Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith

77%

22 Critic Reviews

. . .measured but fundamentally admiring account of his long years of public service. . .
-LA Times

Synopsis

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Christian Science Monitor • St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Magisterial.”—The New York Times
 
In this extraordinary volume, Jean Edward Smith presents a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America’s thirty-fourth president. Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike’s maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower’s superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory. 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. He managed not only to keep the peace, but also to enhance America’s prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.
 
Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time—and for the ages.
 
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

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)
 
“No one has written so heroic a biography [on Eisenhower] as this year’s Eisenhower in War and Peace [by] Jean Edward Smith.”—The National Interest
 
“Dwight Eisenhower, who was more cunning than he allowed his adversaries to know, understood the advantage of being underestimated. Jean Edward Smith demonstrates precisely how successful this stratagem was. Smith, America’s greatest living biographer, shows why, now more than ever, Americans should like Ike.”—George F. Will
 

About Jean Edward Smith

See more books from this Author
Jean Edward Smith is the author of the highly acclaimed FDR, winner of the 2008 Francis Parkman Prize; Grant, a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist; John Marshall: Definer of a Nation; and Lucius D. Clay: An American Life. A member of the faculty at the University of Toronto for thirty-five years, and at Marshall University for twelve, he is currently a senior scholar in the history department at Columbia.
 
Published February 21, 2012 by Random House. 976 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Eisenhower in War and Peace
All: 22 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Below average
Nov 15 2011

A straight-shooting, comforting account—though not super-enlightening, considering the mountain of previous Ike bios.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Oct 24 2011

Despite competing biographies from Ambrose, Perret, and D’Este, this is the best.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Gerard Baker on Feb 18 2012

. . .the author is clearly eager to emphasize the progressive more than the conservative parts of that oxymoron. . .a commentary that is a little more ideologically one-sided than justified by the historical record.

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Wendy Smith on Mar 11 2012

. . .measured but fundamentally admiring account of his long years of public service. . .

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Yardley on Feb 17 2012

. . .his White House years need a more thorough exploration than many previous biographers have given them. . .Smith provides just that.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Erik Spanberg on Feb 21 2012

He makes a convincing argument, obliterating earlier arguments by historians that Eisenhower’s was a dull, torpid presidency marked by mediocrity and go-along-to-get-along policy.

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Dallas News

Below average
Reviewed by Clay Reynolds on Feb 17 2012

Well researched, it features accessible but pedestrian prose.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by James Percoco

The greatest strength of this graceful, well written and splendidly paced biography is the objectivity that leaps from the pages.

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Tampa Bay Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Patsilelis on Apr 15 2012

In this revealing biography you will meet a Dwight Eisenhower you only thought you knew.

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Deseret News

Excellent
Reviewed by Cody Carlson on Mar 26 2012

Despite the ending, this is a solid work that greatly illustrates Eisenhower's first-rate service in the U.S.

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Huntington News

Excellent
Reviewed by Gary Prisk on Apr 07 2012

. . .should be short-listed for the most prestigious awards.

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Huntington News

Excellent
Reviewed by David Kinchen on Mar 17 2012

Smith writes elegantly, with free-flowing, non-academese prose that won't discourage the general reader

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Lincoln Journal Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Stephen on Mar 29 2012

. . .superbly written, insightful and fair-minded book. . .

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The New Republic

Below average
Reviewed by David Greenberg on May 04 2012

In discussing Eisenhower’s presidency, Smith abandons his previous detachment and assumes the role of advocate, intruding on his narrative to beat back criticisms.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by John Lewis Gaddis on Apr 22 2012

The greatest virtue of his biography is to show how well Eisenhower's military training prepared him for this task...

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My San Antonio

Excellent
Reviewed by Vincent Bosquez on Mar 23 2012

. . .Smith has tenaciously brought the former president back to the national spotlight for a new generation of Americans.

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Philly.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Paul Jablow on Mar 04 2012

Despite an occasionally fawning tone, Jean Smith's comprehensive biography, Eisenhower in War and Peace, throws a rich light on a deceptively complicated subject.

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The Missoulian

Excellent
Reviewed by Don Spitzer on May 27 2012

At nearly 800 pages, Smith’s Eisenhower book is a challenge, but his writing style is crisp, reader-friendly, and sprinkled with well-chosen quotes.

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The American Prospect

Excellent
Reviewed by Tom Carson on Mar 09 2012

The book's major strength is that Smith is the first Eisenhower biographer I've read who seems equally at home assessing Ike's military career. . .and its political capstone in the White House.

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The American Scholar

Below average
Reviewed by Matthew Dallek

In a book hailing Eisenhower’s presidential greatness, his presidency receives only 250 of its more than 750 pages of text.

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Post Bulletin

Below average
Reviewed by Jay Furst on Mar 19 2012

Despite its girth, this is a disappointingly thin and unserious look at Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man, the general and the president.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Roger Bishop on Feb 21 2012

Meticulously researched, Smith's book gives us a fresh and insightful understanding of the many aspects of Eisenhower's full life.

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