the fray, passively waiting to be drafted into presidential politics. Similarly, he liked to act like he was above party politics, was coy about his party affiliation for quite a long time, didn't really want to be associated with Republican party politics - he just seemed like he was in the mushy middle to me.
Ambrose provides interesting insight into Eisenhower's relationship with his Vice President, Richard Nixon.
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Format: Paperback
Eisenhower is generally regarded as a do-nothing President, one whose only legacy to the country is his face on the discontinued silver dollar and who only left for the presidency a putting green on the White House grounds. Surrounded as he was by two younger and more idealistic men in the history books, Ambrose clearly sees something of value in his eight years in office, and after reading this book, I somewhat agree.

However, just to do an Eisenhower biography focusing on the Presidency would be insufficient: as a general, he masterminded Operation Overlord and led the final assault on Germany, in the process defeating German genius Erwin Rommel. The first half or so of the book details his military successes and failures, his relationships with Generals Marshall and MacArthur, and how his remarkable victory came about. However, few deny that Ike was a great military leader. His presidency, on the other hand, is a quite contentious matter to this day, and Ambrose defends his record. He doesn't obfuscate facts, though: Eisenhower declined to take leadership on the single most important issue of his term in office: civil rights. The book makes it very clear that Ike's sympathies were with the southerners in the integration battles, and although his response to the Warren Court's decision to end segregation was far from Jackson's famous one ("John Marshall has made his ruling, now let him enforce it"), he didn't enforce Warren's sweeping proclamation with much vigor. In fact, for several years, he didn't enforce it at all. It took outright defiance for him to act, which he ultimately did.
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Format: Paperback
With D-DAY, CITIZEN SOLDIERS, and UNDAUNTED COURAGE, Stephen E. Ambrose has taken his place with Sir Martin Gilbert, Michael Grant, and Gerald Posner as a top historian.
With EISENHOWER: SOLDIER AND PRESIDENT, his earlier biography of the man most responsible for the Allied victory in WWII, we can see his talents beginning to come into bloom.
This volume is an abridgement of a two-parter Ambrose authored, and, as such, is not the book CITIZEN SOLDIERS is. Further, there are those who hold that Eisenhower as President really did nothing (a canard this book helps to dispel), and so would be quite boring as the subject of a book.
In truth, neither is the case. Ambrose forcefully catalogues Eisenhower's accomplishments, both on the battlefield and in the Oval Office. And, in spite of his obvious asffection for Ike, he is not afraid to deal with the General's shortcomings--his temper, his early failing as a commander, his reluctance to help the Civil Rights Movement, and his use of the CIA in covert actions.
Along the way, he paints a marvelous picture of a humane warrior, a man who detested battle beyond even the pacifists of his generation because he'd actually seen what it could do. And he gives a much-needed boost to a presidency that did much more than meets the eye in terms of preserving peace and prosperity in an otherwise dangerous world climate.
EISENHOWER: SOLDIER AND PRESIDENT, then, is a great place to start for both an understanding of the importance of Ike AND an introduction to the writing talent of Ambrose.
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