1906. With his precarious medical background, writes Ferrell, Wilson "never
should have been nominated in 1912" (p. 12), and, after a paralyzing stroke on
October 2, 1919, he would have served the country best by resigning. Warren G.
Harding's incompetent medical care, as Ferrell shows, certainly played a role in
his death in office in 1923, and the severe (and untreated) hypertension that af-
fected the later years of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency caused his fatal
stroke in April 1945.
In a concluding chapter, Ferrell briefly treats the health problems of Presi-
dents Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush. But the main focus of Ill-Advised is a detailed
medical history of President Eisenhower, which is based in large part on a mem-
oir by Dr. Thomas W. Mattingly of Walter Reed Hospital, Eisenhower's chief car-
diologist from 1952 until his death in 1969. Eisenhower suffered a major heart
attack on March 21, 1949; a minor heart attack on April 16, 1953; and another
major heart attack on September 24-25, 1955. Ferrell believes not only that
Eisenhower should never have run for the presidency in 1952, but that he re-
ceived poor medical advice about seeking a second term four years later. Despite
frank counsel from Mattingly, who was convinced that Eisenhower was quite ill,
Ike's personal physician, (Gen.) Dr. Howard McC. Snyder, and the renowned
cardiologist Dr. Paul Dudley White covered up the extent of Ike's ill health. Re-
markably, Eisenhower survived a second term; among other presidents, only An-
drew Jackson ranks with him for toughness. But Ike's serious health problems
continued: ileitis (Crohn's disease), an intestinal obstruction, during the sum-
mer of 1956; a small stroke in November 1957; a series of heart attacks and gall
bladder surgery in 1966; and bowel and bladder surgery in 1969. Eisenhower
died of a heart attack on March 28, 1969.
Ferrell skillfully mines rich sources-for example, White's papers, along with
the Eisenhower presidential papers--but he relies heavily, perhaps excessively,
on Mattingly's view of Ike's health. Ferrell concentrates, appropriately, on Eisen-
hower's cardiological disability, but could have said more about his neurological
problems; hypertension and stroke almost certainly affected his second-term
performance. Scholars expecting new information on the twentieth-century
presidency outside of Eisenhower's administration will also be disappointed.
Nonetheless, the portions of Ill-Advised that deal with the Eisenhower presiden-
cy-five out of the eight chapters and nearly one hundred pages in a book of
190 pages of text and notes-constitute one of the most detailed presidential
medical histories ever written.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro WILLIAM A. LINK
From Slave to Statesman: The Legacy of Joshua Houston, Servant to Sam Houston. By Pa-
tricia Smith Prather and Jane Clements Monday. Introduction by Dan
Rather. (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1993. Pp. xvii+276. Pref-
ace, introduction, chronology, prologue, appendix, photographs, bibliogra-
phy, index. ISBN 0-92939-847-5. $32.50.)
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed May 3, 2015.