LETTERS TO MAMIE by John S. D.--Ed. Eisenhower


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Ike's WW II letters to Mamie--some 319 sent while he was Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe--are models of blandness and family devotion. Heavily self-censored, they are--to Eisenhower's often expressed frustration--devoid of ""news value"" and consequently have a peculiar disembodied character. He writes about his Scotty pup, about the tedium of an obligatory social calendar; he pays obeisance to birthdays, to Christmas. The news that he's been elected to the Rotary Club of Abilene, Kansas, is hot stuff. As edited here by the Eisenhower's son ""Johnny""--a West Point cadet and later a second lieutenant during these exchanges--they mask the notion of an affair with Kay Summersby. Ike's dispatches home are embarrassingly full of ""loads and loads of love,"" of pleas for Mamie to ""read between the lines""--he seems to have been acutely aware of his limited emotional range--and daydreams of their (quiet) life together when they had ""licked the Hun."" The war itself he finds horrible (""Boy, I will be glad when this is all over"") and for all the onerous responsibilities of command, Ike's letters to his wife can only reinforce the sense of his candid, ingenuous nature. John Eisenhower supplies the connecting narrative of military events--the stupendous backdrop--against which the family news was exchanged with a minimum of drama and a great deal of boyish sentiment.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday