Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Characterizing Dwight Eisenhower as an American with a 'big grin' and 'long-limbed, loose American way of walking,' this smitten biography demonstrates his heroism by dwelling on his World War II record as commander of Allied armies in Europe. Korda (Ulysses S. Grant) defends 'the people's general' against criticisms leveled by subordinates and historians (Eisenhower's presidency flits by in an admiring 64 pages), but for all his fulsome comparisons of Eisenhower to Napoleon and Grant, the author's case is weak. Korda's approving gloss on Ike's 'broad front' approach directing 'all the Allied armies to engage the enemy at every point... until superior numbers inevitably ground the Germans down' because 'he did not think a single, clever stroke would do it' makes Eisenhower sound like a terrible strategist. At best, Ike comes off as a competent diplomat-in-arms, enabling egomaniacs like Churchill, De Gaulle, Montgomery and Patton to cooperate, and soothing wife Mamie's anxieties over his glamorous secretary. Unfortunately, Eisenhower's self-effacing affability in this role means his story is usually upstaged by the colorful prima donnas around him. A more critical analysis might have made for a more interesting biography. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] sweeping, crisply written account....Academics may dismiss Ike: An American Hero as popular history, but most others will read with pleasure a great American story, well told." Wall St. Journal
"[S]killfully written and thoroughly researched....Eisenhower was not a genius like Einstein or Shakespeare, but his humble virtues seem as rare and necessary today as ever. If the man from Abilene was easy to like, so is Korda's terrific biography." Christian Science Monitor
"Based on comparatively few, although excellent, published sources, this book is not an addition to scholarship. But it is a fresh and engaging characterization. It is enhanced by the author's clear sympathy for his subject, international perspective and charming, urbane style." The Washington Post Book World
"[Korda] cites David McCullough's biographies of Harry S. Truman and John Adams. His gorgeously written and propulsive Ike is clearly in their company, even if it doesn't rise to the heights of the peak of the form..." Chicago Sun-Times
"[A] good, but not great, book. It offers context, not revelations. It's built more on published materials than original research. In terms of style, Ike is a pleasure to read." USA Today
"Two special strengths of the biography are Korda's attention to detail in the heat of battle and his attention to Ike's only wife, Mamie. For readers not enamored with military strategy, it is permissible to skip pages at a stretch without losing the book's overall narrative thread." Denver Post
"[A]lternately engaging and frustrating more likely to whet than satisfy the reasonably serious appetite....Korda's book is nonetheless a reliable, nicely readable introduction for those who know nothing of Eisenhower and a good refresher for those who have studied only parts of his brilliant, admirable career." Los Angeles Times
In the first major single-volume biography of a unique American hero, New York Times bestselling author Korda presents a frank, ambitious, and enthralling book that explores the life and times of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Is this man the real reason the Vietnam War was lost? How did he get there, why did he fail, and how did he last so long? Unless and until we understand General William Westmoreland, we will never understand what happened to us in Vietnam, or why. An Eagle Scout at fifteen, First Captain of his West Point class, Westmoreland fought in World War II and Korea, rising rapidly to command the 101st Airborne Division and become Superintendent at West Point, then was chosen to lead the war effort in Vietnam. That turned out to be a disaster. He failed to understand a complex war, choosing a flawed strategy, sticking to it in the face of all opposition, and misrepresenting the results when truth mattered most. In so doing he squandered four years of support by Congress, much of the media, and the American people. The tragedy of William Westmoreland provides lessons not just for Vietnam, but for Americaand#8217;s future military and political leadership. Lewis Sorleyand#8217;s definitive portrait is essential reading.
A biography of Vietnam general William Westmoreland by the author of A BETTER WAR.
is a great book, a classic by an author who knows his subject well and tells the story without hesitation.and#8221; and#8212; General Donn A. Starry, U.S. Army (ret.), Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command (1977and#8211;1981)
Is it possible that the riddle of Americaand#8217;s military failure in Vietnam has a one-word, one-man answer?
Unless and until we understand General William Westmoreland, we will never understand what went wrong in Vietnam. An Eagle Scout at fifteen, First Captain of his West Point class, Westmoreland fought in two wars and became Superintendent at West Point. Then he was chosen to lead the war effort in Vietnam for four crucial years.
He proved a disaster. He could not think creatively about unconventional warfare, chose an unavailing strategy, stuck to it in the face of all opposition, and stood accused of fudging the results when it mattered most. In this definitive portrait, Lewis Sorley makes a plausible case that the war could have been won were it not for Westmoreland. The tragedy of William Westmoreland carries lessons not just for Vietnam, but for the future of American leadership.
Westmoreland is essential reading from a masterly historian.
About the Author
Lewis Sorley is a third-generation graduate of the United States Military Academy who also holds a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. He served in Vietnam, and in the Pentagon in the offices of Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger and Army Chief of Staff General William C. Westmoreland. He also taught at West Point and the Army War College.andnbsp;He is the author of five highly-regarded works of military history.
Table of Contents
3.and#160;WORLD WAR IIand#160;14
5.and#160;JAPAN AND KOREAand#160;31
11.and#160;SEARCH AND DESTROYand#160;91
16.and#160;ORDER OF BATTLEand#160;159
21.and#160;CHIEF OF STAFFand#160;206
22.and#160;SHAPING THE RECORDand#160;225
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviationsand#160;310