The Era of Ike | Social Sciences

Hitchcock, William I. The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s. S. & S. Mar. 2018. 672p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439175668. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781451698435. BIOG

In this admiring tome, ­Hitchcock (history, Univ. of Virginia; The Struggle for Europe) briefly covers the early years of President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower (1890–1969), beginning with his small-town Kansas upbringing, attendance at West Point, service in World War I, and victorious command of the Allied operations in World War II. Hitchcock then addresses the era in which he believes “Ike” was most consequential and also misunderstood. The 34th president oversaw much during his tenure: the burgeoning civil rights movement, robust economic growth, the Red Scare at home and Cold War hostilities abroad. He also “dramatically expanded” the power and scope of 20th-century warfare and national security measures; “The man who warned later generations about the military-industrial complex,” Hitchcock writes, “did a great deal to build it.” During his leadership, the former general imposed militarylike discipline within his administration, and with an average approval rating of 65 percent throughout his two terms, enjoyed bipartisan appeal. VERDICT Jean Edward Smith’s Eisenhower: In War and Peace is more comprehensive, but Hitchcock impressively recasts Eisenhower and his era as more dynamic than their historical reputations.—Chad Comello, Morton Grove P.L., IL

Simon, James F. Eisenhower vs. Warren: The Battle for Civil Rights and Liberties. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2018. 464p. notes. index. ISBN 9780871407559. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780871407665. BIOG

President Dwight Eisenhower (1890–1969) and Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren (1891–1974), both moderate Republicans, served during an era of unprecedented economic growth and tumultuous social change, following World War II. Simon (emeritus, New York Law Sch.; FDR and Chief Justice Hughes) presents an insightful dual biography that reveals their achievements, frustrations, and complex relationship, which deteriorated soon after Eisenhower appointed Warren chief justice in 1953. Simon is at his best when describing how these once friendly men became alienated, as Eisenhower remained moored to his middle-of-the road politics, while Warren became leader of the Court’s liberal faction, exasperated by Eisenhower’s failure to move proactively on school desegregation. Meanwhile, Eisenhower was angered by Warren’s use of the Supreme Court to resolve issues that the president felt should be decided by the legislature. Overall, both men are praised: Eisenhower for keeping the nation out of war and for supporting voting rights, and Warren for leading the judicial struggle for civil rights and individual liberties. VERDICT This compelling account of two giants of their time will find a wide audience among historians and informed general readers. See David Goldfield’s The Gifted Generation for a view of Eisenhower as a stronger civil rights president.—Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of ­Prussia, PA

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