1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating biography of the first career officer to turn president,
This review is from: Zachary Taylor (American Presidents (Times)) (Hardcover)
Few authors are quite as appropriate to pen a biography of a military man turned president as John S. D. Eisenhower. If his background as a retired US military officer, former US Ambassador to Belgium and distinguished military historian were to be considered insufficient qualification, he is also the son of America's most famous career soldier President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The narrative of Old Rough and Ready's life is laid out well by Eisenhower with discussion of his personal life never seeming rushed. However the text really comes into its own with the description of Taylor's military decisions.
Eisenhower is able to describe the difficult settings, the military misjudgements on both sides and how fortune came to favour the bold when Taylor disagreed with his military advisors to chase a fleeing enemy.
As with other short-lived presidencies, his actual time in office garners less space than you might anticipate in this volume. With few significant decisions made in his two years in office the decision to focus on his pre-presidency makes sense.
If this biography has a weakness it is that the conclusions Eisenhower comes to about how Taylor might have been had he lived seem stretched with too little evidence being explicitly offered to back them up. However, this is a minor quibble with a work that is strong both as a military history and as a biography of one of America's "forgotten presidents".