Eisenhower at Columbia
From the beginning of World War II until he left the White House in early 1961, Dwight David Eisenhower played a leadership role on the world stage. This was longer than any American since George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. His Columbia presidency was part of this period, yet the story has not been told. Scholars have repeated earlier critical contemporary assessments and largely dismissed or ignored that part of his career. Jacobs seeks to answer many of the open-ended questions about Eisenhower's tenure as successor to Nicholas Murray Butler, whom many consider the greatest university president of the century. Jacobs examines previously unused sources to analyze Eisenhower's leadership and accomplishments, his goals and intentions, and whether his presidency at Columbia, generally considered a failure, ever had a chance of succeeding.
This insightful, well-written volume covers the years that played such a vital role in Dwight D. Eisenhower's journey to the White House. Jacobs reviews Eisenhower's appointment as chief of staff after his return from Europe after V-E Day, and, concurrently, looks at Columbia's difficulties in its troubled search for a president. He examines the deliberations on both sides before Eisenhower's acceptance of Columbia's presidency, and the circumstances surrounding his arrival and installation. Jacobs covers Eisenhower's subsequent leave of absence and return to duty at the Pentagon as NATO commander and the impact of his extended absence from Columbia. He resigned on the eve of his inauguration as president of the United States. Jacobs recounts the hostility of campus liberal intellectuals who had increasingly resented Eisenhower's presidency and were offended by the New York Times's endorsement of Eisenhower over Adlai E. Stevenson for the 1952 presidential campaign. Jacobs views Eisenhower's years as university president as playing a significant role in preparing him for his White House years.
A thorough assessment of Eisenhower's career on Morningside Heights is long overdue. Jacobs' insights on Eisenhower's presidency at Columbia will be of interest to Eisenhower's biographers, college and university administrators, American studies students, and the general public, curious about Eisenhower's public service as a civilian, before he became U. S. president.