At ease: Stories I tell to friends

by Dwight D Eisenhower

Book cover for At ease: Stories I tell to friends

President Eisenhower here tells a number of stories for the simple pleasure of telling them. In warm and personal terms, he writes about his life, his acquaintances both celebrated and little known, and the history that unfolded before his eyes. In anecdote after anecdote, we learn about life at West Point, in turn-of-the-century Kansas, in an "ordinary" but remarkable family. His storytelling suggests what it was like to grow up and go to school at a time when the wild west had just become the rural west, when the frontier was his home town. It awakened the dreams of adventure in a boy's imagination--and carried him from the wrong side of the tracks in Abilene to the leadership of a great alliance and military expedition, a great university, and a great nation. The young Eisenhower's dreams, he thought, could probably best be realized at Annapolis. And yet--through a fortuitous turn of events--the future naval officer settled in at West Point. From the Point to the Presidency is a chronicle that now belongs to history, and the author has done his duty in CRUSADE IN EUROPE, MANDATE FOR CHANGE and WAGING PEACE (THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS). This book is written for fun--as he remembers his tour of duty in the Canal Zone, life with his young wife Mamie, and how, on patrol in the tropical terrain, he was tutored in Clausewitz, Tacitus, and Plato by his mentor, a little known and wonderful general named Fox Conner. He recalls his first encounter with a spirited colonel, George Patton, and his appointment, later, as aide to the already controversial general, Douglas MacArthur. Roosevelt, Churchill, Zhukov, Marshall, Bradley, SHAPE, TORCH, Columbia, NATO--the men and events and institutions that have become household words are touched upon here and illuminated, as are the lesser known people and places in a peaceful man's peacetime existence.

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