In This Review

Ike: An American Hero
Ike: An American Hero
By Michael Korda
800 pp, Harper, 2008

Dwight Eisenhower was one of the greatest American generals and remains perhaps the most underrated American president. In an age of self-dramatizing political leaders -- of men such as Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Dean Acheson, Douglas MacArthur, and George Patton -- Eisenhower favored a simpler and less fussy style of political and military leadership. This is one of the reasons he was so indispensable; the military and political prima donnas of the Allied leadership needed someone like Eisenhower to keep the Allied war effort on an even keel. Korda sees the three years of Eisenhower's military leadership of the Allies' efforts in Africa and Europe as the climax of Eisenhower's life and devotes great attention to the various spats and controversies that sputtered on for decades in the memoirs of different Allied leaders. Readers will wish Korda had spent more time on Ike's political career; Korda's gift for strong narrative and for presenting complex issues in a straightforward way has equipped him to write a magnificent account of the Eisenhower presidency. This Korda chose not to do: Ike gets elected president on page 657 and leaves Washington for Gettysburg on page 720.