History is storytelling that relates to people, places, and events that actually existed at one point in time. Yet, history is still storytelling, so our understanding of history very much depends on who tells the story and why. This means that some stories we had once accepted as history turn out to be as fictional as Star Wars or The Hobbit as we learn more and hear new stories.
The Eisenhower administration (1953-1960) has had its share of stories and histories. After he left office, most historians and much of the public viewed Eisenhower as a kindly but ineffective president (when he wasn’t playing golf). In the early 1980s, Fred Greenstein’s The Hidden Hand Presidency rewrote the narrative by showing that Eisenhower took a very active role in government, but preferred to keep policy deliberations out of the public eye. Eisenhower plotted the downfall of Senator McCarthy and passed the first civil rights bill since Reconstruction, but deliberately downplayed or hid his involvement. Continue reading ““The President and the Apprentice” by Irwin F. Gellman”