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David

Poughquag, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

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  • Eisenhower in War and Peace

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jean Edward Smith
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (201)

    Author of the best-seller FDR, Jean Edward Smith is a master of the presidential biography. Setting his sights on Dwight D. Eisenhower, Smith delivers a rich account of Eisenhower’s life using previously untapped primary sources. From the military service in WWII that launched his career to the shrewd political decisions that kept America out of wars with the Soviet Union and China, Smith reveals a man who never faltered in his dedication to serving America, whether in times of war or peace.

    Keith Storrs says: "Great book to get to know Ike"
    "Disappointing: Breaks no new ground"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jean Edward Smith and/or Paul Hecht?

    I would not read something else from Smith. He seems content in rehashing conventional wisdom spewed out in high school history classes. The sections on Ike's early life and military career are interesting. However, Smith dwells too much on Eisenhower's affair with his WWII driver, at the expense of more interesting (but I guess less salacious) accounts of Ike's wartime leadership.The sections on his presidential career offer no new information and simply regurgitate the common themes from history text books -- namely, demonizing the Republicans (Smith constantly refers to them as the "Old Guard"), lauding Ike for working with the "good guys" (Democrats), and gushing over Eisenhower's appointment of activist judges. Smith dismisses the communist scare without even a cursory mention of the Rosenbergs or Alger Hiss. I'm not excusing McCarthy, but Smith doesn't accurate describe the real threat at the time. He doesn't even mention the Rosenberg case or why Eisenhower didn't pardon them. Smith's retelling of Ike's television address during Little Rock is just plain inaccurate, and brings into question what else Smith mischaracterized in the book. Smith writes that Eisenhower "spoke directly into the camera" and "only rarely consulted the text in front of him." I watched the video to see for myself. Eisenhower is constantly looking down at his prepared remarks and for the first few minutes is looking away from the camera as if he doesn't know where to look. Smith concludes that this is a "powerful speech, powerfully delivered." The words are inspiring. The delivery was awkward and not at all as Smith had described.I enjoyed Hecht's reading style and tone. I had to speed it up to 1.5, otherwise it sounded too slow.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The River of Doubt


    What about Paul Hecht’s performance did you like?

    Good tone. Well done.


    Did Eisenhower in War and Peace inspire you to do anything?

    Watch historical videos to see for myself.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm not a WWII expert, so I appreciated the perspective. I also learned a great deal about Eisenhower's background. I could have stopped the book after Eisenhower returns home from the war. Nothing new there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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