Ike! Where Are You When We Really Need You?
Were he faced with war in the Middle East and staggering problems like terrorism, immigration, health care, a $9.2 trillion national debt, a congress paralyzed by anger and inaction, and a nation in economic thrall to the world, Ike would step in, prioritize issues, knock heads and make the country work.
My father wrote the first biography of Eisenhower, and as a result, the Eisenhowers and the Hatches became friends. Recently I stumbled on an unpublished memoir by my father that gives insight into the greatest man I will ever have known, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
All I can say is, “General Ike! Where are you now that we really need you?”
From Alden Hatch’s Unpublished Memoir
Late in December 1943, the White House announced that the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied armies in Europe would be General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Having just finished “Young Willkie,” I was eagerly looking for a new subject. One night at a dinner party at the River Club someone, whose name I have ungratefully forgotten, suggested Ike. That was it! If he gained a great victory he would be the hero of America; if defeated, he would be a villain. Either way people would read about him.
On January 2, 1944, 1 rushed in to see [my agent] Anne Watkins. She offered the idea to Harcourt-Brace, who turned it down. A telephone call to Henry Holt and Company brought a favorable reaction and an appointment for that afternoon. “Go over to the public library and make yourself an expert on Ike,” Anne Watkins said.
There was extraordinarily little about Eisenhower in the library. Although he had commanded the invasion of North Africa, the Sicilian Campaign and the landings at Salerno in Italy, there were only a few magazine articles, most of them erroneous. Crammed with misinformation, I presented myself at Holt and talked as though I had been studying Ike’s career for years. The result was an immediate contract.