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.
©2012 Jean Edward Smith (P)2012 Recorded Books, LLC
“Always engrossing . . . Smith describes a man who commanded the largest coalition army in history without grandiloquent posturing . . . leaving office more popular than any successor. . . . 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)
“Dwight Eisenhower, who was more cunning than he allowed his adversaries to know, understood the advantage of being underestimated. Jean Edward Smith refutes this durable misunderstanding. Smith, America’s greatest living biographer, demonstrates why, now more than ever, Americans should like Ike.” (George F. Will)
“Jean Smith, indubitably America’s most distinguished biographer, has now produced the classic life of Dwight Eisenhower…Here he comes alive on every page—the beneficiary of the exhausting fresh research this handsomely written book is based upon. When the General died, Mamie, his lifelong wife, allowed that she never fully knew her famous husband. No reader of Smith’s work will render the same complaint.” (Henry F. Graff, Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University)
Say something about yourself!
From this biography, we learn about Dwight Eisenhower the person, soldier and politician. We learn plenty practical ideas for being successful in our own personal and professional lives. Paul Hecht’s presentation is just excellent.
Richard Labunski’s James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights is, in my opinion, much like Jean Edward Smith’s Eisenhower biography. Like the Eisenhower biography, we learn about James Madison the person, politician, and statesman. I read this book, so I cannot comment on the narrator presentation.
There is no particular scene that stood out; the entire book stands out in my mind.
The entire book moved me. Dwight Eisenhower is a person I wish I’d known personally.
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.
The River of Doubt
Good tone. Well done.
Watch historical videos to see for myself.
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.
I was about 10 when Eisenhower was elected president so I had heard about him but I didn't understand what he had actually done. From the biography I have learned that he did some incredibly good things both during war II and as President. I also learned some of his shortcomings and some things I wish he hadn't done (like supporting a coup to oust a democratically elected leader and replace him with the Shah of Iran.) The story is detailed enough to give a good understanding of all the events in his life, but moves quickly so I couldn't stop reading.
Learning about Eisenhower's role in advancing Civil Rights as well as being an person who tried to slow down anti communistic fanatic McCarthy even before Eisenhower was President.
I was not crazy about his reading. He often seems to put an H in front of words so Ike came out soundling like "Hike"
Yes, but of course it was too long to do this. But I could hardly wait to get back to it.
Recording or voice is recorded too low - sound gets lost if there is any ambient noise.
Was expecting much better. Should have been divided into multiple books, perhaps including "Eisenhower in War with Kay", as author seems to be obsessed the relationship between Ike and Kay. Should have just addressed it once or twice and moved on. Keeps coming back to the issue, sometimes re-examining the same "evidence" but drawing different conclusion.
Author expects reader to be forgetful, repeats himself - forget that Ike liked westerns? No worry, I'll tell you multiple times.
Works too hard to defend almost every action of the Eisenhower, employing inconsistent logic. In a rare criticism, author hangs our modern problems with Iran on Ike's intervention with Iran, yet offers no similar critique of the handling of North Korea.
Finally, the cartoon ahistorical characterization of the Hoover presidency and dismissal of Coolidge presidency diminish the book's credibility.
The author gives the reader a complete picture at the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her description of the young Eisenhower reads as an easy flowing narrative giving wonderful personal insights into Ike's life.
The war years are written with attention to detail and gives great insight into the people that surrounded Ike in those years and the importance of these individuals. The author leaves you with the sense that you have actually spent time with this intriguing person.
The Presidency of Eisenhower is presented in a balanced manner. Flaws and fortitude are brought to the reader and the author allows the reader to make their own decision as to Eisenhower's contributions.
An outstanding book that I will be listening to more than once!
Eisenhower and his relationship with Kay Summersby is explored in a balanced manner.
Paul Hecht gives an outstanding performance as the narrator.
Hell no. This is a meaty biography best served in smaller portions. Far too much to digest in one sitting. This a book you don't want to end!
Althought not a WW II history buff I do enjoy biographies. Eisenhower in War and Peace was so well written and performed I had a hard time turning it off to interact with the world. If you like war stories and WW II you will definitely enjoy this work. If you just like good writing you will enjoy this book. If you like biography you will enjoy this story. If you just like to be entertained you will enjoy this venue.
somewhere in the middle.
yes. I thought it was well written, and had a fairly good pace.
He was smarter than you thought.
The only serious criticism I have is that the author keeps saying that Ike was smart, or did things in a skillful manner, but rarely explains what those things were or how Ike did it. We are told that Ike worked really hard, sometimes driving himself to exhaustion. Just what was he doing in all those long hours?
Smith's research and analysis make this work a cut above other Eisenhower biographies. The basic story is the same but nuance, insight and motivation behind the facts open another dimension on what took place at the time. For example, his analysis of Nixon's "Checkers Speech" makes it like a totally different exchange. It's not just the facts that are interesting but the "why" behind the facts that brings the story to life.
The performance is superb. It's truly a pleasure to hear the foreign terms and individuals' names pronounced correctly. Bravo!
This work truly rates five stars in all categories. It is a masterpiece.
Yes. If you lived during Eisenhower's time, you've probably forgotten most of the story the book tells -- and it is a story well worth remembering. This book permanently puts to rest the old tale that "Eisenhower proved you don't need a President!!!!" Hearing all the things he accomplished (both in WW II and in his later presidency), you see what a marvelous man he was and how much he really accomplished. You appreciate not only the things he did, but also the things he didn't do!! In my opinion,this book is a must read (or listen to).
One of the most engaging biographies I've ever encountered. Smith was fair and thorough in his treatment of Eisenhower. He presented his subject in such an authentic manner that I felt like I could almost reach out and touch the man. Excellent book.
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