Eisenhower – Soldier and President

Stephen Ambrose was a master biographer and historian, and he has done a superb job with Dwight Eisenhower.

 Though the book covers Eisenhower’s entire life, and especially his two-term Presidency, the heart of the book is Eisenhower’s military career.  This is where the book shines.  The chapters on World War II are riveting.

 Dwight Eisenhower led the largest military invasion in history at Normandy.  He then pulled together disparate allied forces and difficult generals, such as Patton and Montgomery, into a united army focused on defeating the Nazis.  Eisenhower was not merely the most important general of World War II, but he was wildly popular in the aftermath of World War II.

 Why was Dwight Eisenhower an effective leader, especially during World War II?  Here are the reasons:  He was a teambuilder.  He had confidence. He was decisive.  He selected the right people for the key positions under him.  He had integrity.  He was fair.  He was a very hard worker.  He was an excellent communicator.  He cared about people; he genuinely liked people and they knew it.  He had courage and was willing to shoulder the burdens of leadership.

I do not consider this book a great biography.  But it is a helpful book on an important figure and the section on World War II is outstanding.  The leadership traits of Dwight Eisenhower are traits that every leader needs.