cover image Eisenhower


Geoffrey Perret. Random House (NY), $35 (704pp) ISBN 978-0-375-50046-6

Breaking no new ground in the way of facts or interpretation, Perret (Old Soldiers Never Die; Ulysses S. Grant) nevertheless provides a useful, generally efficient summary of Ike's long and multifaceted life--albeit one devoid of critical judgments and one that is stronger on Ike's military career than on his political career. Evidently an ardent fan of the warrior-president, Perret fails to give adequate scrutiny to such troubling events as Eisenhower's well-known abandonment of his old friend George Marshall during the McCarthy era, or his key role in fostering the plan for the ill-starred Bay of Pigs invasion, put into effect so disastrously by Kennedy--whom he despised--once Ike had left office. Perret is strong in portraying all aspects of Eisenhower in his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII. The author is particularly good at depicting Ike's intense, sometimes tense relationships with British Field Marshall Montgomery and President Roosevelt, as well as with his own wife, Mamie, who tried but failed to get the general to assure their son John safe duty away from combat--something neither father nor son thought proper. What the book lacks as a presidential biography, it makes up for as the biography of a great military leader. (Oct.)