The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952–1961

Irwin F. Gellman. Yale Univ, $40 (832p) ISBN 978-0-300-18105-0
This gargantuan tome from Gellman (The Contender) is an avowed revisionist history of its subject, a brief for the Eisenhower-Nixon defense that takes on the many historians who rate the two men poorly. Striking at the “lingering mythology” and “unsubstantiated argument” that Ike and Nixon didn’t get along, that the general ignored his vice president, and that Nixon secretly saw a psychotherapist, Gellman does his best to rehabilitate Nixon and along the way further Ike’s rise in presidential rankings. He succeeds surprisingly well. While his take on the two men sometimes approaches a whitewash, the two presidents’ detractors will have a tough challenge responding to Gellman’s spirited book. Part of its strength lies in the author’s efforts to make Eisenhower more liberal and engaged than he’s often depicted to be. For instance, Gellman credits Ike with ending Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist reign of terror and Ike, not Truman, with desegregating the military. But for all the book’s revisionist energy, it lacks art. Wearying, unnuanced declarative sentences march across the page without interruption or much variety, and too many details obscure Gellman’s arguments. Nevertheless, this is an important work, and one sure to cause controversy. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/08/2015
Release date: 07/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 816 pages - 978-0-300-18225-5
Paperback - 816 pages - 978-0-300-22352-1
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