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Dwight D Eisenhower: 1953-1961 The American PresidentDwight D Eisenhower: 1953-1961 The American President
Tom Wicker
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An American icon and hero faces a nation--and a world in transition. A bona-fide American hero at the close of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower rode an enormous wave of popularity into the Oval Office seven years later. Though we may view the Eisenhower years through a hazy lens of the 1950s nostalgia, historians consider his presidency one of the least successful. At home there was civil rights unrest, McCarthyism, and a deteriorating economy; internationally, the Cold War was deepening. But despite his tendency toward "brinksmanship," Ike would later be revered for "keeping the peace." Still, his actions and politics at the onset of his career, covered by Tom Wicker, would haunt Americans of future generations.
     

 
Eisenhower: Soldier and PresidentEisenhower: Soldier and President
Stephen E. Ambrose
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Stephen E. Ambrose draws upon extensive sources, an unprecedented degree of scholarship, and numerous interviews with Eisenhower himself to offer the fullest, richest, most objective rendering yet of the soldier who became president. He gives us a masterly account of the European war theater and Eisenhower's magnificent leadership as Allied Supreme Commander. Ambrose's recounting of Eisenhower's presidency, the first of the Cold War, brings to life a man and a country struggling with issues as diverse as civil rights, atomic weapons, communism, and a new global role. Along the way, Ambrose follows the 34th President's relations with the people closest to him, most of all Mamie, his son John, and Kay Summersby, as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Harry Truman, Nixon, Dulles, Krushchev, Joe McCarthy, and indeed, all the American and world leaders of his time. This superb interpretation of Eisenhower's life confirms Stephen Ambrose's position as one of our finest historians.
     

 
A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights RevolutionA Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution
David A. Nichols
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Eisenhower is often portrayed as an unwilling or passive participant in the Civil Rights movement. In decisive language, David A. Nichols demonstrates that these assumptions are mistaken. Drawing on archival documents, including newly available pages, Nichols takes a look at Eisenhower's work to desegregate the District of Columbia and complete the desegregation of the armed forces. We see how he appointed five pro-civil rights justices to the Supreme Court and progressive judges to lower courts, as well as his work crafting civil rights legislation, building a congressional coalition that passed the first civil rights act in eighty-two years, and maneuvering to avoid a showdown over desegregation of Little Rock Central High.

Nichols demonstrates that Eisenhower, though a product of his time and its backward racial attitudes, was actually more progressive on civil rights in the 1950s than his predecessor, Harry Truman, and his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. More a man of deeds than of words and preferred quiet action over grandstanding, his cautious public rhetoric gave a misleading impression that he was not committed to the cause of civil rights. In fact, Eisenhower's actions laid the legal and political groundwork for the more familiar breakthroughs in civil rights achieved in the 1960s. 368 pages, paperback.
     


 

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