“Eisenhower – The White House Years,” By Jim Newton
My summer reading relates mostly to a lot of murder mysteries, but I do try and include some history and current topics. I recently read, Eisenhower, The White House Years, by Jim Newton. In the past, I’ve read a lot of books about Eisenhower’s life, especially his commanding role in the Second World War. But, this is the first book I’ve read on his presidency. Like many, I remember his great smile, his love of golf and bridge, but I know little about his performance as President.
I did know that he was the author and promoter of the interstate highway system, which we enjoyed as we expanded our hotel business around the country. But I knew very little about Ike’s foreign policy challenges. When he was confronted with difficult world leaders, Ike’s military and foreign policy advisers seemed to constantly want to “nuke ‘em.” Whether it was a small bomb or a big one, there was constant pressure on the President to go nuclear.
Jim Newton said his military leaders pressured him to use nukes to end the Korean War, to save the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, to repel Chinese aggression against Taiwan or even Soviet threats to Taiwan. In all cases, he refused. He had seen the horrors of war and was not about to start another. His presidency was, therefore, marked by eight years of peace.
Author Newton wrote that Eisenhower had a strong belief in the free enterprise system. He did not believe that government should substitute for individual initiative. He was compassionate and served unbound by partisanship. He won approval of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, allowing black Americans the right to join our society. He was a much more active president in many areas than most people believed and left America more prosperous and free from war.
I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. Leave a comment and let me know what books you read this summer.
I’m Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.