IKE by Stephen E. Ambrose


Abilene to Berlin
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Ambrose was an editor of Dwight Eisenhower's collected military papers (The War Years, 1970) and thus is amply qualified for this informal assessment of his long, undramatic but deserved rise to command of a long, dogged, ultimately successful European campaign. The roots of Ike's strengths are traced to his Abilene boyhood and his late-found commitment to military science is attributed to the fatherly tutelage of General Fox Connor, who saw the makings of a leader in an officer whom his West Point superiors had considered "a not uncommon type." But Ambrose also blames the restricted world of Abilene and the monkish existence of a military man for Ike's chief fault -- ignorance, even indifference to political realities. This blind spot got Ike into trouble over the Darvan deal, but Ambrose, who devoted a whole book to the subject of Eisenhower and Berlin defends Ike's decision to allow the Red Army to reach Berlin first and gives a sympathetic but balanced history of his problems with Monty. In light of Ambrose's evaluation of Eisenhower's negative political acumen, it would be interesting to see how he views the Presidential Ike, but this is an engaging portrait of a man whose easygoing personality and unassuming devotion to duty Ambrose admires and successfully communicates.
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1973


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