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Ike: An American Hero (2007)

de Michael Korda

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489950,854 (4.17)13
This biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower places particular emphasis on his brilliant generalship and leadership in World War II, and provides, with the advantage of hindsight, a far more acute analysis of his character and personality than any previously available, reaching the conclusion that he was perhaps America's greatest general and one of America's best presidents. The book starts with the story of D-Day--it was Ike's plan, Ike's decision, Ike's responsibility. But there is more to this book than military history. It is a full biography of a remarkable man, a late starter, a perfectionist, a brilliant leader of men, behind whose easy-going, affable persona was a very different man, fiercely ambitious, hot-tempered, shrewd, and tightly wound. 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.--From publisher description.… (mais)
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Got this book from my mom from the CCHS library. Read in the winter of 2023 (most of it during my trip to Norfolk, VA). This was by far the most reading I have done on President Eisenhower so it was a very interesting an informative read. I read this right after completing the Last Lion trilogy, so this expanded on my knowledge of WWII in Europe. I gained a great deal of respect for Ike's leadership style throughout his entire career in the Army and as president. His devotion to duty combined with his humility enabled him to focus on his ever challenging work, most notably his role as Supreme Commander in Europe, and prevented him from being focused on his own individual exploits and ego. Probably not the best book about Ike, but one that I had on the shelf for free and was able to read pretty quickly.
1 vote SDWets | Mar 19, 2023 |
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Ike by Michael Korda
Ike: An American Hero
by Michael Korda
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Read in October 2021
So I just finished, Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda. A cradle to grave biography that came in under 700 pages. Good not great but definitely worth the time to read.

My biggest complaint about the book is how superficially he dealt with aspects of Ike’s life, specifically his presidency. The topic covered in greatest detail is his military service specifically from between the World Wars and World War II, but even here I would coverage of his service as inconsistent and shallow.

As previously stated a good not a great book I would recommend reading Eisenhower’s memoirs Crusade in Europe and Carlo D’Este’s Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life first. ( )
  dsha67 | Oct 23, 2021 |
When Dwight D. Eisenhower was made supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe in 1943, it was not an inflated title. He was handed, in fact, "supreme command." When it came to questions about the D-Day invasion and countless other military and even political matters until the end of World War II, he alone made the decisions. Neither Presidents Roosevelt and later Truman nor George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff, could tell him what to do. The same went for Prime Minister Winston Churchill and those generals who had more stars on their shoulders than he did.

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but as Michael Korda tells the story in "Ike: An American Hero," Eisenhower not only remained uncorrupted, but in most instances made the correct choices. That was why the American people later elected him to two terms as president, an office that arguably had less power than what was thrust on him during the war. And here, too, according to Korda, Ike mostly made the right calls. Had John F. Kennedy followed Eisenhower's advice, America would have avoided both the Bay of Pigs disaster and the Vietnam War, Korda says.

As a career Army officer -- he attended West Point only because it offered a free college education -- Ike seemed to handle every assignment with skill and dedication. During World War I, although he wished to be sent to the front, he was so successful at training recruits that the Army kept him where he was. Between wars he served under Douglas MacArthur and others, getting an education in how to command when the opportunity presented itself, as it did when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. went to war again.

Korda writes that the choice of Eisenhower as supreme commander over other generals who outranked him "was perhaps the Allies' most singular piece of good fortune in World War II." Not just a skilled commander, Ike had the ability to get along with just about everybody (including Josef Stalin). British Gen. Bernard Montgomery gave him endless problems, thinking himself the better general, but somehow Eisenhower was able to manage him and, when necessary, prod him into action.

Although this biography is full of praise for Ike, Korda stops short of giving him credit for actually planning the D-Day invasion, as other biographers have done. Montgomery claimed the credit for himself. In fact, says Korda, both Eisenhower and Montgomery just made a few changes to the plan drawn up by Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan, who had worked on an invasion plan since 1941 and deserves more credit than history has given him.

Korda, who was born and raised in England, focuses mostly on Eisenhower's military career. Just two of 20 chapters are devoted to the White House Years. He covers a lot of ground in those two chapters, however.

Korda seems to throw the word hero around a lot. He has also written "Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlike Hero" and "Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia." Yet most of the rest of us tend to restrict the word to fictional creations, especially the larger-than-life variety who wear capes. This Eisenhower biography reminds us that sometimes, however rarely, real people live lives deserving of the word. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Mar 4, 2013 |
This is an analysis character, where it comes from, how it effects decisions. He shows thaat Ike was smart, but capable of always learning more, that he was able to put the long term goals of an operation above immediate results. The book concentrates on Ike's early life and his military career. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Jul 14, 2012 |
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This biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower places particular emphasis on his brilliant generalship and leadership in World War II, and provides, with the advantage of hindsight, a far more acute analysis of his character and personality than any previously available, reaching the conclusion that he was perhaps America's greatest general and one of America's best presidents. The book starts with the story of D-Day--it was Ike's plan, Ike's decision, Ike's responsibility. But there is more to this book than military history. It is a full biography of a remarkable man, a late starter, a perfectionist, a brilliant leader of men, behind whose easy-going, affable persona was a very different man, fiercely ambitious, hot-tempered, shrewd, and tightly wound. 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.--From publisher description.

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