Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon had a political and private relationship that lasted nearly 20 years, one that survived hurtful slights, tense misunderstandings, and the distance between them in age and temperament.
The two men brought out the best and worst in each other and their association had important consequences for their respective presidencies.
Veteran journalist Jeffrey Frank rediscovers these two compelling figures in a discussion of his book Ike and Dick on Thursday, September 12, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Frank offers a fresh view of the younger Nixon as a striving tactician, as well as the evermore complex person that he became.
He portrays Eisenhower, the legendary soldier, as a cold, even vain man with a warm smile whose sound instincts about war and peace far outpaced his understanding of the changes occurring in his own country.
Eisenhower and Nixon shared striking characteristics: high intelligence, cunning, and an aversion to confrontation, especially with each other. Ike and Dick traces the path of their relationship in a dangerous world of recurring crises as Nixon's ambitions grew and Eisenhower was struck by a series of debilitating illnesses.
And it shows why Eisenhower, mortally ill and despite his doubts, supported Nixon's final attempt to win the White House in 1968, a change influenced by a family matter: his grandson David's courtship of Nixon's daughter Julie - teenagers in love who understood the political stakes of their union.
Jeffrey Frank is a former senior editor at The New Yorker and deputy editor of The Washington Post's Outlook section. He is the author of four novels, including the Washington Trilogy - The Columnist, Bad Publicity, and Trudy Hopedale.
Frank's presentation is part of the 2013 Hail to the Chiefs series on the American Presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Libraryand the Truman Library Institute.The series is made possible by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund Grants.It is co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.