Eisenhower: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century/Dwight D. Eisenhower/Eisenhower between the Wars: The Making of a General Statesman

By Parker, Jay M. | Naval War College Review, Autumn 2003 | Go to article overview

Eisenhower: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century/Dwight D. Eisenhower/Eisenhower between the Wars: The Making of a General Statesman


Parker, Jay M., Naval War College Review


SUMMARIZING EISENHOWER

Kinnard, Douglas. Eisenhower: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2002. 112pp. $19.95

Wicker, Tom. Dwight D. Eisenhower. New York: Times Books, 2002. 158pp. $20

Holland, Matthew F. Eisenhower between the Wars: The Making of a General Statesman. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001.248pp. $64.95

I have written you a long letter because I do not have time to write you a short one.

-Biaise Paschal

Anyone who has ever written professionally, whether a novel or an interoffice memo, quickly acknowledges the accuracy of Paschal's statement. If this is the test of a good writer, it is even more pertinent when the subject is someone larger than life. Dwight D. Eisenhower's extraordinary achievements have filled volumes, some more adequate than others. Historians of great note have written hundreds of pages about brief segments of his eventful life. Now, three authors have attempted in comparatively slim volumes to define the essential experiences and achievements of one of the twentieth century's most notable figures.

Of the three books reviewed, Kinnard achieves this task to a greater degree than the other authors. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Kinnard's work. A true soldier-scholar, Kinnard has often achieved the near impossible task of being present for significant moments in history and later proving capable of writing about them with objectivity and careful scholarship. Originally a protege of General Maxwell Taylor, he went on in his post-Army career to carve a distinct niche in the scholarship on defense politics and national security. His earlier writings on the politics of defense policy in the Eisenhower years still rank among the seminal works on this subject. His classic The War Managers (Avery, 1985) is an invaluable addition to the civil-military literature of the Vietnam era. In Kinnard's latest study of Eisenhower (part of a Brassey's series on great military leaders), he best addresses Eisenhower's military leadership, with particular attention to his role as supreme allied commander in the Second World War. While he is clear in his praise for Eisenhower's diplomatic skill and his consistently keen grasp of the bigger strategic picture, Kinnard does not shrink from presenting criticism of Eisenhower's early failures, particularly in the North Africa campaign. A more thorough discussion of these events and the personalities that shaped them can certainly be found in larger volumes (most notably Carlo D'Estes's excellent biography Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life [Henry Holt, 2002]). However, for so thin a volume, Kinnard's book covers these topics extremely well.

Less satisfying, however, is his discussion of Eisenhower's road from Abilene to five stars. All the high points are there-the difficult childhood, the serendipitous opportunity to attend West Point, the long years of service in a small and resource-poor peacetime Army, and the important role played by his mentors Fox Connor and George Marshall. Yet among Eisenhower biographers there are two schools of thought on his early military career. One highlights an almost inevitable march through a succession of key jobs and successful mastery of important opportunities that culminated in his unchallenged appointment with destiny. The other presents a grim parade of brutal staff jobs for often ungrateful bosses (among them Douglas MacArthur) and the series of lucky breaks in what might have been considered the twilight of a mediocre career that led George Marshall to select Eisenhower for command in Europe. Kinnard seems to fall in with the former school of thought.

The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between, and it is difficult to play out important nuances in so short a book. The story of Eisenhower as presented here, however, might have been better served by balancing the great achievements with the hard knocks. For example, who would imagine that a junior officer could survive a court-martial and go on to five-star rank? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Eisenhower: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century/Dwight D. Eisenhower/Eisenhower between the Wars: The Making of a General Statesman
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.