WAGING PEACE by Dwight D. Eisenhower


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Now that the factual recital of my eight years in the Presidency is completed, I may in a questioning mood indulge for a while in the luxury of hindsight,"" says Eisenhower in the closing section of his memoirs. It is the key to what has come before, as in plain schoolboy prose he makes his official report of day by day duty, at the executive front. For in this record of the White House Years from 1956, when the coincidence of the Suez crisis, the Hungarian revolution, and campaign brought ""the most crowded and demanding weeks of my entire Presidency,"" through the years of service to 1961 and retirement, there is only the minimum of personal interpretation. The years encompass such major matters as the U-2 Affair, a Berlin ""crisis,"" monetary problems, Civil Rights legislation, presidential election, the birth of the Bay of Pigs invasion; they include dealings with such men as Sherman Adams, Richard Nixon, Harold Macmillan, Charles de Gaulle and Nikita Khrushchev. ""Waging Peace"" means, one must assume, the pursuit of that state which is the opposite of war with the same passion with which one fights for military victory. This catch-phrase might, upon first hearing, conjure up a vision of the militant pacifist, but a sustained reading of any of portion of this long volume will leave the picture of the passive militarist. If there is an irony larger than the plight of the General who became the willing aid to assistants who ran the country like a county bank, it is that after eight years of paddling around in the wading pool of language, he left us with a mild speech about the military-industrial complex. Alas, the Old Soldier who once soundly defeated the forces of Fascism has written as many words as he once commanded men to defend the second four years of his incumbency. Yet for all its length it is dismayingly short on insights or inspiration or intellect. But such is the perverse mystique we Americans have for a paper president we can call our own that were this volume printed on papyrus and signed Millard Fillmore, we would awaken one Sunday morning to find his book making the ascent up the Best Seller List. The author of Waging Peace faces one of his easiest battles.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1965
Publisher: Doubleday