Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969.

Author:Warters, T. Alissa
Position:Book review
 
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Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969. By David Eisenhower with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010. 323pp.

President Eisenhower's public life has been thoroughly examined by historians, political scientists, and military analysts for decades. These accounts have developed a composite of Eisenhower as military general, war hero, and chief executive of the United States. In Going Home to Glory, David Eisenhower's rendering of President Eisenhower's postpresidential life is a unique addition to this body of scholarship and provides special insights into the intricate dynamics of the personal and political demands and burdens of a former president.

Going Home to Glory is one in a long line of volumes written by presidential kin, who use their experiences to humanize their father/grandfather and further massage the legacy of the president in focus. David Eisenhower was able to rely on much of the voluminous research performed for his 1986 examination of Eisenhower at War 1943-1945 (Random House, 1991) to further scrutinize the life of President Eisenhower for this book. In addition, the younger Eisenhower supplements the interviews from his earlier research with remembrances from those who were actively involved in the former president's life, as well as his own correspondence with his grandfather. These letters are valuable additions to help the reader better understand President Eisenhower as a political leader, mentor, father, and grandfather. From the opening anecdote of the trip back to Gettysburg on the day of John E Kennedy's inauguration, David Eisenhower draws the picture of a man who wants to enjoy his time out of public life but still has political realities that haunt him. The narrative raises the question of whether a former president can actually exit the political stage permanently and what the role of a former president should be. As the author highlights, President Eisenhower was always kept in the loop by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, receiving frequent updates on political events affecting the country. However, David Eisenhower also translates the tensions between the Kennedy administration and Eisenhower and his staff over issues such as Eisenhower's request to reclaim his five-star general status, the Bay of Pigs debacle, civil rights, and the space race. The concern of the Eisenhower staff was that the Kennedy administration was trying to undermine the record of...

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