EISENHOWER THE PRESIDENT: Crucial Days: 1951-1960 by

EISENHOWER THE PRESIDENT: Crucial Days: 1951-1960

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Ewald, a onetime Eisenhower speechwriter who also helped with his memoirs, offers an off-and-on mishmash of insider stuff in a strained, gimmicky format: each chapter is keyed to a crucial day in an episode which, to Ewald, illustrates some salient Eisenhower role or trait. (E.g., ""April 26, 1954: Ally"": Eisenhower does not rescue the French at Dien Bien Phu because the US should fight only ""with others"" and ""in a just cause."") If one can disregard the format, however, and Ewald's bald attempts to establish Eisenhower's greatness, one can find some interesting personal material--on Ewald's introduction to White House speechwriting (and the brass-knuckles vs. empyrean contributions of Bryce Harlow and Kevin McCann); on the various methods of note-taking in use--including covert Oval-Office taping; on the administration's ""restless intellectuals"" (Ewald was a Harvard grad and a classical pianist), especially flinty, upright, compromised Sherman Adams--met in a wry, unbitter interview. It's too bad, too, that Ewald didn't hook up his accounts with others' and provide some documentation. He does apparently have new information on the steps leading up to Eisenhower's nomination; his story of Eisenhower, the Nixon slush fund, and the Checkers speech, while not the revelation he suggests, adds detail to the record; his background on the Warren Supreme Court nomination (stemming from a convention promise) is not common knowledge--and neither is Ike's consideration of Frank Lausche, Ohio's conservative Democratic governor, for the 1956 V-P nomination. On the apologia side, he has an amplified account of Ike's agreement to delete the favorable reference to Marshall, McCarthy's recent target, from his Wisconsin campaign speech; in the realm of outright defense, he deems it impossible that Eisenhower ordered the assassination of Lumumba (though there might have been a ""misunderstanding""). Some hot spots, then, as well as a good deal of warm air.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1981
Publisher: Prentice-Hall