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 ageneral, 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.
"This is a terrific book, lively and brisk, and surprisingly interesting. How could this deeply flawed, limited man rise so high in the U.S. Army? This will be the definitive book on Westmoreland, and a must read for anyone who tries to understand the Vietnam War."
-Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Gamble
" Lewis Sorley's brilliant portrait of General Westmoreland helps us understand why our war lasted so long and ended as it did. This is biography at its finest."
- Bui Diem, South Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States (1967-1972)
"A riveting history of how ambition corrupted soldierly virtues and led to slyness, hubris and national disaster. A scorching indictment of how generals covered up for each other." -Bing West, author of THE WRONG WAR: Grit, Strategy, and the Way Out of Afghanistan "To understand the Vietnam War in its totality one must logically try to understand General Westmoreland. Dr. Lewis Sorley has made an enormous contribution by revealing General Westmorelands complex personality and the role it played in U.S. foreign policy." -Melvin R. Laird, former Secretary of Defense and nine-term Member of Congress "Reaching beyond the surface to penetrate the enigma of General William C. Westmoreland, Lewis Sorley gathers the recollections of Westys Army colleagues, the mans personal papers, and official records to tell the story of a general who has remained opaque despite the many debates over his role in the Vietnam war. Eye-opening and sometimes maddening, Sorleys Westmoreland is not to be missed." -John Prados, author of Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War
Ike is acclaimed author Michael Korda's sweeping and enthralling biography of Dwight David Eisenhower, arguably America's greatest general and one of her best presidents—a remarkable man in an extraordinary time, the hero who won the war and thereafter kept the peace.
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.” — General Donn A. Starry, U.S. Army (ret.), Commander, Army Training and Doctrine Command (1977-1981)
Is it possible that the riddle of Americas 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. He is the author of five highly-regarded works of military history.
Table of Contents
1. ORIGINS 1
2. EARLY SERVICE 9
3. WORLD WAR II 14
4. AIRBORNE DUTY 25
5. JAPAN AND KOREA 31
6. PENTAGON 41
7. DIVISION COMMAND 48
8. SUPERINTENDENT 56
9. VIETNAM 65
10. FORCES BUILDUP 77
11. SEARCH AND DESTROY 91
12. ATMOSPHERICS 108
13. BODY COUNT 121
14. M-16 RIFLES 131
15. PROGRESS OFFENSIVE 143
16. ORDER OF BATTLE 159
17. KHE SANH 168
18. TET 1968 174
19. TROOP REQUEST 189
20. HEADING HOME 198
21. CHIEF OF STAFF 206
22. SHAPING THE RECORD 225
23. VOLUNTEER ARMY 233
24. VIETNAM DRAWDOWN 241
25. DEPARTURE 247
26. IN RETIREMENT 251
27. MEMOIRS 259
28. CAMPAIGNER 267
29. PLAINTIFF 278
30. DUSK 295
Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations 310
Selected Bibliography 356