The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s

William I. Hitchcock. Simon & Schuster, $35 (672p) ISBN 978-1-4391-7566-8
Hitchcock (The Bitter Road to Freedom), professor of history at the University of Virginia, challenges the image of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a “lightweight” and “amateur” president in this comprehensive and persuasive revisionist biography. He uses fresh documentary evidence to describe Eisenhower as “a model of loyalty, dignity, and decency” who “worked wholeheartedly and passionately for the good of his country” in domestic and international contexts. Hitchcock dubs Eisenhower’s 1952 election “a brilliant political conjuring trick” for his posing as an outsider despite the fact that he was a consummate insider. Ike’s domestic policies were informed by a “middle way” of humanely addressing social problems “within a framework of fiscal restraint, moral rectitude, and a scrupulous observance of states’ rights.” Hitchcock demonstrates how Eisenhower sidestepped McCarthyism and structured a cautious approach to civil rights and explains that Eisenhower eventually “did act, and decisively, to advance the progress of civil rights.” Explained in vivid detail, Eisenhower’s Cold War strategy was based on deterrence and intimidation, using economics, diplomacy, and above all nuclear deterrence to structure systemic resistance to Soviet provocation and expansion. Hitchcock argues that Eisenhower’s presidency is notable for its “Great Power stability and the absence of large-scale conflict,” and the author succeeds in positioning Ike as a world-historical figure. Agent: Susan Rabiner, Susan Rabiner Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/18/2017
Release date: 03/20/2018
Downloadable Audio - 672 pages - 978-1-5082-5447-8
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