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Cover image for Eisenhower : in war and peace
Eisenhower : in war and peace


1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, ©2012.
Physical Description:
xx, 950 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Just folks -- The Great War -- The peacetime Army -- With Pershing in Paris -- With MacArthur in Washington -- Manila -- Louisiana maneuvers -- With Marshall in Washington -- TORCH -- Baptism by fire -- Sicily -- Supreme Commander -- D-Day -- The liberation of France -- Germany -- Chief of staff -- Columbia -- "I like Ike" -- The Great Crusade -- Eight millionaires and a plumber -- First off the tee -- Dien Bien Phu -- New look -- Heart attack -- Suez -- Little Rock -- Military-industrial complex -- Taps.
A peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America's thirty-fourth president.


Call Number
923 Eisenhower, Dwight
921 Eisenhower, Dwight 2012
921 Eisenhower, Dwight 2012
92 Eisenhower, Dwight D. 2012

On Order



The Christian Science Monitor * St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In his magisterial bestseller FDR, Jean Edward Smith gave us a fresh, modern look at one of the most indelible figures in American history. Now this peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America's thirty-fourth president. As America searches for new heroes to lead it out of its present-day predicaments, Jean Edward Smith's achievement lies in reintroducing us to a hero from the past whose virtues have become clouded in the mists of history.

Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point, to Paris under Pershing, and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike's maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower's superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory through multiple reversals of fortune in North Africa and Italy, culminating in the triumphant invasion of Normandy. Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike's finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby, and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.

Smith's chronicle of Eisenhower's presidential years is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Derided by his detractors as a somnambulant caretaker, Eisenhower emerges in Smith's perceptive retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. Smith convincingly portrays an Eisenhower who engineered an end to America's three-year no-win war in Korea, resisted calls for preventative wars against the Soviet Union and China, and boldly deployed the Seventh Fleet to protect Formosa from invasion. This Eisenhower, Smith shows us, stared down Khrushchev over Berlin and forced the withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli forces from the Suez Canal. He managed not only to keep the peace--after Ike made peace in Korea, not one American soldier was killed in action during his tenure--but also to enhance America's prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.

Domestically, Eisenhower reduced defense spending, balanced the budget, constructed the interstate highway system, and provided social security coverage for millions who were self-employed. Ike believed that traditional American values encompassed change and progress.

Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time--and for the ages.

Praise for Eisenhower in War and Peace
"[A] fine new biography . . . [Eisenhower's] White House years need a more thorough exploration than many previous biographers have given them. Smith, whose long, distinguished career includes superb one-volume biographies of Grant and Franklin Roosevelt, provides just that." --The Washington Post
"Highly readable . . . [Smith] shows us that [Eisenhower's] ascent to the highest levels of the military establishment had much more to do with his easy mastery of politics than with any great strategic or tactical achievements."-- The Wall Street Journal
"Always engrossing . . . Smith portrays a genuinely admirable Eisenhower: smart, congenial, unpretentious, and no ideologue. Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D'Este, this is the best."-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Author Notes

Jean Edward Smith was born on October 13, 1932. He received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1954. He then went on to serve in the military from 1954-1961. In 1964, he obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Public Law and Government of Columbia University. He is a well known biographer of several works inlcuding those featuring Franklin D. Rooselvelt and Ulysses S. Grant. He is the John Marshall Professor of Political Science at Marshall University and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto.

In 2002 Jean Smith was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and in 2008 he won the Francis Parkman Prize. His title's inlcude: Bush, Eisenhower in War and Peace, FDR, Grant, and The Face of Justice: Portraits of John Marshall.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Except for FDR, Eisenhower was the 20th century's "most successful president," says Smith. After delivering this jolt, Smith, senior history scholar at Columbia (and winner of a Francis Parkman Prize for FDR) makes a reasonable case in this long but always engrossing biography. Eisenhower (1890-1969) spent 16 years as a major in the hidebound pre-WWII army, but the people who mattered (FDR, generals MacArthur and Marshall) recognized his talent. Smith describes a man who commanded the largest coalition army in history without grandiloquent posturing, feuds with superiors, or favoritism to certain egotistical subordinates who responded by disparaging his leadership. As president (1953-1960), Smith credits Eisenhower with leading Republicans away from their isolationist past, keeping the peace, and leaving office more popular than any successor. Ironically, no Republican candidate today would dare praise the legacy of this "progressive conservative" who slashed the military budget, opposed tax cuts, resisted evil (in this case communism) without going to war, and supported Social Security and federal aid programs. Warts turn up, but Smith portrays a genuinely admirable Eisenhower: smart, congenial, unpretentious, and no ideologue. Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D'Este, this is the best. Photos, maps. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Historian Smith avers that Eisenhower's accomplishments as a general and a president have receded from our understanding, although extant biographies by Stephen Ambrose, Carlo d'Este, Michael Korda, and Geoffrey Perret imply that readers still like Ike. Smith dwells primarily on Eisenhower's ascent in the army and how his military experience affected his presidency. A peripatetic narrative accordingly unfolds, pegged to Eisenhower's postings from West Point to Europe in WWII. Despite the seeming inevitability of Eisenhower's rise, Smith emphasizes the role luck played in his military career. He only received an active-duty assignment because an officer overrode a medical decision that Ike was physically unfit due to an old football injury. In 1921, a general quashed a court-martial recommended against Eisenhower. By then, his logistical skills, acceptance of responsibility, and gregarious personality had impressed superiors, a series of whom mentored and promoted him. Fortune smiled favorably, too, when Eisenhower bid for the White House, with Smith concluding that Truman had destroyed a damaging letter by George Marshall reprimanding Ike over his wartime liaison with Kay Summersby. As for Ike the chief executive, Smith hews to the hidden hand thesis that he tightly controlled his administration while cannily creating a different impression. Covering Eisenhower's marriage and relations with politicians, Smith rounds out a positive portrait that perfectly suits readers needing an introduction to Ike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Respected biographer Smith, whose works include Lucius D. Clay: An American Life; John Marshall: Definer of a Nation; Grant, a finalist for the Pulitzer; and FDR, a national best-seller, here revisits Dwight Eisenhower.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER'S memoirs came out while I was in graduate school in the 1960s, and one of my professors commented - not entirely facetiously - that he'd been surprised to see print on the pages. My fellow students and I were being taught that despite Eisenhower's victories in World War II, the presidency had been beyond his capabilities. Like Ulysses S. Grant, the last general to make it to the White House, Ike won elections easily, but did not rise to the responsibilities these thrust upon him. Jean Edward Smith challenged that argument about Grant in a well-received biography published a decade ago: Grant had been a better president than contemporaries or previous biographers realized, Smith maintained. In "Eisenhower in War and Peace," Smith, who is now a senior scholar at Columbia after many years at the University of Toronto and Marshall University, makes a more startling claim. Apart from Franklin D. Roosevelt (whose biography Smith has also written), Ike was "the most successful president of the 20th century." Historians long ago abandoned the view that Eisenhower's was a failed presidency. He did, after all, end the Korean War with out getting into any others. He stabilized, and did not escalate, the Soviet-American rivalry. He strengthened European alliances while withdrawing support from European colonialism. He rescued the Republican Party from isolationism and McCarthyism. He maintained prosperity, balanced the budget, promoted technological innovation, facilitated (if reluctantly) the civil rights movement and warned, in the most memorable farewell address since Washington's, of a "military-industrial complex" that could endanger the nation's liberties. Not until Reagan would another president leave office with so strong a sense of having accomplished what he set out to do. But does Eisenhower merit a place in the pantheon just behind Franklin Roosevelt? Smith's case would be stronger if he had specified standards for presidential success. What allowances should one make for unexpected incumbencies, like those of the first Roosevelt, Coolidge, Truman, Johnson and Ford? Or for holding office in wartime? Or for "black swan" events - economic crashes, natural disasters, protest movements, self-inflicted scandals, terrorist attacks? What's the proper balance between planning and improvisation, between being a hedgehog, in Isaiah Berlin's famous distinction, and being a fox? Smith doesn't say. But he does carefully trace Eisenhower's preparation for the presidency, and that's what this biography is really about. (Only a quarter of the book is devoted to the White House years and beyond.) From it, Eisenhower's own views on success in leadership emerge reasonably clearly. To reduce them to the length of a tweet - an exercise my students recommend, and which Ike might well have approved - they amount to achieving one's ends without corrupting them. Ends, Eisenhower knew, are potentially infinite. Means can never be. Therefore the task of leaders - whether in the presidency or anywhere else - is to reconcile that contradiction: to deploy means in such a way as to avoid doing too little, which risks defeat, but also too much, which risks exhaustion. Failure can come either way. Exhaustion was the problem in World War I, in which the costs on all sides allowed no decisive outcome. As a young (and disappointed) Army captain, Eisenhower was kept stateside during the hostilities, training troops in the use of the recently invented tank. After peace returned, he and his fellow officers assumed there would be another war, but they had to plan for it under conditions wholly different from the profligacy with which the last one had been fought. With cuts in military spending that left ranks reduced, Eisenhower's generation took limited means as their default position. Doing as much as possible with as little as possible required setting priorities, so Eisenhower made himself an expert, during the 1920s and 1930s, on the theory and practice of limited means. The theory came from the 19th-century Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz, whose difficult classic, "On War," Eisenhower mastered, as almost no one else in the Army at the time did. The practice came from serving on staffs: of Fox Conner in Panama, who introduced him to Clausewitz; of John J. Pershing in Paris, who had him map World War I battle sites; of Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines, from whom Eisenhower learned the pitfalls of arrogance in command; and, in the final years of peace, of the indispensable George C. Marshall, who catapulted Eisenhower above hundreds of more senior officers to make him, after Pearl Harbor, the Army's chief planner. Eisenhower's skills were not those required to command armies on battlefields: in this respect, he lacked the talents of his World War II contemporaries Bradley, Patton and Montgomery. But in his ability to weigh costs against benefits, to delegate authority, to communicate clearly, to cooperate with allies, to maintain morale and especially to see how all the parts of a picture related to the whole (it was not just for fun that he later took up painting), Eisenhower's preparation for leadership proved invaluable. Lincoln went through many generals before he found Grant, Smith reminds us. Roosevelt found in Eisenhower, with Marshall's help, the only general he needed to run the European war. There were setbacks, to be sure: the North African and Italian campaigns, the Battle of the Bulge after the triumph of D-Day. But because Eisenhower showed himself to have learned from these crises, Roosevelt and Marshall never lost confidence in him. At the same time, Ike was perfecting the art of leading while leaving no trace - the "hidden hand" for which he would be known while in the White House. The best wartime example, Smith suggests, was the way he gave his subtle support to Charles de Gaulle as the leader of the Free French, which left Roosevelt - no fan of le grand Charles - with a fait accompli. Eisenhower was getting to be good at politics as well as war. Politics beckoned, after his victories, as it did with Grant before him, but the situations they inherited upon becoming president could hardly have been more different. Facing no credible external enemy, the United States in 1869 was as inward looking as it ever had been or would be. But by 1953, its interests were global and threats seemed to be too. Grant, in the aftermath of the Civil War, struggled to maintain any weapons more lethal than those required to fight American Indians. Eisenhower controlled weaponry that, if used without restraint, could have ended life on the planet. Success in his mind, then, required not just avoiding the corruption of ends by means, but also their annihilation. How could the United States wage a war that might last for decades without turning itself into an authoritarian state, without exhausting itself in limited conflicts on terrain chosen by adversaries, without risking a new world war that could destroy all its participants? And how, throughout all of this, could the country retain a culture in which its traditional values - even the bland and boring ones - could flourish? Eisenhower's greatest accomplishment may well have been to make his presidency look bland and boring: in this sense, he was very different from the flamboyant Roosevelt, and that's why historians at first underestimated him. Jean Edward Smith is among the many who no longer do. The greatest virtue of his biography is to show how well Eisenhower's military training prepared him for this task: like Grant, he made what he did seem easy. It never was, though, and Smith stresses the toll it took on Eisenhower's health, on his marriage and ultimately in the loneliness he could never escape. Perhaps Ike earned his place in the pantheon after all. President Eisenhower waves to crowds after his inauguration, 1953. Apart from Franklin Roosevelt, Smith says, Ike was 'the most successful president of the 20th century.' John Lewis Gaddis teaches history and grand strategy at Yale. His latest book is "George F. Kennan: An American Life."

Choice Review

Smith (Columbia) has written an excellent biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He states his biases early, indicating that "Ike" was a first-rate military leader as well as a very successful president. Smith covers Eisenhower's military career in great detail. As a member of the peacetime army, he had to show patience and perseverance because of very slow promotions. However, during his career he was mentored by General Fox Conner, served under Douglas MacArthur, and eventually was singled out by General George C. Marshall. While Smith points out that Eisenhower had flaws, the general's overall effectiveness came from his political and communication skills, which he demonstrated during WW II. Smith argues that Ike was very political and brought that trait to his presidency. Eisenhower worked behind the scenes to accomplish his goals, as exemplified by his handling of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. A military hero who loved peace, Ike ended the fighting in Korea and on two occasions refused to use atomic bombs, despite the recommendations of others. "Eisenhower gave the country eight years of peace and prosperity. No other President in the twentieth century can make that claim," Smith states. This copiously researched book is a great addition to the Eisenhower literature. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. A. Yarnell Montana State University

Kirkus Review

FDR, 2007, etc.) is amply qualified to reshape the life of the late, great president, whom the author calls an "enigma." The making of the leader seems to interest Smith most, and he breezily tracks Eisenhower's (18901969) early years as the third of seven sons born to a brooding, difficult father who finally found work at a creamery in Abilene, Kan., and a vivacious, energetic mother whose confidence in her sons' abilities propelled them to prosper in the world. Smith dutifully points out a few weaknesses in the general's legend, such as that he lied about his age when applying to West Point, and participated with alacrity in General MacArthur's shameful clearing of the Bonus Army encampment in Washington, July 1932. Popular, capable, ambitious and a hard worker if not a brilliant mind, Ike was furious that World War I had passed him by, relegated to the peacetime Army--although he leapfrogged the ranks while ingratiating himself wit the major generals of the day. Although he had never led an active command, he was swept into General Marshall's War Plans Division of the Army after Pearl Harbor. Smith examines Eisenhower's leadership in the European theater, concluding that he was a master at consensus and delegating, offering the appearance of casual confidence; however, as a field commander his understanding was "abstract and academic." As president, he capably handled the Suez crisis and sending troops into Little Rock, kept the country out of war and would not abandon his vice president Richard Nixon. He ended his presidency with the still-ringing warning about "the military-industrial complex." A straight-shooting, comforting account--though not super-enlightening, considering the mountain of previous Ike bios.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Presidential biographer Smith presents an interesting and comprehensive account of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The 34th President is portrayed as a steady and decisive leader, particularly during the World War II era. Ike is also depicted as a peacekeeper and a key figure in establishing the United States as a world power. Smith's narrative is compelling and accessible to nonhistory buffs. VERDICT Well performed by narrator Paul Hecht, Smith's writing reads more like a story than a standard history textbook. This work will be especially appealing to readers enamored of this time period in U.S. history and those interested in the lives and legacies of Presidents such as Truman, FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt. ["Smith gives a riveting account of one of the 20th century's most important leaders," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Random hc, LJ 12/11.-Ed.]-Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
1 Just Folksp. 3
2 The Great Warp. 28
3 The Peacetime Armyp. 49
4 With Pershing in Parisp. 74
5 With MacArthur in Washingtonp. 92
6 Manilap. 119
7 Louisiana Maneuversp. 150
8 With Marshall in Washingtonp. 174
9 Torchp. 203
10 Baptism by Firep. 230
11 Sicilyp. 266
12 Supreme Commanderp. 290
13 D-Dayp. 318
14 The Liberation of Francep. 355
15 Germanyp. 393
16 Chief of Staffp. 432
17 Columbiap. 467
18 öI Like Ikeöp. 498
19 The Great Crusadep. 523
20 Eight Millionaires and a Plumberp. 550
21 First Off the Teep. 579
22 Dien Bien Phup. 607
23 New Lookp. 634
24 Heart Attackp. 663
25 Suezp. 686
26 Little Rockp. 705
27 Military-Industrial Complexp. 731
28 Tapsp. 761
Acknowledgmentsp. 767
Notesp. 769
Bibliographyp. 867
Illustration Creditsp. 897
Indexp. 899