Introducing his two-volume biography of the 34th president of the United States, Stephen Ambrose offered a simple, and accurate, judgment: “Dwight Eisenhower was a great and good man. He was one of the outstanding leaders of the Western world of [the 20th] century.”
He also spent more consecutive time at the center of national and international affairs than any other American of his time: longer than either of the Roosevelts, longer than Henry Stimson, longer than anyone. For 18 years — from the moment in November 1942 when he took command of the Allied Expeditionary Force whose invasion of North Africa began the defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich, until Jan. 20, 1961, when he handed the burden of the presidency to John F. Kennedy — Dwight David Eisenhower was in the cockpit of history. And it made a great difference that he was there.
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