THE EISENHOWER DIARIES by Dwight D. Eisenhower


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To many, it will be news that Eisenhower kept a diary--or notations of events--relatively consistently from 1935 to his death. But then the continuing spate of Eisenhower-related publications is radically altering the traditional view of an easygoing, unreflective (if not-quite-dumb) Ike; and this volume will be an eye-opener, particularly, to those who read his own sanitized memoirs. (Not a word on Kay Summersby, however, and only passing mention of Mamie.) In his own words, he had to be pushed into going after the presidency: ""I have formed [a conviction], which is that no denial of political ambition will ever be believed by a politician, unless the disclaimer is so old he is tottering rapidly to the grave. In this case the refusal would not be a denial of ambition, merely an expression of regret."" Of MacArthur he writes, after the fall of Corregidor: ""General MacArthur's tirades, to which I too often listened in Manila, would now sound as silly to the public as they did then to us. But he's a hero! Yah."" The quips aside (and there are many, on others), the diaries provide a wholly fresh sense of Eisenhower's intelligence and political sophistication. In the Forties and early Fifties he writes sensibly on Lenin and the contradictions Of capitalism, presciently on the importance of consensus for American politics. (Certain omissions are conspicuous too--like McCarthy, and especially his attack on Marshall.) No revelations overall, but much illumination and not a little entertainment--adequately linked by editor Ferrell's pedestrian commentary.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1981
ISBN: 0393331806
Publisher: Norton