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Eisenhower: Soldier and President [Paperback]

Stephen E. Ambrose
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 15 1991 Touchstone Book
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, Khrushchev, 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.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this admiring and enormously readable revision/condensation of his acclaimed two-volume biography, published in 1983 and 1984, Ambrose reminds us that this "great and good man" was the most successful general of the greatest war ever fought and the only president of this century to preside over eight years of peace and prosperity. Tracing Eisenhower's family background, education, military and political careers, and influence as elder statesman, the author chronicles Eisenhower's triumphs and failures and at the same time provides a vivid picture of the off-duty Ike. As Allied Supreme Commander, he is revealed once again as a coalition leader of extraordinary ability (and "an intensely alive human being who enjoyed his job immensely"). As our 34th president, he was a statesman who guided the free world through one of the most dangerous decades of the Cold War. Ambrose argues that Eisenhower has much to say to us today on such fundamental issues as national defense, arms expenditures, the importance of a balanced budget and the desirability of a United States of Europe with an all-European army. This is the definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Publishers Weekly The definitive one-volume biography of Eisenhower.

Robert J. Donovan The best book to date on its subject....Of Eisenhower's high rank on the list of presidents there can he little doubt.

John Keegan A magnificent biography.

James MacGregor Bums Fascinating....An important case study in military and political leader ship.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
HE WAS BORN on October 14, 1890, in a small rented frame house, not much more than a shack, beside the railroad tracks in Denison, Texas. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story of Ike Jan. 14 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He shouldered a tremendous amount of responsibility during WWII. The consequence of his decision were far reaching. There is a lot to learn from the man and his leadership. I was most surprised by the amount of pressure he faced as a President when a lot of his entourage wanted more aggressive action in Korea, against China to the point of using the nuclear bomb. He did not waver, that really struck me. I wished he would have been forceful in dealing with Monty who was at time being obstructionist.
I do wish he had been more forceful and decisive on some of his domestic policies.
Overall a very good man we all of us owe him a lot.
Now I will read the Crusade.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity Feb. 4 2011
I have no doubt the two volume bio deserve the praise, but sadly this compilation is seriously lacking. I am certain that the first 50 years of Eisenhower's life deserve more than only the roughly 50 pages afforded here. I feel like I have a good handle on the soldier's and the President's accomplishments, but hardly know the man he was, only the one he became. Even them. Many passages are poorly stiched together - marking obviously where cuts were made. I'll blame the editor, more work is required to make a memorable bio.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on Eisenhower June 16 2004
If you are only going to read one biography about Eisenhower, this one-volume version by Stephen Ambrose is the one to choose. Ambrose exhibits his deep and comprehensive knowledge of his subject and in the process provides the reader with with a real sense of Eisenhower.
While Ambrose does highlight Ike's shortcomings where appropriate, there is no doubt that he had a deep admiration for his subject. This admiration leads him to write the book from a certain perspective - not necessarily biased, but certainly favorably disposed. If you are looking for a different take on Ike (albeit narrowly focused on his relationship with Truman) read David McCullough's Truman.
Overall, this a solid book from a great author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good favorable bio of ike Dec 30 2003
By A Customer
I very much enjoyed this book. Ambrose went over Ike's life in good detail. I learned alot about the man and also about his military career and his political background.
I was most interested about his presidency and I feel like Ambrose did give me a very good idea of how Ike came to his decisions and also how Ike formed his beliefs.
I do think that this was a very favorable bio of Ike.
Ambrose seemed to not want to really find fault with Ike on any of the issues except for his stance on civil rights.
I also do not agree that Ike is one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century along with Wilson and the two Roosevelts as Ambose said.
I would say that the best presidents of the 20th century were the two Roosevelts, Truman,and Reagan.
I would rank Ike as a good president but not a great president.
Thus I feel this biography of Ike is the best out there and will teach you alot about the man and his policies but that I would not agree with the positive assessment of Ambrose of Ike in many areas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Ike Sept. 24 2003
This is a wonderful book, easy to read and very inspiring. Ike was a qunitesential american from the midwest who rose to the pinnacle of american power. Among the excellent insights in this book you will find:
1) Details of Ike's creation of the Highway system, he had learned first hand that americas roads were unexceptable in the 20s.
2) Ikes decision at Nromandy, where he penned a note in case of disaster.
3) Ike's simple manners and soldierly conduct. The quiet demeanor that held the alliance together.
4) Ike's term as president where he ended the Korean war, and created a policy of intervening to stop communism(Eisenhower doctrin).
The BEST book on Ike, a wonderful account. Clearly the best book on Ike ever written. Ambrose brings his superior prose to this volume.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A better general than president. June 30 2003
But he was ok as president realizing than in his own sphere of influence you have more power as general than president. Steve Ambrose has done a skillful job condensing two volumes into one. I'm not sure what he left out. Having read "At Ease" written by Ike just before the presidency & "At War" written by his grandson this book dwelt on his presidency. Although it is a whole life biography there is not a lot of attention spent on his greatest accomplishment in life: Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe.
The image of Ike as a do nothing golfer is changing. While there was relative calm at home he was in his element dealing with international affairs. This required a disipline & organized mind, so in that sense his military background served him well. His political instincts were good & he did not rush to judgement. Stevenson looked foolish running against him but how could have anyone have beaten him? He virtually ignored McCarthy & he eventually self destructed.
In race relations he was lost & did a poor job. He could have done more to advance civil rights but he merely enforced the law. Ambrose goes into some detail on how he basically managed the "cold war". That it did not become hot is an accomplishment. You don"t get credit for bad things that never happen. The most unfortunate event of his administration was the U-2 that was shot down over the Soviet Union. Ike was striving for a nuclear test ban treaty that was to be the capstone of his career. Ambrose was a well known cheer-leader for Eisenhower but takes the reader through the painful cover-up that ensued. A sorry chapter in the saddest year of his presidency & the last. Ike wasn't comfortable with Nixon as the Republican canidate for president in 1960 but except for Rockefeller there wasn"t anyone else.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Leader at America's Calling
Stephen Ambrose's portrayal of Eisenhower as both soldier and president is a grand tribute to one of America's greatest war and peacetime leaders. Read more
Published on April 20 2002 by Andy Olen
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but try the two-volume set
I admit that I have a great admiration of arguably America's best World War II historian, but the condensed version didn't go in depth as much as I would have liked. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2002 by R.J. Corby
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written Ike bio
You can tell that Stephen Ambrose truly likes and admires his subject, Dwight Eisenhower, yet he's able to present a very balanced sketch of the 34th President in "Eisenhower:... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2002 by kelly6228
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, interesting read, But Very Bias and Forgiving...
The book was good, but Ambrose seems to skip around the timeline within chapters which makes some confusion. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2002 by Michael R. Henke
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and Balanced Account
I admit a favorable bias toward anything Ambrose writes. True to form, this biogrpahy is meticulously researched and detailed. Read more
Published on June 26 2001 by Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing American!
The beginning is the beginning of any average American biography. Born in the small town of Abilene, Kansas, raised by a warm family, and decides to attend West Point. Read more
Published on June 19 2001 by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars Biased, but wonderfully readable
Ambrose edited the Eisenhower Papers project for many years and finally turned his talents on writing a large-scale biography of Ike. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2000 by Candace Scott
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