How Ike led The principles behind Eisenhower's biggest decisions

Susan Eisenhower

Book - 2020

"How Dwight D. Eisenhower led America through a transformational time-by a DC policy strategist, security expert and his granddaughter. Few people have made decisions as momentous as Eisenhower, nor has one person had to make such a varied range of them. From D-Day to Little Rock, from the Korean War to Cold War crises, from the Red Scare to the Missile Gap controversies, Ike was able to give our country eight years of peace and prosperity by relying on a core set of principles. These were ...informed by his heritage and upbringing, as well as his strong character and his personal discipline, but he also avoided making himself the center of things. He was a man of judgment, and steadying force. He sought national unity, by pursuing a course he called the "Middle Way" that tried to make winners on both sides of any issue. Ike was a strategic, not an operational leader, who relied on a rigorous pursuit of the facts for decision-making. His talent for envisioning a whole, especially in the context of the long game, and his ability to see causes and various consequences, explains his success as Allied Commander and as President. After making a decision, he made himself accountable for it, recognizing that personal responsibility is the bedrock of sound principles. How Ike Led shows us not just what a great American did, but why-and what we can learn from him today"--

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2nd Floor 973.921/Eisenhower Checked In
New York, NY : Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Publishing Group 2020.
First edition
Physical Description
387 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Susan Eisenhower (author)
  • Introduction
  • Accountability without caveats
  • Inner struggles
  • Beyond ethnic kinship
  • "Born to command"
  • Human problems
  • "I don't think he has any politics"
  • Shaping the middle way
  • Ike's rules for good governance
  • The interconnections between war and peace
  • A strategist takes on a demagogue
  • Principles and tenacity in times of crisis
  • The loneliness of power
  • Establishing a beachhead
  • Playing the long game
  • A farewell
  • When no one was looking
  • Epilogue.
Review by Booklist Review

In today's political environment, leadership has become a topic of fascination. Granddaughter of President Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower and leader of Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute, author Eisenhower (Breaking Free, 1995) has pored through the record of her grandfather's career and distilled what made him a great leader both on the battlefield and in government. In her view, his success derived from his personal commitment to duty: not just following orders, but being selfless and self-sacrificing. A man given to strong emotions, Ike rarely expressed his feelings publicly, and he listened to multiple viewpoints before reaching a decision. Eisenhower details the background issues involved in Ike's great moment, his command of the vast D-Day invasion. Ike proved a master at bringing the best out of his military staff and finding each commander's strengths. Although Ike initially resisted running for president, he steered the nation through the Cold War's early years. A direct witness to Ike's later years, the author draws on memories of her grandfather, and these highly personal anecdotes supplement her research. Armchair historians will treasure this book.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A granddaughter of the 34th president celebrates his life and accomplishments. The author, who published a memoir, Mrs. Ike (1996), about her grandmother, turns her attention to her grandfather in this mix of biography, memoir, and history; she has few negative things to say about him other than the fact that he did not like phone calls but rather "far preferred to meet his colleagues in person." Instead, she celebrates his remarkable life, noting his humility and "intellectual honesty" and how he was "transparent and accountable" to the public and possessed a "determination to put the country first." The author is clearly determined to remind readers of his many accomplishments--not only in World War II (he organized D-Day, among many other operations), but during the eight years of his presidency (1953-1961). She credits him for laying the groundwork for civil rights--e.g., he sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to facilitate school integration--balancing budgets, keeping us out of war, working hard to get the U.S. into space, refusing to attack his critics in public, and declining to diminish himself by responding to Sen. Joseph McCarthy and, later, to the Democrats (JFK among them) who tried to use the early Soviet space achievements for a political advantage. She shows him as an empathetic family man with a strong moral compass. In the epilogue, the author attacks the tribalism poisoning our current political climate. "Our culture no longer understands what was deeply ingrained in Eisenhower and many of his generation," she writes. "Today we seem to think that strength is derived from winning every small fight, while raising ourselves up for recognition and advancement, even if others have to be diminished in the process….To [him] the exact opposite was fundamental to his beliefs." A patent paean to a beloved grandfather and his military, political, and family achievements. (17 b/w photos) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.