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EISENHOWER, THE PRESIDENT by Merlo J. Pusey Kirkus Star



Publisher: Macmillan

Merlo Pusey's biography of Charles Evans Hughes, back in 1951, established him as a biographer of far more than sound journalistic ability. The challenge is even greater here, for this -- in 1956-could well have been first and foremost a campaign document. As it is, however, it will stand- whether or not President Eisenhower seeks a second term- as a rounded appraisal of the man in the presidency. Small space is given to the years leading up to this role, except in so far as they equipped him for world leadership. But Mr. Eisenhower emerges full stature, courageous, dedicated, unimpeachable in his honesty, addressing himself during these four years to the major issues of the day. The strength of the book lies in the recognition of failure and shortcomings as well as successes, in pinpointing the errors of judgment and handling, whether in foreign policy (the Near East and Southeast Asia specifically) or domestic (certain aspects of the handling of the TVA and Dixon-Yates issue, shortcomings in the security program, the farm program). But Pusey feels, indubitably, that success outweighs failure; that major goals have at least been approached; that Eisenhower has already emerged as a ""smooth working executive and a supersalesman"". His skill in managing Congress, the elaborate organization of White House lobbyists, have produced cooperation, where opposition might have been expected. Pusey defends some of the criticized moves much as the submerged land issue results, the long range view on peacetime farming. He seen Eisenhower as not a spectacular Chief Executive, nor one with many innovations, but one who has kept a finger on the public pulse and created an atmosphere for stability at home and abroad. The writer devotes sufficient attention to the men of Eisenhower's team so as to set the picture, and here again he is measured in praise and blame. The emerging portrait is one that should stand up against the verdict of time. And it makes challenging reading for the opposition as well as heartening reading for the advocates.