|Tonight on TDS, J.K. Rowling; and on TCR, Evan Thomas, Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World .|
|Yeah, Jon wins the week.
I think I've got some coattails going on, though, since that makes only one guest that I even need to consider researching -- or even writing about ;~)
|And sometimes I might do better by skipping the research part. The book for Stephen's interview (Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World) is just the sort of think I'd normally look at for all the Give-Dad-A-Present holidays coming up -- except that Evan Thomas is a flat-out Establishment voice, who right blogistan apparently considers an 'even-the-liberal'. I try to avoid reinforcing the "Mid-century Establishment White Men encompass the entire Respectable political universe" thing with my gifts to Dad, because... well, y'know (it's still early, of course -- maybe something like that 'the art of pasta' book will turn up again this year. That was a big hit).
So the book has been reviewed/discussed/promoted in all the expected venues for a former Newsweek Name -- including Aspen, of course -- and the Amazon reviews seem to agree that the guy can tell a good story.
Here's Publisher's Weekly:
Often derided as an inattentive national grandfather, Eisenhower emerges as a subtle, sharp-witted master statesman in this probing study of his foreign and security policies. Historian Thomas (The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898) paints a colorful, richly detailed portrait of a man whose habit of hiding his cutting intellect, volcanic temper, and poker-player’s instincts behind public grins and vague pronouncements amounted to a profound political strategy. Eisenhower’s low-key nuclear brinkmanship anchors the book. Thomas argues that Ike’s deliberately ambiguous statements about using nuclear weapons caused the Soviets and Chinese to back off. His duplicity and indirection prevailed in everything from the Suez Crisis to his battle against bloated defense budgets. The result, Thomas contends, was an audacious geopolitical gamble: while dreading the destructiveness of nuclear weapons, Ike embraced a doctrine of massive retaliation that put nuclear war at the heart of American strategy—and then adroitly used it to defuse military confrontations. Thomas’s appreciation of Eisenhower is sometimes too sunny; he says little about Ike’s approval of CIA-sponsored coups in Iran and Guatemala and the troubled interventionist path they charted. Still, his vivid, compelling profile of Eisenhower—the man and the shrewd operator—should spark reconsideration of his presidency.
The beatification of President Dwight Eisenhower continues in this keen character study.
|Up this week:
(Note: Whenever reading reviews from the NYTimes (particularly Janet Maslin), remember this.)