Ike: An American Hero


I just finished reading Ike: An American Hero, Michael Korda's biography of Eisenhower. I'm a sucker for biographies, particularly US Presidents and I'd not read one of Ike before, although I'd had Steve Ambrose's two-volumn set on my list for a while. I saw this a few weeks ago while I was in DC and picked it up. I wasn't disappointed. Korda delivers a book that tells a great tale by focusing on what made Ike and made him great rather than getting lost in details that most readers won't care about.

I came away with a newfound appreciation for Eisenhower. He was president when I was born and had a great role in shaping the world I grew up in. Still, other than a few facts, I knew hardly anything about him. For example, I hadn't realized how fast Ike was promoted after WWII began--moving from Colonel to four-star general in a matter of a few years. Buy he had been marvelously prepared and mentored by the likes of Pershing, MacArthur, and Marshall.

Korda is clearly an Eisenhower fan and that helps make the book what it is. If you like critical biographies that rip the subject to shreds, you won't enjoy this one. Still, Korda isn't shy when it comes to deeply exploring Ike's relationship with Kay Summersby, perhaps the most controversial aspect of his personal life or the steep learning curve he faced as Supremem Allied Commander.

Korda's writing is clear and brings Ike to life. I found I couldn't wait to get back to it--more like a good novel than a dry biography. I recommend it.