Ike and Dick
Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage
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Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon had a political and private relationship that lasted nearly twenty years, a tie that survived hurtful slights, tense misunderstandings, and the distance between them in age and temperament. Yet the two men brought out the best and worst in each other, and their association had important consequences for their respective presidencies.
In Ike and Dick, Jeffrey Frank rediscovers these two compelling figures with the sensitivity of a novelist and the discipline of a historian. He 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. Ike and Dick, informed by dozens of interviews and deep archival research, traces the path of their relationship in a dangerous world of recurring crises as Nixon’s ambitions grew and Eisenhower was struck by a series of debilitating illnesses. And, as the 1968 election cycle approached and the war in Vietnam roiled the country, it shows why Eisenhower, mortally ill and despite his doubts, supported Nixon’s final attempt to win the White House, a change influenced by a family matter: his grandson David’s courtship of Nixon’s daughter Julie—teenagers in love who understood the political stakes of their union.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Ike and Dick
Growing up in the 50's, I thought that I had a good idea of the on again - off again relationship between Eisenhower and Nixon, as witnessed on "black and white" TV firsthand, as well as newspaper reportage of that era.
Even more recently, there have been books and essays dealing in some detail with this very interesting relationship that spanned decades. However, Mr. Frank's rendering of Ike and Dick drills down deeply into the interplay, the nuances, the personality complexities - indeed the psyches of these two historical giants.
Frank's research offers fresh perspectives on why Eisenhower struggled for years to define in his own mind who Richard Nixon really is and what type of leader he could become. Nixon concealed both a love- hate relationship with Ike - but in the final analysis a deeply respected father figure emerged. The writing is smart, concise, and reads like a well written play - thoroughly enjoyable!