Eisenhower’s great weakness was being too tolerant of the Dulles brothers and their CIA operations. All the important foreign policy mistakes during his administration can be traced back to the Dulles brothers and Richard Bissell, with their aggression born of paranoia.
The book also outlines his resistance to the military-industrial complex and Red Scare. Eisenhower knew that the United States had atomic dominance during his entire administration, but saying so publicly might have revealed their successful U-2 spy missions. Since Eisenhower had spent his entire adult life in the military, it never really occurred to him how frightened America was becoming of atomic warfare, so he didn’t do enough to reassure citizens. Even so, he knew how the Pentagon worked, and kept trying to hold the line against levels of military spending that he thought would threaten the American economy and perhaps even our liberty. We are learning his wisdom through unfortunate example today.
Keeping up his calm poker face in front of the world’s leaders took its toll on his health, and he often relieved the emotional stress by losing his temper with those close enough to him to not hold it against him. Despite Eisenhower’s precarious health, then Vice-President Nixon played only a minor role in this book, portrayed as a loyal courtier rather than in light of his own important role in the Cold War.
Thomas wrote a worthy book, well researched and well written. I hate to think that it took sixty years for a book to written that gives up the truth about his administration. At that rate, I could be dead long before the truth comes out about any president elected after the 2000, a prospect I do not relish.