The best Eisenhower books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Dwight D. Eisenhower and why they recommend each book.

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The Age of Eisenhower

By William Hitchcock,

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

After Eisenhower left office, he was routinely ranked in the bottom ten on the presidential rankings. Now, he’s regularly voted into the top five. This book helps explain why Eisenhower deserves to be at the top, why he left such an indelible mark on the nation, and why the second half of the 20th century was the age of Eisenhower. It’s also beautifully written and a joy to read.

The Age of Eisenhower

By William Hitchcock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Age of Eisenhower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, this is the "outstanding" (The Atlantic), insightful, and authoritative account of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency.

Drawing on newly declassified documents and thousands of pages of unpublished material, The Age of Eisenhower tells the story of a masterful president guiding the nation through the great crises of the 1950s, from McCarthyism and the Korean War through civil rights turmoil and Cold War conflicts. This is a portrait of a skilled leader who, despite his conservative inclinations, found a middle path through the bitter partisanship of his era. At home, Eisenhower affirmed the central elements of the New…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!


I wrote...

The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

By Lindsay M. Chervinsky,

Book cover of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

What is my book about?

The US Constitution never established a presidential cabinet―the delegates to the Constitutional Convention explicitly rejected the idea. So how did George Washington create one of the most powerful bodies in the federal government?

On November 26, 1791, George Washington convened his department secretaries for the first cabinet meeting. Faced with diplomatic crises, domestic insurrections, and constitutional challenges―and finding congressional help lacking―Washington decided he needed a group of advisors he could turn to. He modeled his new cabinet on the councils of war he had led as commander of the Continental Army. Lindsay M. Chervinsky reveals the far-reaching consequences of Washington’s choice.

Eisenhower

By Jim Newton,

Book cover of Eisenhower: The White House Years

This is a deft, economical, and readable biography of Eisenhower's years in the White House, when the Cold War was at its most tense and dangerous, and how it wasn't inevitable that it would stay cold. Eisenhower, in fact, it could be argued, put his stamp on the style and tenor of the Cold War like no other U. S. president.

Eisenhower

By Jim Newton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eisenhower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Newly discovered and declassified documents make for a surprising and revealing portrait of the president we thought we knew.

America’s thirty-fourth president was belittled by his critics as the babysitter-in-chief. This new look reveals how wrong they were. Dwight Eisenhower was bequeathed the atomic bomb and refused to use it. He ground down Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism until both became, as he said, "McCarthywasm." He stimulated the economy to lift it from recession, built an interstate highway system, turned an $8 billion deficit in 1953 into a $500 million surplus in 1960. (Ike was the last President until Bill Clinton…


Who am I?

I began my career as a foreign correspondent in Cold War Eastern Europe, under communist domination. I lived in Greece, a Cold War battleground, in the 1980s, from where I made regular forays into the Balkans and Central Europe. Those journeys left a vivid, lifelong impression on me.


I wrote...

In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond

By Robert D. Kaplan,

Book cover of In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond

What is my book about?

Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country—a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe.

In Europe’s Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making—the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more.

To Make Men Free

By Heather Cox Richardson,

Book cover of To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party

The political parties can be a bit confusing as the names Republican and Democratic have been around for centuries, but hardly resemble the original parties at their formation. To Make Men Free is the best overview of the Grand Old Party, its many evolutions, and its important role in American history. It is also my favorite of the many books written by famed historian Heather Cox Richardson. To Make Men Free would be a great gift for subscribers to Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American, or dads who are interested in politics.

To Make Men Free

By Heather Cox Richardson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Make Men Free as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Abraham Lincoln helped create the Republican Party on the eve of the Civil War, his goal was to promote economic opportunity for all Americans, not just the slaveholding Southern planters who steered national politics. Yet, despite the egalitarian dream at the heart of its founding, the Republican Party quickly became mired in a fundamental identity crisis. Would it be the party of democratic ideals? Or would it be the party of moneyed interests? In the century and a half since, Republicans have vacillated between these two poles, with dire economic, political, and moral repercussions for the entire nation.In To…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it; from the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history. I now make my career as a presidential historian, and I’m committed to sharing this history with a broad public audience in books, opinion editorials, podcasts, and other media. In my experience, most people find history fascinating if they can learn about it in an interesting way. That’s my goal with all my work and the goal of the books I’ve recommended below!


I wrote...

The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

By Lindsay M. Chervinsky,

Book cover of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

What is my book about?

The US Constitution never established a presidential cabinet―the delegates to the Constitutional Convention explicitly rejected the idea. So how did George Washington create one of the most powerful bodies in the federal government?

On November 26, 1791, George Washington convened his department secretaries for the first cabinet meeting. Faced with diplomatic crises, domestic insurrections, and constitutional challenges―and finding congressional help lacking―Washington decided he needed a group of advisors he could turn to. He modeled his new cabinet on the councils of war he had led as commander of the Continental Army. Lindsay M. Chervinsky reveals the far-reaching consequences of Washington’s choice.

Mamie Doud Eisenhower

By Marilyn Irvin Holt,

Book cover of Mamie Doud Eisenhower: The General's First Lady

Although the sections directly discussing Pat are limited, I found this book very useful. Holt offers a view of another presidential marriage that was contemporaneous and interactive with the Nixons. Mamie was a role model for Pat and Holt was one for me. Holt provided me with a roadmap for dealing with sensitive issues within a marriage and a presidency.

Mamie Doud Eisenhower

By Marilyn Irvin Holt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mamie Doud Eisenhower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was fitting for a soldier's wife to make curtains out of military-surplus parachutes. That they would hang in the White House made little difference. Mamie Doud Eisenhower was a president's wife who seemed to most Americans like the friend next door. She gave us ""Mamie pink"" and ""Mamie bangs"" but has stood in the shadows of first ladies who followed. Yet she accomplished more than even her own contemporaries noticed, and her popularity not only enhanced her husband's presidency but also put a distinctive stamp on the role of first lady. This first scholarly biography of Mamie Eisenhower draws…


Who am I?

I became a historian because I am nosy. I like to know what is going on in other people’s lives. I study politics because I am fascinated by power—who has it? How did they get it? I took up this project not knowing much about First Ladies or Pat Nixon. My quest to know more led to the correspondence between Pat and her closest friend. The letters in these files allowed me to hear Pat’s voice describe her life as a politician’s wife, as Second Lady, and as a regular citizen. I feel privileged to be able to share that with the world.


I wrote...

Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady

By Mary C. Brennan,

Book cover of Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady

What is my book about?

In 2003, I knew nothing about First Lady Pat Nixon except what I had seen on Saturday Night Live or read in Good Housekeeping. Then Kansas University Press invited me to write a book about her. What I learned over the course of the next years was that the woman the press dubbed “Plastic Pat” was smart and determined, with a wicked sense of humor. She might see the flaws in her family but would fight any outsider who noticed them. She could be tough as nails to the press who attacked her husband, but rarely failed to win over the hearts of people who met her in person. I did not always agree with her, but I came to respect her.

Five Presidents

By Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin Hill,

Book cover of Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

Clint Hill’s legacy is his courageous action in the presidential motorcade during the JFK assassination. His career and mine overlapped. We address events occurring during the same era but from different perspectives. His as a Secret Service Agent on protective details and mine as an FBI Agent investigating criminal cases and personally assisting J. Edgar Hoover who worked under eight presidents and sixteen attorneys general. Hill had to be politically correct under all circumstances while I could get away with a blurred PC often to solve a criminal case. At times, our observance of historic events varied—but again we viewed them relative to our positions.

Five Presidents

By Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Five Presidents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Kennedy and Me and Five Days in November reflects on his seventeen years in the Secret Service for presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
The assassination of one president, the resignation of another, and the swearing-in of the two who followed those traumatic events. Clint Hill was there, on duty, through Five Presidents.
After an extraordinary career as a Special Agent on the White House Detail, Clint Hill retired in 1975. His career spanned the administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and…


Who am I?

My entire fifty-year professional life has been dedicated to law and order, investigating crime and corruption at its highest levels in government and the private sector. I’ve worked on hundreds of cases together with local, state, and federal law enforcement. Also, internationally with Scotland Yard, GSG9, New South Wales, and the Soviet KGB. There is deep gratification in taking the “bad” guy off the street, protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I have a law degree and am an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law looking forward in contributing to winning the battle of “equality for all” in the justice system.


I wrote...

The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover

By Paul Letersky, Gordon L. Dillow,

Book cover of The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover

What is my book about?

From the 1920’s “Palmer Raids” and later during the ’60s and ’70s with a backdrop of the Vietnam War, protests, riots, and domestic terrorism ravaged most cities. Political assassinations and corruption found their way to the highest levels of government,

I was there in the late ’60s; a member of J. Edgar Hoover’s personal office staff. Meeting with icons and legends, setting up appointments with dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians; witnessing Hoover’s reaction when I informed him of the shooting of Martin Luther King. Bits of untold history unfolded daily as we became privy to the quid pro quo of political poker as played in Washington. There were internal politics and serious national events, often interrupted by the quirky demands of the Director.

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