An American Hero

Book - 2007
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A big, ambitious, and enthralling new biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, full of fascinating details and anecdotes, which places particular emphasis on his brilliant generalship and leadership in World War Two, and provides, with the advantage of hindsight, a far more acute analysis of his character and personality than any that has previously been available, reaching the conclusion that he was perhaps America's greatest general and one of America's best presidents, a man who won the war and thereafter kept the peace.

IKE starts with the story of D-Day, the most critical moment in America's history. It was Hitler's last chance to win the war -- he had the means to destroy the troops on the beaches, but he failed to react quickly enough. The one man who would have reacted quickly and decisively had he been on the spot, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was home on leave and didn't arrive back at his headquarters until it was too late. It was Ike's plan, Ike's decision, Ike's responsibility. He alone, among all the Allied generals, could win or lose the war in one day, and knew it.

But of course there is more to this book than military history. It is a full biography of a remarkable man, ambitious, a late starter, a brilliant leader of men and perhaps the only American general who could command such a difficult coalition, and win the respect of not only his own soldiers, but also those of Great Britain and France, and lead them to a triumphant victory.

It is also the story of a remarkable family. Ike grew up in Abilene, Kansas, and the Eisenhowers were Mennonites, who, like the Amish, were deeply committed pacifists, so it is ironic that he went to West Point and became a general, to his mother's horror. It is as well the portrait of a tumultuous and often difficult marriage, for Mamie was every bit as stubborn and forceful as her husband, and it was by no means the sunny, happy marriage that Republican publicists presented to the public when Ike made his first moves towards the presidency.

Indeed, behind Ike's big grin and the easy-going, affable personality he liked to project was a very different man, fiercely ambitious, hot-tempered, shrewd, and tightly wound. He was a perfectionist for whom duty always came first, and a man of immense ability. In 1941 he was a soldier who was still an unknown and recently promoted colonel, and just two years later he was a four-star general who had commanded the biggest and most successful amphibious operation in history -- TORCH, the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa. He commanded respect and was dealt as an equal with such world figures as President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Charles De Gaulle.

Publisher: New York :, HarperCollins ;, Enfield :, Publishers Group UK [distributor],, 2007.
ISBN: 9780060756659
Branch Call Number: 973.921092 E363K
Characteristics: pages cm


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Corey G Brooks Jan 29, 2015

This book written, by Michael Korda is now a, justifiably depicted, footing for my work on WWII, as well as my ideas on it.The author Michael Korda depicted that the book would put one in a minstate of WWII, thereby leavening me to take the '08 GOP canidate John Mccain's advice (which I found in the USA today life section), and read "Killing Patton, by Bill O' Reily and Martin Dugard".

Mar 04, 2014

Really liked it. A very good biography.

Jun 16, 2013

Enjoyable to read biography of Dwight Eisenhower. The author is able to add many human touches to the biography which does not bog down. The main focus of this biography is WWII. Recommended for anyone who enjoys history.

Sep 28, 2010

Familiar with the wriitng of Michael Korda, I found this Biography of Presidient Eisenhower to be a very comnfortable read. Although Mr Korda Korda did not dwell at length on Ike's preidency, he captured the essentials of those 8 years.

He paints a picture of a gifted leader, a man who made the most out of situations his career placed him in. Learning all he could from Fox Conner his commander while stationed in the Panama Canal Zone gave EIsenhower the advanced training he would use thorughout his career. Sure Ike had some lucky breaks - studying dramatics, as he called it, under McArthur but he had the best training for the many command roles - Supreeme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe where he had to work at keeping his team of commanders in check.

It comes as no surprise that as president Eisenhower used all his previously acquired skills to negotiate the minefields of the early days of the cold war.

As a kid I remember my parents discussing Ike and it always seemed he was playing golf. What astomnished me reading this book was the amount of work Ike did in office. He certainly didn't want to be engaged in Viet Nam. I wonder what he would say about Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ike was no angel it seems with his close ambiguous relationship with Kay Summersby but as Korda says there is no evidence of nothing more than affection for a subordinate who made the daily grind as Supreme Commander, a little less irksome.

Korda's style is pleasant reading. He knows his subject well (at times admires Ike a but too much) and expresses himself with candor and grace. He also draws your attention to other books that cover the subject in more detail.

Unfortunately l;ike many books being published these days, there are a host of typographical errors that I find irksome. I guess proof-reading is too expensive for publishers to engage in any more. But it means you have to put on your editor's cap (A job I have done over the years) to get the sense of some sentences.


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