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Publisher's Summary

An original and penetrating assessment of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, showing Ike's enormous influence on modern America, the Cold War, and on the presidency itself. 

In a 2017 survey, presidential historians ranked Dwight D. Eisenhower fifth on the list of great presidents, behind the perennial top four: Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. Historian William Hitchcock shows that this high ranking is justified. Eisenhower's accomplishments were enormous and loom ever larger from the vantage point of our own tumultuous times. A former general, Ike kept the peace: He ended the Korean War, avoided a war in Vietnam, adroitly managed a potential confrontation with China, and soothed relations with the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. He guided the Republican Party to embrace central aspects of the New Deal like Social Security. He thwarted the demagoguery of McCarthy, and he advanced the agenda of civil rights for African Americans. As part of his strategy to wage and win the Cold War, Eisenhower expanded American military power, built a fearsome nuclear arsenal and launched the space race. In his famous Farewell Address, he acknowledged that Americans needed such weapons in order to keep global peace - but he also admonished his citizens to remain alert to the potentially harmful influence of the "military-industrial complex". 

From 1953 to 1961, no one dominated the world stage as did President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Age of Eisenhower is the definitive account of this presidency, drawing extensively on declassified material from the Eisenhower Library, the CIA, and the Defense Department and troves of unpublished documents. In his masterful account, Hitchcock shows how Ike shaped modern America, and he astutely assesses Eisenhower's close confidants, from Attorney General Brownell to Secretary of State Dulles. The result is an eye-opening reevaluation that explains why this "do-nothing" president is rightly regarded as one of the best leaders our country has ever had. 

©2018 William I. Hitchcock (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 05-28-18

A Very Thorough and Balanced Biography

Hitchcock has written a very thorough and balanced biography of Eisenhower's years as President. It is not meant to be a chronicle of his entire life. Within its scope, the book is very comprehensive and interesting. Although the book generally is kind to Eisenhower, it is not a fawning portrayal and includes appropriate criticism, particularly of the U-2 affair and Eisenhower's approval of covert action that was much in contrast to his public foreign policy.

Probably the best thing this book does is to present a portrait of a decent and highly intelligent man who had to govern in a very difficult time. He did this mostly by moderation and largely in a bi-partisan way. To critics, such as on civil rights, he never did enough. But he probably did what was possible during his time--a time that included a block of southern Democrats (yes, Democrats) committed to segregation. This moderate approach also won out on foreign policy--he was able to end the war in Korea and avoid war elsewhere. He was not afraid to play hardball--including with our allies--when necessary.

The book is also notable in the respect that Eisenhower clearly had for the office he occupied. This sense of respect seems to have been lacking both inside the office and outside for most of the last twenty years.

Written from enough distance, the book offers a great sense of perspective. It is clear that the political "intelligentsia" of the time vastly underestimated and underappreciated him. The only consistency with that crowd is how often they were wrong then, and how constant that has stayed through the years.

Excellent book. Good narration.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic analysis of an often overlooked man

The Age of Eisenhower is an in-depth account of a somewhat misunderstood and under appreciated man and time in our nation’s history. From his ending of the Korean War to his policy of peace through strength and his better-than-popularly-understood record on civil rights, Ike’s accomplishments are numerous. As the author astutely points out, Ike was disparaged by the press and his successor JFK at the conclusion of his presidency and is only recently regarded as one of our nation’s greatest chief executives.

The Audible version of this excellent book is well narrated and easy to listen to in the car.

Highly recommend!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 08-11-18

Excellent

This book covers the time frame from 1953 to 1961 when Eisenhower was president. Hitchcock does a brief overview of DDE’s early life and military career. I found it helpful when the author provided a review of the various biographies of Eisenhower as well as the most common negative reviews of his presidency. Hitchcock presented different viewpoints of Eisenhower’s handling of the cold war including the U2 incident, when to use atomic weapons and Joseph McCarthy. Eisenhower expanded many of FDR’s social programs. He also attempted to obtain health coverage for everyone but was voted down by his own party. I was most impressed with Eisenhower’s self-discipline and organizational skills. He applied this to his presidency, it was considered one of the best organized and disciplined governments to date. When I compare this to what we have today, I wonder how anything gets done today.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. The author had access to newly released Eisenhower papers sent to the Eisenhower presidential library from the federal government. I found this book easy to read, and I think it will become an important read for those wishing to learn about Eisenhower. The book is long enough to allow in-depth analysis and discussion of the author’s key points. This book is not a traditional biography but an analysis of the keys points of DDE’s presidency. If you wish to read a traditional biography, I recommend “Eisenhower in War and Peace” by Jean Edward Smith published in 2013.

It is almost twenty-six hours long. Arthur Morey does an excellent job narrating the book. Morey is an actor, writer and award-winning audiobook narrator. He has won several EarPhone Awards and as well as receiving two Audie Award nominations.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Mediocre, nothing new

Repeats well-worn territory, uses trite alliteration, purple prose. Narrator over-bright, thought I heard him say MacArthur when talking of McCarthy. Jean Edward Smith’s section of the presidency in his Eisenhower biography is far better than this book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • stearnshd
  • Holly Springs, NC, United States
  • 08-19-18

interesting, but long-winded

this is my third book on President Eisenhower and I did learn a few things. But often things are dragged on too long. the narrator sounds weary most times (as did I when it seemed like the author was stuck in a subject he didn't know how to get out of in a reasonable time). It's still history and fascinating to hear how America reacted it felt about things. it makes me want to read more about McCarthyism, the Korean war, and the Cold War.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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GOOD & DISAPPOINTING, TOO...

Great historic account of a 5-Star Legend. Author seemed more critical than complimentary, which was unfair. All of the sudden, he spent the last several minutes praising the General. Good story, but disappointed, too. B+

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A much overlooked president.

Learned a lot about the early years of the cold war and the civil rights movement. Ike had his flaws but he is under rated as a president, should be in the top five or six.

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Wonderful insight into Eisenhower and his decade

Love the thorough background on Eisenhower, learning more about his early years and personal life than I ever knew before. The weaving of the methods and strategies of Eisenhower with the world politics and economics of the 1950s. Fascinating read.

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Fantastic

This is one of the best books I have listened to on Audible. It is a compelling narrative of a fascinating and pivotal period in American history. Ike was at the center of it all. I strongly recommend this book
for anyone interested in what was going on beneath the headlines of
the 1950’s. It is superbly written and superbly narrated.

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Pretty Good

- Starts off slow but eventually picks up to be interesting and knowledgeable read
- Some dull parts