Academic journal article Military Review

Eisenhower

Academic journal article Military Review

Eisenhower

Article excerpt

EISENHOWER, Geoffrey Peter, Random House, New York, 1999, 685 pages, $35.00.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower has long been a favorite of biographers. He is perceived as a hero and a good president. Geoffrey Perret does Eisenhower justice without succumbing entirely to the legend.

Eisenhower certainly achieved legendary status in his own lifetime, but not without critics. Some men who are perceived as great during their lifetimes fade in reputation once they pass from the scene. Others grow in stature. Eisenhower's fame has passed through these stages. He was a respected general, beloved president and a leader in crisis. He was esteemed as a military hero but reviled by scholars. Not surprisingly, there are few objective views of Eisenhower.

Perret's Eisenhower emerges as a real man with all of a real man's foibles. Perret makes no claim that Eisenhower was a brilliant general or a brilliant president. Instead, he portrays Eisenhower as a good theater commander and a good and active president.

Eisenhower was self-effacing but possessed an enormous ego, which is not surprising to those of us who have served with senior officers. He had a sense of who he was and the import of his position, yet he tried to remain "Ike" of Abilene, Kansas. Perret ably navigates the rocks and shoals of this complex yet uncomplicated man's life. …

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