Disclaimer: I voluntarily received a copy of The Soul of an American President: The Untold Story of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Faith, by Alan Sears, Craig Osten, and Ryan Cole, from Baker Books. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been trying to read more nonfiction lately, especially about people or events in history, so when Baker offered this book, I decided to read it. The book mainly focuses on, as the title suggests, the path of Eisenhower’s faith through his life. I appreciated that the authors mentioned straight away that they weren’t looking to glorify Eisenhower, but to portray his journey as realistically as possible, flaws and all. Mainly, they seemed concerned with combating the image of Eisenhower as irreligious or secular, so a great deal of time was spent showing the many ways Eisenhower showed his faith in his talks, writings, and actions.
I didn’t know much about Eisenhower before reading this
book, so there was tons of information that I learned, such as his role in
World War II and Operation Overlord. Also interesting was his early life and
his life at the beginning of his presidency when he was baptized. I was hoping
for a little more coverage of Eisenhower’s presidential policies and decisions;
the authors covered many, mostly positive, but I felt as if the majority of his
second term was swept by or summarized too broadly. It also felt a bit as if
the authors were picking and choosing what they wanted to highlight; I can’t
fault them for that because it’s nonfiction and they picked the focus, so of
course they would pick to explain more in detail what fits best with what they
want to say, but I still hoped for more detail.
This book is about Eisenhower’s faith, and that’s what it
gives you. I learned a lot about him and the majority of the book was interesting,
though towards the end I started to skim a little. I enjoyed most the
descriptions of his life and actions up through World War II (my favorite time
period to read about!), and overall I learned more about Eisenhower, his faith,
and the things he did and tried to do to help America than I ever knew before
(admittedly, very little).