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Donaldson not only discusses the working relationship between Eisenhower and Johnson but also provides a brief history of politics in the 1950s. The author provides a brief biography of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, General MacArthur, Senator Bird and Strom Thurmond to furnish the read with a basic understanding of the people involved and the workings of the government at the time. Donaldson’s claims that Eisenhower’s politics and moderate, middle of the road administration triggered the backlash from the right-wing Republicans that is still being felt today.
Donaldson provided some information I was totally unaware of. He claims that as the Cold War progressed the far-right wing members of the Republican Party became more upset with Eisenhower. They were isolationist and adamant against communism, and were demanding Eisenhower engaging in military action including a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the USSR. According to Donaldson they stated Eisenhower’s policy of peaceful co-existence was in fact appeasement.
Donaldson also reveals the problems that Johnson had with the left-wing Democrats with his compromises with Eisenhower to get bills passed. The Civil Rights movement was starting and the Democrats thought Johnson was giving in to the right-wing Republicans on civil rights.
Some authors claim that the period of the Eisenhower administration was a “time of good feelings” but Donaldson set out to prove it was not. I lived through this period but the book provided me with information I was not aware of and insights into the politics of the time as compared with today. If you are interested in history or politics, you will find this short book informative.
Gregory St. John did an excellent job narrating the book. St. John is an actor and audiobook narrator.
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