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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Leader at America's Calling April 20 2002
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.
Though Ambrose views Ike in a very positive light he is willing to be critical of his choices not to engage the Civil Rights debates of the 1950s and not take a firm stand in regards to retaining or dumping Nixon as VP in 1956.
Eisenhower aimed to please and find compromise. It is striking how his style remained the same throughout the war and into his presidency. Though Ike was often viewed as a compromiser, Ambrose illustrates that Ike kept his options open at all times and thought out each major decision.
There has been no recent president more willing to think outside the box then Ike when it came to foreign policy affairs and the drive to limit the nuclear stockpiles of both the US and USSR as the Cold War began.
Ambrose again adds to the rich American tradition of the time with this book. It is an easy read and logically put together. I highly recommend this book on Ike, I have a great respect for a leader I knew little about prior to reading this novel. An A+.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but try the two-volume set Jan. 16 2002
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. This version does give a nice overview of Ike's life, but certainly a biased one. Ambrose does not hide the fact that he is the president of the "I Like Ike" fan club, but he still offers a great deal about Eisenhower. However, he misses the mark on a few critical areas that should be considered important in any bio of our 34th president.
For instance, there is hardly a mention at all about FDR's death on April 12, 1945. Surely the highest ranking American in the European theater had powerful emotions concerning the passing of his president, but the reader is left wondering.
Another area getting short shrift is America's use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I find it hard to believe that Eisenhower would not have a strong opinion or at least strong emotions concerning their use. Again, it barely gets a mention in the book.
Even if the two-volume set contains information about the above topics, it should have been included in the condensed volume.
My other complaint is that the book is slanted entirely toward the good points about Ike's life and presidency. One exception is coverage of Ike's possible affair with his war-time secretary, which Ambrose covers more than adequately.
If you like Ambrose, I would rate this as worth the read. It does offer insight to his war experiences and presidency, but for a fairly objective work, consider other tomes. I'd give it 3 stars, but it's Ambrose, so I suppose that makes me a bit biased as well.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story of Ike
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. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bernard Barbe
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
I have no doubt the two volume bio deserve the praise, but sadly this compilation is seriously lacking. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2011 by Yanick Dube
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive work on Eisenhower
If you are only going to read one biography about Eisenhower, this one-volume version by Stephen Ambrose is the one to choose. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by A. Staggers
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Ike
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. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003 by Seth J. Frantzman
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 25 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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