“Irwin Gellman has emerged from years in the archives to tell the fascinating story of President Dwight Eisenhower and his relationship with his vice president, Richard Nixon. Gellman dispels the fog that has long enveloped this subject and casts new light on a critical Cold War presidency. Masterfully written, The President and the Apprentice is a must-read for anyone who, like me, loves good political history.”—Allen Matusow, author of The Unraveling of America
More than half a century after Eisenhower left office, the history of his presidency is so clouded by myth, partisanship, and outright fraud that most people have little understanding of how Ike’s administration worked or what it accomplished. We know—or think we know—that Eisenhower distrusted his vice president, Richard Nixon, and kept him at arm’s length; that he did little to advance civil rights; that he sat by as Joseph McCarthy’s reckless anticommunist campaign threatened to wreck his administration; and that he planned the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. None of this is true.
The President and the Apprentice reveals a different Eisenhower, and a different Nixon. Ike trusted and relied on Nixon, sending him on many sensitive overseas missions. Eisenhower, not Truman, completed the desegregation of the military. Eisenhower and Nixon, not Lyndon Johnson, pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through the Senate. Eisenhower was determined to bring down McCarthy and did so. Nixon never, contrary to recent accounts, saw a psychotherapist, but while Ike was recovering from his heart attack in 1955, Nixon was overworked, overanxious, overmedicated, and at the limits of his ability to function.
Based on twenty years of research in numerous archives, many previously untouched, this book offers a fresh and surprising account of the Eisenhower presidency.
“Irwin Gellman’s superb research and plausible reconstruction of the Eisenhower-Nixon relationship may well revolutionize the meaning of historical revisionism. The President and the Apprentice is an unsettling tour de force.”—David Levering Lewis, author of King: A Biography and W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography