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Extended Audio Sample Eisenhower: The White House Years, by Jim Newton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (166 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Newton Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Newly discovered and declassified documents make for a surprising and revealing portrait of the president we thought we knew.

America’s thirty-fourth president was belittled by his critics as the babysitter-in-chief. This new look reveals how wrong they were. Dwight Eisenhower was bequeathed the atomic bomb and refused to use it. He ground down Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism until both became, as he said, "McCarthywasm." He stimulated the economy to lift it from recession, built an interstate highway system, turned an $8 billion deficit in 1953 into a $500 million surplus in 1960. (Ike was the last President until Bill Clinton to leave his country in the black.) 

The President Eisenhower of popular imagination is a benign figure, armed with a putter, a winning smile, and little else. The Eisenhower of veteran journalist Jim Newton's rendering is shrewd, sentimental, and tempestuous. He mourned the death of his first son and doted on his grandchildren but could, one aide recalled, "peel the varnish off a desk" with his temper. Mocked asshallow and inarticulate, he was in fact a meticulous manager. Admired as a general, he was a champion of peace. In Korea and Vietnam, in Quemoy and Berlin, his generals urged him to wage nuclear war. Time and again he considered the idea and rejected it. And it was Eisenhower who appointed the liberal justices Earl Warren and William Brennan and who then called in the military to enforce desegregation in the schools.

Rare interviews, newly discovered records, and fresh insights undergird this gripping and timely narrative.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tom | 2/1/2014

    " This is the fourth book that I've read about "Ike" and it confirms what I've thought after reading the others . . . a great president and a great man (see his definition of great in the book, he didn't think he measured up). Ended the Korean War, began the interstate highway system, balance the budget, peace during his administration. Nixon performed admirably at he times of Ike's 2 heart attacks and a minor stroke. A "centrist", believed in finding a middle ground, a balanced solution. Finally, would never put party alliances before country, boy don't we need that in Washington now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jack | 1/28/2014

    " Very good. People seem to be looking back more fondly at the Eisenhower presidency because of the frustrations moderates are having with more recent Republican presidents. This books offers a positive take on Ike, particularly focusing on Ike's desire to find balance between the left and right. This balance often worked well, particularly in dealing with foreign policy and the issue of nuclear weapons use, and in dealing with domestic budgetary issues. However, Newton does not shy away from pointing out Ike's massive errors of moderation in discussing race issues, and in allowing for some foreign policy fiascos. All in all, it seems to me that America is better off for having Ike as president for 8 years, particularly when compared to some of his rivals (Taft, McArther, Stevenson, eg). But again, he could have been MUCH better. Too many people, in no small part because of Ike's moderation, never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams in a society of equality. We are definitely lucky when it came to nuclear weapons and strategies considered with their existence in mind: as with JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis, human civilization probably owes no small amount of thanks to Ike for keeping calm and carrying on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by David R. | 12/12/2013

    " There are many biographical treatments of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Newton's is a solid contender. But it has its shortcomings. This narrative is organized largely on a chronological basis and touches on each major incident as they occurred. There is frustratingly little material on some (the McCarthy controversies, the Suez crisis, etc.) and begs the question on two Eisenhower management styles. One of these is the proclivity "Ike" had for managing his presidency like a military operation. Newton simply glosses over Eisenhower's frictions with independently elected politicians that he couldn't order about. The other was Eisenhower's almost sneering disdain for others seeking the presidency (or holding it: Truman). Newton makes note of this, especially as Eisenhower casually and unthinkingly threw his own heir (Nixon) under the bus, but never does Newton really focus on this hubris. I do believe Newton gave appropriate weight to Eisenhower's shrewd and wise judgment on matters of foreign policy, but then he rushes past that president's domestic policies that by and large were mishandled, chief among them civil rights and the economy (which crashed in 1958-59.) This work was a good start, but so much more needed to be said and studied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joshua Fein | 12/12/2013

    " Jim Newton comes out of the gate with his fantastic biography on Earl Warren with an equally well written book on President Eisenhower. A president for a lot of people think was as dull as dishwater. Newton does a really good job highlighting the politics of the time which like many things from the past become a lot more fascinating once you look into them. "

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