Three Days in January

  • by Bret Baier, Catherine Whitney
  • Narrated by Bret Baier, Danny Campbell
  • 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this debut history from one of America's most influential political journalists, Bret Baier casts the three days between Dwight Eisenhower's prophetic "farewell address" on the evening of January 17, 1961, and his successor John F. Kennedy's inauguration on the afternoon of January 20 as the final mission of one of modern America's greatest leaders.
As president, the former supreme commander of Allied forces during World War II successfully guided the country out of war in Korea, through the apocalyptic threat of nuclear war with Russia, and into one of the greatest economic booms in world history. In this last address to the nation, Eisenhower looked to the future, warning Americans against the dangers of elevating partisanship above national interest, excessive government budgets (particularly deficit spending), the expansion of the military-industrial complex, and the creeping political power of special interests. Baier explores the many ways these visionary words continue to resonate today; he also explains how Ike embodied the qualities of political leadership that the country is urgently hungering for at the present.
Seeking to prepare a new generation for power, Eisenhower intensely advised the 43-year-old Kennedy in the intervening time between the speech and the inauguration. Dwight Eisenhower left the public stage at the end of these three days in January 1961 having done more than perhaps any other modern American to set the nation "on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment". Despite their differences in party affiliation, President Kennedy would continue to seek his predecessor's advice and counsel during his time in office. Five decades later Baier's Three Days in January illuminates how Eisenhower, an underappreciated giant of US history, still offers vital lessons for our own time.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Stimulating

The author puffed out the book with a brief biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. Also included was Eisenhower’s farewell address. Ike stressed the critical need for bipartisanship and balance in all governmental and foreign affairs. The complete speech is in the appendix of the book. I found the speech most interesting considering all that has happened since it was given.

When Ike took office, the relationship between Truman and Ike was strained. According to the author, Ike wanted to help the new president’s transition into office, as he apparently admired John F. Kennedy. Baier tells about the last three days in office where Ike attempted to prepare JFK for the current and ongoing problems he would be facing as president. Ike warned JFK about the military industrial complex, and the enormous federal funding that needed to be restrained. I found this part of the book quite interesting. I wish the author had gone more in depth about the discussions between Ike and JFK. I realize that there may be a limited amount of information available.

I was most disappointed in the rest of the book because of the numerous factual errors, particularly in the biographical sketch of Eisenhower and about WWII. Most books have one of two minor errors, but this book goes beyond that. I don’t know whether it was due to sloppy editing or sloppy research. For example, Baier states that Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and FDR comprised a troika of the allied front. Troika connotes three persons working together. De Gaulle played no such role. There were to many errors in the North African Campaign to list here. There are a number of good biographies about Eisenhower available if one wants to know more about him, for example: one of the recent ones is Jean Edward Smith’s “Eisenhower in War and Peace”.

In spite of the errors, I found the book most interesting and enjoyed it. If you are interested in learning about the Cold War and presidential transitions, this book is for you. Bret Bier is an anchor newsman for the Fox Network.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is about ten and half hours long. Bret Bier and Danny Campbell did a good job narrating the book. Campbell is an actor and audiobook narrator.
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- Jean

Fantastic Lessons for Today From the General

The release of this book--which is based around President Eisenhower's farewell address--was timed to coincide with the changing of the guard from the Obama Administration. Although most of the book was written when the outcome was very much in doubt, the election of Donald Trump seems to create an interesting parallel. Eisenhower was primarily interested in passing along vital information to his brash young successor.

One could only wish that Eisenhower were here to pass along information to Obama's equally brash (although not younger) successor. Eisenhower's focus, as the book graphically demonstrates, was one key issue: What was best for the country. He did not like politics and was not much of a partisan. He regularly reached across the aisle. He tried to work with the other party, not trash its leaders.

What a contrast we have to today. After eight years of a "phone and a pen" and demonizing one party, the shoe is now on the other foot with a seemingly endless stream of "tweets." It's hard to say anything meaningful in 140 characters. What seems distinctly lacking in both parties are what we used to call statesmen.

I was born in 1957 and have no real memory of Eisenhower. This book taught me to have a much greater respect for Eisenhower. It demonstrates that Eisenhower was far from a caretaker. He was a careful and thoughtful leader who did everything within his power to keep us out of war. He knew firsthand that the massive waste of war was justified only in the most extreme circumstances.

The book is extremely interesting and moves very well. Baier is, not surprisingly, a smooth and able narrator.

Don't let any antipathy toward "Fox News" dissuade you. This is well worth your time.
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- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-10-2017
  • Publisher: HarperAudio