This week on Q&A, our guest is Evan Thomas, author of “Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World.” The newly released historical narrative details President Eisenhower’s eight year term in office from 1953-1961. Thomas suggests that Eisenhower used the threat of nuclear war to prevent open conflict with the Soviet Union while never fully revealing just how far he was willing to go in deploying the weapons. He also discusses the personal aspects of Eisenhower and his presidency, including his relationship with his wife, Mamie, his problems with his temper and his health, and the eight hundred rounds of golf he played during his two terms in office. We learn details of the oftentimes difficult relationships Ike had with his contemporaries, including Allen Dulles, who was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Curtis LeMay, who pushed for a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviets, and members of the press such as Joseph Alsop, a leading critic.
Evan Thomas graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School before working as a reporter for TIME for nine years. He worked for Newsweek Magazine for 24 years, where he was the author of over 100 cover stories, and twice received National Magazine Award for his coverage of the 2004 elections and the Lewinsky scandal. He is the author of eight books, including Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945. He currently teaches at Princeton University and has been a panelist on the television program “Inside Washington” for over 20 years. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Oscie. They have two adult children.