EISENHOWER by Arthur Larson


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The image of the good, gray general as president here gets a facelifting. Larson, who was Ike's Ted Soreusen speech writer and special assistant-remains a loyal, liberal Republican. Unlike Eisenhower's other speech writer Emmet Hughes (Ordeal of Power, 1963), Larson finds very little fault with the Eisenhower principles, policies, or personality. He neatly sidesteps criticism of Eisenhower as a do-nothing president by pointing out his uses and intentional non-uses of power. He terms the president an internationalist who wherever possible shouted: ""Do it through the UN."" On the other hand, Eisenhower--not Dulles, not Adams, not Nixon ""did produce the results that were most desired by himself and the American people: one war terminated, no further wars started, and not an acre of land lost to Communist aggression in eight years."" Mainly to retain his credibility as a witness, Larson (half-heartedly) scores Eisenhower's inability to build up the Republican party and his conservative attitude toward civil rights-but notes that though Eisenhower didn't necessarily agree with the Supreme Court decision he sent troops to Alabama to implement school integration. The current Eisenhower revival (even Murray Kempton thinks he was ""underrated"") probably owes much to dismay with the Johnson Administration. Contemporary discord evokes nostalgia for those quiet Eisenhower years. Larson marshals much evidence, insight, and opinion. In his view, nearly always Ike was right.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Scribners