- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (August 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743223748
- ISBN-13: 978-0743223744
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,322,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World Paperback – August 27, 2002
The Amazon Book Review
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The importance of personality in politics is well illustrated by Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Neal in this narrative about Truman and Eisenhower. Sure to hook readers interested in political history, Neal's account follows their relationship, which changed from mutual respect when they first met in 1945, to mutual disdain by 1953, epitomized by a frosty limousine ride to the 1953 inaugural. What happened? That question is never fully answered in Neal's account, although he explores every possible avenue in attempting to come up with an explanation. Perhaps the two men themselves didn't know how they came to dislike each other. One explanation the author advances is that Truman was an experienced politician and a sharp partisan when electioneering; Ike, unfamiliar with campaigning culture, took umbrage at Truman's barbs from the stump. Neal's knowledgeable, detailed account makes apparent the delicacy of the personal element in politics. For a more significantly historic look at political relations, recommend Joseph Ellis' Founding Brothers [BKL S 15 00]. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Steve Neal is the author of several books, including Dark Horse: A Biography of Wendell Willkie, cited by American Heritage as a notable book, and a "critic's choice" of The Wall Street Journal. A former White House correspondent, Neal has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "a consummate American political historian."
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Top customer reviews
Just what does that mean? Both Truman and Eisenhower desired to defeat Communism and further the cause of Democracy. However they did it in very different ways. Truman had a great relationship with Winston Churchill. In fact it was Truman who directed Winston to make the famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Fulton Missouri.
On the other hand Eisenhower put off meetings with Churchill to seek summit talks on non proliferation with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower was indeed more passive than either Truman or Churchill.
Both these men were products of a Midwestern upbringing. Mr. Truman gained the Presidency quite by accident. In effect he caught lightning in a bottle. He proceeded to make all the critical hard decisions of the Cold War. The Marshall Plan, The Truman Doctrine, The Berlin Airlift and the Korean War.
In the Korean Conflict, Truman did a very unpopular thing which in the end cost him a chance at another term as President. He dismissed General Douglas Macarthur. Hence his popularity ratings went South and he could not run.
Alas, General Eisenhower appears as the Republican nominee and wins the 1952 election. Truman and Ike at this time are political enemies. The rather frigid handing of the baton of the Presidency is stuff of legend. The frost of that meeting of January 20, 1953 can still be felt.
However, during the 8 years of Ike's reign, the Cold War lingered, but the United States still maintained its dignity.
It was only through the funerals of George Marshall in 1959 and later JFK in 1963 that Harry and Ike met.
Finally they did reconcile. Neal tells a good story. Good but not great. These two men were not bosom buddies. But it reflects the actions of 2 politicians trying for the good of the World. I recommend this book.
Neal successfully shows how key events of 1945-60 (culminating in JFK's election) serve to unite, than divide the men. Truman admires Eisenhower's early work helping rebuild Germany's economy, while Eisenhower supports formation of NATO and SHAPE, (buttress against post-war Communist aggression.) Both agree on early attempts to mitigate Soviet and Chinese threats, leading to histories of 1950-53's Korean war and Douglas MacArthur's controversial dismissal (with both men agreeing on their dim view of the revered military figure).
Neal also makes the case for Senators Joe McCarthy and William Jenner's divisive Senate tenures changing Truman and Eisenhower's relationship, in Neal's words, "from one of bitter words into one of mutual contempt." Eisenhower enters 1952's campaign election after years' reluctance as a stand against US isolationism, only finding himself supporting unpopular senators along party lines and not fully supporting Truman cabinet members (such as Gen. George Marshall) against McCarthy's attacks. But Neal also shows Truman's political expediency as he first dismisses the younger John Kennedy in 1960 before endorsing his candidacy more enthusiastically than Eisenhower did his vice president, Richard Nixon.
You sense the awe in which Neal holds both men, honoring their respective contributions to society. He spends Chapter 29's first paragraphs explaining how each administration's agendas (for national security, infrastructure, and economic growth) blended into each other, thus turning making their eventual quarrel more personal. (It was notable enough then to receive media coverage and even a quip from David Brinkley.) This chill slowly thaws after 1960 to warm greetings between both men and their wives in the aftershock of John Kennedy's 1963 funeral.
The book could have used more personal reflections; admittedly few may have been actively available for discussion, but only Eisenhower's son John is extensively quoted apart from written correspondence. Nonetheless, "Harry and Ike" is worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the key post-war years, allowing us another look at the seismic events of the early Cold War through the eyes of two of America's most beloved presidents. Recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
Some with no connection. Obviously Naploeon didn't know Hitler. I'm kinder that most reviewers.Read more
the inner workings and motivations of Presidents Truman
and "Ike" -what I discovered was a poorly...Read more