Friday, April 27, 2012

Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969

Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969 by David Eisenhower
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is written by Dwight Eisenhower's grandson, David, and his wife, Julie Nixon Eisenhower (Richard Nixon's daughter). I bought this book at Borders Going-Out-Of-Business sale for $1.00. What a great buy it was. Many fascinating things I learned. After JFK was elected President Eisenhower and Kennedy communicated often. Eisenhower wanted to be called General instead of President in his private life and JFK agreed to give him the fifth star to make him a five star general. After JFK's assassination LBJ and Eisenhower shared many ideas. According to the book LBJ many times came to Eisenhower for advise. Eisenhower believed that America should not spend a great deal of money of defense in times of peace. Living in Gettysburg he became active in a Presbyterian church. The pastor ask him to speak to the church on the role of morality and politics. His speech to the church was a very conservative view on how the government should not close the door on faith. He was very disappointed in the Supreme Courts decision to take "God" out of the schools. The thing that was most surprising to me was how a former Republican President was so involved talking to and giving advise to to Democratic Presidents.

A few quotes from the book below are ones that were thought provoking to me:

When the federal government begins to fund education, he (Eisenhower) argued, educational institutions will find they cannot live without the assistance they receive. Then, he added with dark emphasis, the government eventually tells educators what to do. Elise [Scharf, one of the leading families of Gettysburg] agreed. Whether for good purposes or for evil purposes, Eisenhower continued, the ability to control education has the potential to be used to promote mind control and that should be enough to recommend against letting any such thing take root. She agreed again. This man is wonderful, she thought.  p. 11

The delighted crowd roared approval in learning the secret of the Eisenhower grin - that it was a gesture of determination, a reflex to being outwitted or overpowered. "If you see someone irritating you, just grin," Eisenhower said. "You haven't smiled when you've gotten up because once in a while they throw a haymaker at you. So what! You don't win a campaign in one battle. You win a campaign by sticking ever lastingly at it, with the kind of attitude that is the attitude of a victor." p. 89

A letter Eisenhower wrote to David (david was away at school):
Around here here does not seem to be developing much enthusiasm about the political campaign. I suppose that is because there is no President to be elected this year. If this is so, the reason seems to be faulty indeed. Too many of us are allowing too much authority and responsibility for our lives to become concentrated in Washington. I think it is just as important to develop enthusiasm for the election of a proper city council, a county board of commissioners, or statewide governor and legislature as it is to get the right man in the Presidency. Indeed, if we had better and stronger government at lower levels we would do much to reduce the risk that one day we are going to be governed by an entrenched and organized bureaucracy.  pp. 198-199

Another letter written by Eisenhower to David:
"Always take your job seriously," he said repeatedly, "but never yourself." The words were those of his mentor, Fox Conner. "The years ahead of you might be the most important of your life," Granddad told me. "Don't be afraid to reach above yourself, to associate yourself with people you know are better than you are in some respects - some call it apple polishing, but it's really the only way you learn anything in this world."  p. 253

If you enjoy learning about famous people from an insider, then this is an excellent book for you!

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