John Eisenhower: A Great Historian

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One of my favorite historians, John Eisenhower, passed away today at age 91.

Being born the son of Dwight Eisenhower was never easy for John Eisenhower. However, he staked out his own career in the military, and more importantly for me, as a military historian. In 1994, I was writing a 30 page paper of my own for a graduate class. Eisenhower’s book, Intervention, about the Wilson administration in Mexico was the foundation for my research paper. I still remember vividly sitting at the Holmes Student Center at NIU in the spring of 1994 and pouring over each page as it dripped with detail. I still have my notebooks of notes I took just from that one book. I scoured the bibliography to lead me to other sources including State Department memos. It was then I think I truly became a historian. Today, Mr. Eisenhower passed away at the age of 91.

I, for one, think he is one of the most under rated historians of the past 30 years. While Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, David McCullough, Ken Burns, and Stephen Ambrose have gotten more press in the past 30 years, Eisenhower matched and surpassed them in analysis, research, and acumen when it came to his works.

When most people retire, they slowly fade away to a simpler life. For John Eisenhower, it became the time to follow his passion for history, more specifically, military history. He is best known for The Bitter Woods about the Battle of the Bulge and his classic So Far from God about the Mexican-American War.

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My favorite book of Eisenhower’s. It is about Wilson’s Watchful Waiting policy.

Here are a few other works to seek out of his:

Allies: Pearl Harbor to D–Day. Doubleday. 1982.
Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott. Free Press. 1997.
Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I. Simon and Schuster. 2001.
Zachary Taylor. Macmillan. 2008.
A Morning in June: Defending Outpost Harry. University of Alabama Press. 2010.

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