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We are so honored to have Michael Korda with us tonight to present his stunning new book, "Ike: An American Hero". The first single volume biography of Dwight Eisenhower appeared in many years. In this compelling and highly readable epic, Michael gives us a new portrait of this American figure one that is frank, revealing and also gives a gives fresh attention to his wife Mamie Eisenhower herself from Denver. During these 35 years, this editor and chief at Simon & Schuster, Michael Korda spent many years putting authors on the New York Times best seller list. So it is natural that many of his own books have landed on this 16 lists including "Journey to a Revolution", "Horse People", "Country Matters", a book about his life in Dutchess county New York with his wife where he lives with his loved wife and horses. And lets see his novel "Queenie", "Charmed Lives" and "Ulysses S. Grant" and it is good also to know that this, his latest book has also taken up bruits on the New York Times list. We are so glad to welcome a man with such expertise and knowledge of the publishing industry. A man and writer who exceeds in obvious passion for books, please give a warm welcome to Michael Korda. Thank you. I am particularly happy to be in Denver because Mamie came from here. The downs played a very large role in Ike's life and continued to do so through out his life even when he was president. I am most of all happy because, Ike himself visited Denver often, liked it, lived here for a time, when he was president and it contained many of the things that he liked best climate, places to play golf, good states. Let me begin by saying that there is a reason for writing a biography of Dwight Eisenhower and there is also a good reason to read it. Ours is neither a nation nor a culture given to extend it here worship. Ralph Waldo Emerson understood his own country men only too well when he wrote, "Every hero becomes a bore at last". After all, within Emerson's own life time, he would see both Andrew Jackson and he will list this as grand cut down to size. There is simply no place in American life for the injuring national cult of the hero, no equivalent of France's fierce national passion for Napoleon. A cult strangely by no means limited to France or England's sentimental hero worship of Nelson and increasingly of Winston Churchill. Perhaps it is the price of being a democracy and of a deep inherent distrust of the very idea of an elite. Americans are all egalitarians of heart or at least feel obliged to pay homage to the idea. We have a natural tendency to nibble a way at the great figures of our past, to cut them to size, to dig through their lives for flaws, mistakes and weaknesses, to judge them severely by the standards and beliefs of the present rather than those that prevailed when they were alive. Thus, Washington has been marginalized as a "Dead White Male" as wild a slave owner. Remembered more for his ill fitting false steer for the story of the cherry tree than for his generalship. Thus Jefferson has been down graded from his lofty position as the author of the Declaration of Independence to be entreated as yet another slave owner and also a spendthrift and a hypocrite. Thus tomb sits forlorn and seldom visited on river side drive in a 120 seconds through the New York City despite the fact that it was until the beginning of the first world war, a bigger tourist attraction than the statue of is a simple fact of American life. This urge to splash Graffiti on the pantheon of our national heroes. In other countries or cultures, the building of national heroes is a full time job respected a grand rewarding. In France, with membership in the academy of houses and their usual don ale. In the united kingdom with knighthoods and a cozy place in the cultural establishment. While they are you know as whole profitable segments of the media and publishing industries prosper about tearing them down. Sixth transit glory on Mundey might as well be our national motto. Already it is our lifetime for example Dwight Eisenhower underwent a rapid transition from world class five stared hero status to being dismissed by many as out of judgment for what was happening in the country. More interested it is golf score than in politics death or at least hard of hearing to the pleads of civil rights leaders and towards the end of his - years in offices overshadowed by the youth and glamour of Jack Kennedy. The 1950s, the Eisenhower years still counter up to most people a world that seems far removed from our own even to those who came of age in it. Men wearing hats with narrow brims, suits with narrow lapels, huge great tail fitting cars gleaming with cloven and guzzling cheap gas, the dizzyingly rapid growth of the suburbs, the fiction of women has happy contended house wives, McCarthyism, the height of the cold war, the threat of nuclear warfare, the missile gap an age when cigarettes weren't considered harmful, the pill had yet to be invented, hem lines ended below the knee. And when conformity at least on the surface ruled the country. Ike, as he was referred to by everyone presided over this now vanished America. Benign, avuncular, occasionally, exasperated. His idea were good evening, were said to be working all westerns on televisions. The president's Mrs. Eisenhower seated side by side in front of the set with a television train for each of them. His idea of a good meal, a scratch on the rocks, and a rare stake. All alike with his big trade mark grin looked like a gregarious soul. This wasn't part of a sign, a protective mechanism like a lot of things about it. True, he had grown up poor in Abilene, Kansan. But he was also a West Pointer a five stared general and a former supreme commander a man who to quote Keply "had walked with king's nor lost the common touch and dealt as an equal with Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and De Gaulle. Decades after serving two terms as a vice president, Richard Nixon whom I edited for several books was still complaining to anybody who were listening, including myself how seldom, the Eisenhower had ever invited the Nixons to a cozy private dinner at the white house, just the four of them together. A subject about Mrs. Nixon often, expressed to the very end of our life, what was for her a very rare degree of resentment. It has become conventional wisdom to believe that Ike's heart wasn't in politics, well like another victorious American general Ulysses S. Grant, he accepted the presidency more out of a sense of of obligation and as a reward for victory rather than for many desire to run the country. But this is untrue, part of the Ike myth. The real Ike was a supremely gifted politician with an intimate knowledge of Washington and how it works. Gained and parked from serving seven years at General Douglas McCarthy's Military Aid. He was also furiously ambitious and competitive with a carefully homed gift for conceiving the fact. He had a terrifying triggered temper despite the bit small and the firm hand shake and a brilliant frustrate mind which he does as best to hide partly out of genuine modesty. Partly because he had learned how to play poker from a master as a boy in his teams. Indeed throughout his long career and uniform, he was widely recognized as the best poker and bridge player in the United States army in an age when that mattered. And not surprisingly, for a soldier, he could curse and did curse like a trooper. My friend Henry Kissinger also an author, many of whose books I have edited and published still remembers today and told me last week at dinner in Connecticut, being on the receiving end of a diet right from Ike over the phone when he was Nixon's national security advisor. Shortly after reaching the white house, Nixon had sent Kissinger to Ike's hospital where he was in the throws of deep heart problems. That would eventually kill him, to explain to Ike what Nixon's foreign policy would be and to sound out Ike's view on the on those policies. Kissinger had been struck by how enormously well informed, intelligent and sensible Ike's point of view was and when he arrived at his desk the next morning early in the morning at 7.30 AM he was astonished when the phone rang and he picked it up and it was Eisenhower from his hospital room cursing Kissinger at the top of his voice and here - I got to address this to Henry - Henry said never never never in my entire life has any body ever spoken to me like that, he cursed me for a five or six minutes non stop he never stopped for breath, I heard words which I never heard ever in my life before in English finally I apologized to him and I hung up. Turned out that what Ike had told Kissinger appeared that morning on the front page of the Washington post and Ike assumed that Kissinger have leaked it to the Washington post and was furious that leak that Kissinger had there by betrayed Nixon, all though the truth was if Henry has to the belief that it was Nixon who leaked it to the Washington post and Kissinger was innocent. Nevertheless Kissinger says and says with his hand on his heart that to hear Ike swear was to hear something altogether extra ordinary and this is born out by others when Ike dissented even as a second lieutenant, a solider who he thought was not doing what his duty was or was improperly dressed, his face turned this color - purple red his the veins in his shamble throbbed, he you know these cold blue eyes and you knew - you you were great again to put it bluntly you are as reeled and no doubt about it. Ike's temper was amazing, none other than General George S Patton remarked that the only person apart from Mrs. Patton who made him quite at the least Ike when he was angry I and Ike was often angry at Patton and had reason to be and Ike let go at Elmore Bradley during the battle of the balls in 19 the winter of 1944 in a burst of temper that took Elmore Bradley by such surprise that he was still tongue fruitful about it, 15 years later so we are looking at a very different man from the genial, avuncular smiling man that was sullen to us by the publican publicists when Ike finally decided to run for the president seat. Where is he - more even to Ike's skill as a card player that meets the eye for Ike came on his father's side from solid Mennonite stock, beauty German speaking farmers not one like their neighbors in the in Pennsylvania or the Amish, black hated with white brims, black froth coats down to the knees, big stout boots, they prayed in Germany even when they spoke to their neighbors at English and word of course against card play liquor or smoking not against it - it was simply not allowed in their homes and were bubble and absolutely scrutavous and determined pacifist to a man indeed the reason why so many Mennonites including Ike's formidable grandfather ended up in Abilene Kansan, a former Carlow town was that their neighbors in Pennsylvania were not unflattering the civil war by the fact that the Mennonites were pro-Lincoln, pro-union, anti slavery but of course refused to join the army or let their children join the army, so it was with some dispatch that the Mennonites moved to Abilene after the end of the civil war. Ike's beloved mother not only converted to Mennonism in order to marry his father but wore a prayer cap for a long time and a prayer apron and a dress button to the neck when she was married, never showed hair - that prayer cap all can't see a bit and converted a second time in mid life to becoming a Jehovah's witness a religion which of course did not allow card playing and is even more devoted to pacifism than the Mennonites are. So this is already a fascinating part of Ike's story. How did the boy from Abilene grow to attend the United States military academy and become a soldier and make warfare his career? As late as the second world war, his mother led down in to old age his mother still find it impossible to explain to the other Jehovah's witnesses how it was that she had allowed her father and her son to join the army and was very ambivalent about Ike's success as a general since it involved killing people. Needless to say that together with the fact that Ike supported himself as a second lieutenant on his poker winnings at west point is one of the many mysteries in his life for biography to explore sufficient to say, it is a great story and not a simple one. One of the saddest thing about the way our country no longer learns or teaches its own history, let alone any body else's. It is that every body have any consequence and it gets ruthlessly over simplified and destroyed. Some attention is paid to leak in psychological complexity because he is our national marker but what to people even supposed to be well educated people really know today about Woodrow Wilson or Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Dwight Eisenhower. Let us begin with the obvious, with the possible exception of grant, Ike was the best general this country ever produced he planed and led not one but three enormous unprecedented and ultimately successful amphibious invasions of North Africa in 1942, of Sicily in 1943 and of Normandy in 1944. We must remember too that what history gives us if nothing else of window to the past those who are living through have no equivalent clear view ahead, Germany was at the peak of her power in 1942 and there seemed no good reason why Hitler should not win the war. Victory was not a sure thing. It took Ike six months and cost 70,000 causalities to win in Tunisia. The Germans fought fiercely in Sicily despite the clubs of their Italian allies and D-Day was the narrowest triumph, so it might have turned in to a disaster. It was Ike's task to destroy the armed forces of Nazi Germany an army that was so second to none in experience professional skill and fighting spirit and driven by a level of fanaticism but was still a formidable asset. Because we look backwards at Ike's victories, we tend assume, we tend to assume if they were inevitable, but they were nothing of this sort. No was Ike just as a successful general, he was a supreme commander, a lieder correlation of fractious and difficult allies to victory, the hardest job in warfare. We know let in a four stared general commands perhaps a 160,000 troops in the field in Iraq. In June of 1944 I commanded over three million men, one point seven million of them American, one million of them British and Canadian, the rest three French, Polish, Norwegian Czech, Belgium and Dutch. Not since the juke of Valentine on 1815 before the battle of Waterloo had one man commanded such an international force. It was in fact the largest and most complicated international alliance in history and surely the most formidable, Ike had under his command over a 11,000 air craft, seven thousand ships, he had 170,000 men already at sea as he sat down at 9.30pm on the night of June 4th 1944 in the middle of continuing bad weather and high seas to make the final decision as to whether to carry out the invasion of Europe on June six or postpone until later in the month or even to July. He was supreme commander, allied forces in Europe, it was his decision and his alone to make. He was under no obligation to consult with any one nor did he. Ike's orders simply read and I quote "You will enter the continents of Europe and in conjunction with the other United Nations, undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany and the total destruction of her armed forces". As Ike set chain smoking, forty a day in the library, in Southern California airport with listening to the wind and the rain rattled the blacked out windows, the foremost flexibility for the most mentis and critical decision of world war two rested entirely on his shoulders. The meteorologists had given their forecast. His Ground Commander, General Sir Bernard Montgomery had given his opinion as had his Naval Commander, Admiral Sir Bertram H Ramsay; his Air Commander, Air chief marshal Sir. Trafford Leigh Mallory and his Deputy Air Chief Marshal, Sir Arthur Tedder. There was nothing more to learn or say. I did not call Washington for advice or orders on this scamper flow. He sat in silence smoking for almost three minutes. Those who were present remember the ticking of a clock in the room. Then, slowly he said, "I am quite positive, I must give the order. I don't like it but there it is. I don't see I can do it anything else. Then as his subordinate commanders rushed after the telephones and the telex machines, Ike stood up and left the room. He had given the order. The invasion would now take place in the morning of June 6th and nothing under the earth could stop it. And he went back to the rain to the simple trailer where he lived and sat down to write on a small piece of paper with his fountain pen, what he would say to the press the next morning if the invasion failed. He wrote, "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available to me. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone." He folded this note up and put it in the breast pocket of his short uniform jacket; It was already becoming known as an Eisenhower jacket. And button the pockets so he would know where to find it if he needed in the morning. As we all know, he did not need it. The chances of the invasion succeeding, he rated it no better than 50-50. It was the greatest gamble of the war. But I put it off and the note was never read. There is however in this glebes of Ike, everything that made him a great Commander and an American hero. Humility, the strength the accept crushing responsibility, the willingness to admit it when he made a mistake, the courage to do what look like the impossible and to do it with a grim that it made it look easy. It is easy now to forget the battles he fought and won, about how he turned a humiliating defeat in Tunisia into a victory. At one point advancing himself towards the German attack with his pistol drawn, perhaps the only soldier in order to do such thing in the history of both World Wars. It is easy not to forget about how hard that war was and how much of it was fought under Ike's command. The near thing is Salerno, when the allied armies were almost driven off the beaches by the shear ferocity of the German counter attack and when destroyers came in so close to the shore, that they fought gun battles which German Tiger tanks on the beaches until the tubes of the destroyers guns turned red hot. It is easy to forget about the battle of Sand low and the closing of the fellows gap when men advanced over thousands of corpses. About the liberation of Paris and the airborne drop on Ireland and the battle that bulge in the crossing of the. In each of these battles all through the tragedies and catastrophes of war, Ike kept his cool, retained and communicated to all his soldiers whatever their rank, his optimism. Stuck to his plans, dealt with such difficult sub ordinates as Monty and George Patton. So was he defended against such William and pre-methodologist, Winston Churchill, Charles DeGaulle and Stalin, his strategy for victory. And in the end achieve just what he had promised to do when he accepted the German surrender at last and addressed the German General for the first and only time in the Second World War, telling colonel General "You will officially and personally be held responsible if the terms of your surrender are violated including his provision for German Commanders to appear at the moment set by the Russian High Command to accomplish the formal surrender to that government. That is all, You are dismissed." He then sat down and dictated a cable to Washington with the shortest most personally modest and least triumphal message of victory since that of grants from that matters. "The mission of this allied force was fulfilled at 02:41, local time May 7th 1945 signed Eisenhower" I quote down from that great victory to become the President of Columbian University. The Architect and the First Supreme Commander of NATO and eventually President of the United States. As President, he ended the war in Korea with an armistice that is still in place 56 years later. He guided the country through the dangers of a cold war. He kept the peace for 8 years. He presided over the rebuilding of the Europe and when challenged by Governor Arthur Forbes of Arkansas, over the Supreme Court Decision requiring the inter school segregation, Ike rejected the use of US Marshals, police officers and FBI Agents and instead unhesitatingly used the fully armed troopers of the 101 Airborne, one of the Air-borne divisions that had dropped enormity disorders on the night of the June 5th. To escort back students through angry mobs into the High School in Little Rock. Ike wanted peace, earned and worked for it at home and abroad. But he knew that when the United States was obliged to use force whether it was in Little Rock or enormity it must be maximum irresistible force with a moral backing in the involvement of all Americans in support of a well thought plan for total victory. He has best summed up I think in his own words that there is important today is that were nearly 50 years ago when he was President. And should perhaps be studied with some attention by those in office and even by those who inspired to the into the oval office. On the subject of defense for example, Ike said, "Every gun that is made every warship launched, every rocket fired represents it in a final analysis are threats from those who are hunger and who are not fed, who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is just not spending money alone. He is just spending sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children". Half from Generosity, half from Presidents since have ever spoken so elegantly on the subject to defense pending as that. On the subject of Vietnam, Ike said no one could be more bitterly opposed to ever get in the United States involved in a hot war in that region than I am. I could not conceive of a greater tragedy for America. On the subject of Social Security, the boy who grew up poor in Abilene defy the right wing of his own party and said, "Should any political party attempt to a borsches tinker with social security, you would not hear that party in the long run again in our political history. Nobody would have been angry than Ike who was probably receiving social security than recent attempts to undermine. Ike has a certain reputation for global syntax at his speeches. But I have to say that a matters the concerned and he has spoken well, but the clarity that always characterizes his orders. For example on a subject that concerns us all today, we would do well perhaps to listen to what Ike a great general had to say. "The United States has no business transforming itself into an occupying power in a seeding Arab World. I am sure we would regret it." I don't think any body could afford it better and this, from the man who had conquered Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia; and therefore knew whereas he spoke. It is time I believe to recognize not only Dwight D Eisenhower's skill as a General. But his wisdom in humanity as a president. And to appreciate the extent to which the survival of America depended for so many years on his home spun virtues, - honesty, modesty, hard work, devotion to duty, personal courage. He was I believe a true American hero. It was a pleasure to write a book about him.