The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985

Book Reviews

Ambrose is not uncritical. He admits that Eisenhower was too cau-
tious a general, lacking in ruthlessness and unwilling to take full ad-
vantage of sudden opportunities. Nor was loyalty his most notable
trait. His friendship with Kay Summersby, while probably no more
than companionship, strained his marriage and deeply wounded
Mamie; he repaid the patronage of his two most famous benefactors
by damning Douglas MacArthur to his friends and turning his back
on George C. Marshall during the 1952 presidential campaign. But
despite these failings, Eisenhower displayed impressive qualities of
leadership. He was, as Ambrose demonstrates, an organizational ge-
nius, whose ability to bring men together and form them into ef-
fective, smoothly functioning teams marked his army career, from
his initial success as a football coach to his brilliant coordination of
British, French, and American efforts in World War II.
Ambrose's earlier book on Ike's wartime leadership and his role
in editing the Eisenhower papers has given him both a familiarity
with his subject and a working knowledge of Ike's voluminous writing
that endows his account with a remarkable authenticity. By focusing
on Eisenhower the man, he succeeds in bringing him to life and per-
suading the reader that he was indeed a remarkable human being. It
is by far the best account of Eisenhower's life yet to appear; one can
only hope that Ambrose will be as successful in treating Eisenhower
as president in his second volume.
The University of Texas at Austin ROBERT A. DIVINE
Correspondence of James K. Polk, Vol. VI, x842-r843. Edited by
Wayne Cutler and Carese M. Parker. (Nashville: Vanderbilt Uni-
versity Press, 1983. Pp. xxvi+726. Preface, symbols, chronology,
calendar of correspondence, index. $30.)
This volume of the James K. Polk Papers covers two important
years in the life of the man who became the eleventh president of the
United States. To tell the story, editor Wayne Cutler and his staff se-
lected 277 letters to and from Polk; most are printed in their entirety,
with a few abstracted. Although the printed letters constitute a se-
lection of those available, the editor does not provide guidelines for
inclusion. As I said in a review of the previous volume, a full state-
ment should be made on selection procedures. One further comment
about the editorial apparatus: this volume contains a partially an-
notated calendar of all the letters published here and in the previous
five volumes. Aware of the precarious health of such scholarly edi-

log

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/. Accessed August 1, 2014.