The Eisenhower Presidency : Lessons for the Twenty-First Century, Paperback / softback Book

The Eisenhower Presidency : Lessons for the Twenty-First Century Paperback / softback

Paperback / softback

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We are in the midst of a Dwight Eisenhower revival.

Today pundits often look to Eisenhower as a model of how a president can govern across party lines and protect American interests globally without resorting too quickly to the use of force.

Yet this mix of nostalgia and frustration with the current polarized state of American politics may mislead us.

Eisenhower's presidency has much to teach us today about how a president might avert crises and showdowns at home or abroad.

But he governed under conditions so strikingly different from those a chief executive faces in the early 21st century that we need to question how much of his style could work in our own era.

The chapters in this volume address the lessons we might draw from the Eisenhower experience for presidential leadership today.

Although most of the authors find much to admire in the Eisenhower record, they express varying opinions on how applicable his approach would be for our own time.

On one side, they appreciate his limited faith in the power of his words to move public opinion and his reluctance to turn to the use of force to solve international problems.

On the other side, it was plain that Ike's exercise of "hidden-hand" leadership (in Fred Greenstein's evocative term) would not be possible in the modern media environment that makes Washington a giant fishbowl and instant revelation an acceptable norm.

Both Eisenhower admirers and skeptics (and many of the authors are both) will find much in these essays to reinforce their preconceptions - and much that is unsettling.

Eisenhower emerges as an effective but flawed leader.

He was in many ways the right man for his time, but limited because he was also a man of his time.


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