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American history

Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage

Jeffrey Frank.
Publisher Simon & Schuster  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9781416587019
Pages/Publication Date 434/2013
Daedalus Item Code 40447
This item is not available.
Dwight D. Eisenhower and his vice president Richard Nixon had a political and private relationship that lasted nearly 20 years, surviving hurtful slights, tense misunderstandings, and the broad gap in their ages and temperaments. And yet, as former New Yorker senior editor Jeffrey Frank paints them here, the two men brought out the best as well as the worst in each other, and their association had significant consequences for their respective presidencies. Frank offers a fresh view of the younger Nixon as a striving tactician, as well as the ever more perplexing person that he became. He portrays Eisenhower, the legendary soldier, as a cold, even vain man with a warm smile whose sound instincts about war and peace far outpaced his understanding of the changes occurring in his own country. Eisenhower and Nixon shared striking characteristics—high intelligence, cunning, and an aversion to confrontation, especially with each other—and the book traces the path of their relationship in a dangerous world of recurring crises.

"Perhaps the most intriguing—and dysfunctional—political marriage in history was the one between the subjects of Jeffrey Frank's meticulously researched Ike and Dick ... a highly engrossing political narrative that skillfully takes the reader through the twisted development of a strange relationship that would help shape America's foreign and domestic agenda for much of the 20th century."—NYTBR (cover review)

"Given that Eisenhower did not want Richard Nixon as his vice president––Ike tried to jettison him in 1952 and in 1956––a host of mutually conflicted feelings must have surrounded their lengthy association. Exploring their interactions in episode after episode, in settings ranging from Republican Party conventions to the White House to golf courses, Frank constructs a marvelous account of political history as well as astute portraits of the two men. Nixon emerges from Frank's narrative with his oft-chronicled quirks intact but also as a more sympathetic character who, craving approval from the general who won WWII, emotionally suffered from Eisenhower's diffident thoughtlessness. On the other hand, the ambitious and crafty Nixon capitalized on an Eisenhower weakness––his distaste for personally firing anyone––to outfox Ike, as with his famously maudlin Checkers speech. Pithily describing their relationship as having 'a filial aspect, though one without much filial affection,' Frank chronicles it through Ike's presidency and Nixon's presidential campaigns with the rich, inside-politics mix of rumor and maneuver in which connoisseurs of political history love to marinate."—Booklist

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