The Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Revised Edition


Chester J. Pach, Jr. & Elmo Richardson

The focus of this revision is not how Eisenhower made policy, but how his decisions shaped American life in the 1950s and beyond. In this first post-revisionist study of the Eisenhower presidency, historian Chester Pach reaches beyond the issues the revisionists raised: Was Eisenhower in command of his own administration? Did he play a significant role in shaping foreign and domistic policy?

Drawing on the wide range of works published within the past decade, Pach expands Elmo Richardson's 1979 study by nearly one third. In addition to new material on national security policy, Pach deepens the analysis of Eisenhower's leadership and managerial style and explores the significance of the decisions Eisenhower made on a whole range of critical issues, from civil rights to atomic testing.

“This revision is essentially a completely new book which draws on all the Eisenhower scholarship of the past decade (the bibliography is a tour de force, by itself worth the price of the book). Pach has incorporated the work of the revisionists, hardly under way when Richardson wrote the first edition, and added the insights and criticism of the post-revisionists. Thanks to Pach’s work, this volume takes its proper place in the justly acclaimed American Presidency Series as an up-to-date, informative, judicious, and insightful book on the Eisenhower years. It will be read with profit and enjoyment by anyone interested in the 1950s.”

—Stephen E. Ambrose, author of Eisenhower: Soldier and President

“This may well become the standard one-volume source on the man and his administration. Concise yet comprehensive, learned but accessible, even-handed but forceful in its judgments, it both sums up a wealth of scholarly literature and takes issue with its celebratory stance toward Ike. Valuable both in introducing students to the subject and challenging scholars, this is first-rate historical synthesis.”

—Michael S. Sherry, author of The Rise of American Airpower: The Creation of Armageddon

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By emphasizing the fundamental failings of Eisenhower's presidency, Pach swims against the stream of recent scholarship. He concludes, for example, that Eisenhower's commitment to support South Vietnam in 1954, with its attendant responsibilities and consequences, was far more important—and ultimately disastrous—than his refusal to intervene with military force in support of the French in 1954. Eisenhower's unleashing of the CIA (in Iran, Guatemala, and elsewhere) also draws sharp criticism, as does his timid and ineffective handling of McCarthy.

Additional Titles in the American Presidency Series Series