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A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 4, 2007
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-- Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
"A Matter of Justice is superb. This generation needs to appreciate just what President Eisenhower did to bring about a major revolution in this country, especially in his appointment of Earl Warren and great federal judges in the South. Few recognize the difficult decision he had to make in putting federal troops into Little Rock, but that action made the difference in the success of school desegregation."
-- William T. Coleman, Jr., co-author of the Brown v. Board of Education brief and former Secretary of Transportation
"This is revisionist history at its best -- provocative yet unbiased. With anyone else in the White House during the 1950s, the civil rights movement would have emerged more slowly. Nichols's brisk account is also a terrific character study of Eisenhower as a misunderstood but effective politician."
-- Jonathan Alter, author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope
"A Matter of Justice is a fascinating and important book. Unbeknownst to most Americans, the Eisenhower administration presided over major civil rights advances, paving the way for the better-known breakthroughs of the 1960s. David Nichols vividly narrates this crucial but hitherto unappreciated aspect of the civil rights revolution."
-- Fred I. Greenstein, author of The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader
"David Nichols makes a fascinating and persuasive case that President Eisenhower, for all his rhetorical flubs, made great contributions to the advance of civil rights. Deeds, not words, as Nichols puts it."
-- Anthony Lewis, former New York Times columnist and author of Gideon's Trumpet
"David Nichols has mastered the last frontier of Eisenhower revisionism -- civil rights. A Matter of Justice is a triumph."
-- Daun van Ee, editor of The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower
"David A. Nichols has written an important, revealing book about Eisenhower's extensive civil rights record. A Matter of Justice will be indispensable to future Eisenhower biographers."
-- James F. Simon, Martin Professor of Law at New York Law School and author of Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Having read quite a bit of Civil Rights history and several biographies of Dwight Eisenhower, I thought I knew the Eisenhower's record on Civil Right. Wrong!
The author David A. Nichols, a history professor, was unknown to me before reading his A Matter of Justice. He did a superb job of providing detailed and extensive notes which gave me as a reader a great respect for the extent of his research and his perserverance in writing this book.
The first few chapters focus on Eisenhower's early civil rights fights beginning during WW2 and the integration of the military to his early appointments of desegregation leaders among his cabinet when elected president. During the war (WW2) Eisenhower pushed for the integration of black combat troops on the front lines, etc. (they were usually used for logistical support and given the worse jobs). When elected president, Eisenhower was committed to the ending of segregation where his authority permitted (military, federal jobs/contracts, and Washington D.C.).Read more ›
Eisenhower, whatever his motives and modus operandi, can be faulted for failing to recognize that a bully pulpit was needed in the aftermath of Brown I and that his overly legalistic and above the board approach stroked southern resistence. The repercussions of not using stronger rhetoric during his presidency caused ripples which reverberate today. While Eisenhower may have provided leadership, he failed to use all the tools of the presidency, including the bully pulpit, to provide moral leadership.
Why did I learn all this? Part of the reason is the liberal meta-narrative that Democrats equal good, Republicans equal bad. The myth that civil rights was pushed by Dems and not Reps. This book destroys liberal pieties like "Truman desegregated the military." Bull. He issued an executive order and reaped all the historical benevolence. Eisenhower actually desegregated the military. Then, he desegregated military hospitals, VA facilities, military schools, and schools in towns near military installations. Then he desegregated Washington. DC (a town officially segregated by progressive icon, and all-around racist, Woodrow Wilson). Part of the reason is Eisenhower did all of this quietly. That was his leadership style: look like you're doing nothing, take no credit.
The truth in this book: Eisenhower was very concerned with civil rights, very involved in making progress on the issue, and doing, not talking. Eisenhower was not a bystander on the Brown decision, he pushed it. Eisenhower was not a bystander on sending troops to Little Rock, he pushed it. Ditto, ditto, et cetera, et cetera. He pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1960. Who degraded and denuded those two laws? The sainted LBJ. Who comes across in this book as he should: a political piece of s@%t, who only did things to further his career, instead of doing what was right.
The book reads quickly, is meticulously endnoted, and thoroughly researched. A must read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though he spent his first two years pursuing integration independent of the NAACP, Eisenhower has been criticized for his civil rights record for decades. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Michael Zucker
A very nice look at the eight years of the Eisenhower administration. DDE got things done and didn't brag about it, a characteristic our current politicians should have.Published 23 months ago by David Lavimoniere
An important book and when added to Unlikely Heros by Jack Bass you have a very dramatic story.A new look at this important time.Published on December 12, 2013 by Anna Marie Palmer
Just loved this book. Saw the author on CSPAN and decided I wanted to know even more than the great information in his talk! Nice job and a terrific read.Published on June 30, 2013 by Rob
This book takes issue with the traditional view of Eisenhower as one lacking any commitment to the struggle for civil rights. Read morePublished on July 9, 2012 by John W. Cooper
When Dwight Eisenhower completed his two terms as president in 1961, it appeared that historians would treat him unkindly for his allegedly weak, somnolescent leadership. Read morePublished on June 26, 2011 by Robin Friedman
Of all the re-examinations of Eisenhower since the 1960s, Nichols' books are the best. In this one he shows that the former President was actually a much better advocate for Civil... Read morePublished on May 30, 2011 by J. Smallridge
Eisenhower's sending in of the US Army to end segregation in Little Rock seems a much underrated episode in American history, not just the evolution of civil rights but a... Read morePublished on January 4, 2011 by J. Rodeck