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Eisenhower: Allied Supreme Commander (Cassell Military Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Carlo D'Este
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 2004 Cassell Military Paperbacks
Carlo D'Este's previous book, PATTON cemented his reputation as one of the bestselling historians of the Second World War. John Keegan called it 'a magnificent portrait'. The Sunday Telegraph called it 'superb biography'. Now he turns to America's most successful commander of the war, the future president Dwight D. Eisenhower. Born in poverty, the child of convinced pacifists, Eisenhower rose to command the Allied invasion force from D-Day to the conquest of Germany. He remains a controversial figure, especially to the British. Eisenhower had a prickly relationship with his most notorious subordinate, the British General Montgomery. As well as the key military issues, D'Este reveals the truth about Eisenhower's alleged romance with his British driver, Kay Summersby, his troubled marriage and his eye for the political future. This is the definitive biography of the most important officer in the Allied armies of the Second World War.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304366587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304366583
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 4.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'As Carlo D'Este, America's foremost living historian of the Second World War shows in this new definitive biography, Ike's grin and cheery good nature were an invaluable morale-booster. Soldiers trusted and were fond of him, and it was no coincidence that when he successfully ran for president in 1952, the campaign slogan was simply 'I like Ike'. After reading this splendid book, you will too.' (Andrew Roberts MAIL ON SUNDAY (22/7/03) )

'The author of a number of excellent campaign histories of the second world war, D'Este has written a splendid book.' (Hew Strachan THE SUNDAY TIMES (8/6/03) )

'In a superbly paced narrative, based on outstanding research, D'Este, an accomplished military historian, provides the best account yet of Eisenhower's army career. The book is unlikely to be bettered... D'Este sensibly makes no attempt to engage in armchair theorising about military strategy. Instead he offers a detailed and meticulously researched chronology, which is always offset by a sensitively drawn portrait of Eisenhower's psychology and private life... splendid biography...' (Desmond King LITERARY REVIEW, June 2003 )

'Carlo D'Este, one of America's most acclaimed military historians, has written a biography of Eisenhower the soldier that paints him as a complex man. D'Este follows his life as far as Victory in Europe Day, and asserts his record as a soldier, but never makes the mistake of exaggerating his military talents ... this is a fascinating biography, as well as an outstanding military history of the European war.' (Simon Sebag Montefiore THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (24/5/03) )

'... any work by d'Este deserves deep respect. As a military historian, he is a class by himself. D'Este likes Ike as much as all the rest of us, but in his portrait the warts are given full significance. Eisenhower, he makes clear, had the defects of his qualities'. (Michael Howard TLS (24/7/03) )

'While any competent author can turn out a readable biography of the flamboyant Patton, it takes skill to make Eisenhower interesting. Yet Carlo D'Este accomplishes the task with flair... In a calm measured way D'Este offers an absorbing portrait of a quiet man... This book is fascinating not because of exploding bombs and smouldering passions, but bcause of the perplexing subtleties it offers about a life often judged uninteresting.' (Gerard DeGroot (Prof Modern History, St Andrews) SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY (1 June 2003) )

'Carlo D'Este has produced a masterpiece which captures the whole sweep of Eisenhower's life from boy to America's most successful general.' (SCOTTISH LEGION NEWS (June/July 2003) )

'This superb study traces the career of Dwight Eisenhower... Truly one of the great men of our time, and D'Este has captured the intensity and courage of his character brilliantly.' (GOOD BOOK GUIDE ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The definitive biography of the Allied Commander-in-Chief in World War II by the author hailed by Max Hastings as 'One of the finest historians of his generation'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This book charts Ike's life from Abilene, Kansas to the end of WWII. I have just finished this book this week.
Having read many WWII books recently, I would score this as a 5 because D'Este avoids the tendency of so many writers to overplay one point of view. He is scrupulously fair and even-handed about all the characters and main players and redresses some of the balance re American criticism of Monty. He is even-handed too about Ike and highlights many weaknesses and failings as well as successes and strengths.
He demonstrates the limitations of the role Ike played ie that he had little real control over battles/operations and that much time was spent fighting off the fierce pressures he faced from the politicians and the combined chiefs especially Churchill.
It is also illuminating on the interwar years both on how much of a struggle it was for Ike to stay in the Army personally and financially - he was always skint - and made do by winning at poker.
The scholarship is first class and very thorough but not stuffy and academic. It has lots of great stories and anecdotes about Ike and others that are essential in this type of book. Despite being 700 pages in hardback it is an easy read.
Only criticism - as I usually find with these books - more and better maps please.
Overall, a monumental effort. I will be reading more Carlo D'Este.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb biography of the Allied Supreme Commander 22 Sep 2009
Carlo D'Este is a superb historian of the Second World War. His previous books include Decision in Normandy, Bitter Victory: the battle for Sicily 1943, Fatal decision: Anzio and the battle for Rome, a biography of General Patton. Most recently he wrote Warlord, a study of Churchill from 1874 to 1945.

In this superb book, he tells the story of Eisenhower's life, his early years; how he chose a soldier's career; his experiences in World War One, between the wars, and in 1940-42 as the USA prepared for war; his role as the architect of cooperation; his education as a general in the Mediterranean campaigns of 1942-43; his role as Supreme Allied Commander of the liberation of Europe; and the hard struggle for victory, Normandy to the Elbe 1944-45.

The book's centre is Eisenhower's work from 1942 to 1945. In organising the Sicily's liberation from fascism, he rejected the `penny-packet' tactics of a series of small landings spread over five days and 600 miles of coast. Instead, he backed Montgomery's plan, which rightly adhered to the vital principle of the concentration of force.

But in the Sicily campaign, as in the later Italian campaign, there was poor coordination of the ground, air and naval forces and no strategic goals were set. There was no `higher-up grip', as Monty put it.

In the run-up to D-Day, Eisenhower insisted, rightly, that airpower on its own was not decisive, overriding the British and US air force chiefs, Harris and Spaatz. D'Este rightly calls D-Day `history's greatest and most successful amphibious landing'. Stalin praised this brilliant operation, saying, "The history of warfare knows no other like undertaking." The 80 days of the Normandy campaign killed or wounded 200,000 Germans and captured another 200,000.
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