Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Struggle to Save the World

January 31, 2013

4:30pm - 6:00pm

Santa Monica


A Conversation Between Author Evan Thomas and Susan Eisenhower, President, Eisenhower Group



Ike's Bluff
At the height of Pax Americana, the man credited with liberating Europe a few years earlier presided over the era of McCarthyism and "Howdy Doody" with a bland, reassuring demeanor. Some thought Dwight D. Eisenhower was in over his head. Yet he boldly wielded the nation's new thermonuclear arsenal as a tool of geopolitical strategy and persuasion. The hydrogen bomb was a weapon that could not be used, author Evan Thomas explains, but gave Ike a powerful bluff in the service of enforcing stability and averting war.

Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas
Susan Eisenhower
Susan Eisenhower

At this Milken Institute Forum, Thomas, a historian and former longtime Washington bureau chief for Newsweek, will be joined by the 34th president's granddaughter, strategic consultant and nuclear issues expert Susan Eisenhower, for a conversation about Ike's wise use of power as well as his family life while history was being made and the threat of annihilation was becoming a fact of life.

The pair will cast light on the risks the world faced at the time and the character of the man who kept them from exploding. "Thomas doesn't neglect his subject's flaws," wrote the New York Times, "and his detailed, engaging picture of Eisenhower's personality brings him vividly to life."

Evan Thomas, a former Newsweek editor-at-large and Washington bureau chief, is the author of eight books, including "Ike's Bluff," "The War Lovers," and "Robert Kennedy: His Life," as well as more than 100 cover stories. He has been honored with two National Magazine Awards and has been a commentator on numerous public affairs television shows, including "Inside Washington" and "Charlie Rose." Currently, Thomas is a Ferris professor in residence at Princeton University. He is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School.

Susan Eisenhower is president of the Eisenhower Group, Inc., which provides strategic counsel on political, business and public affairs projects. She also chairs leadership and public policy programs at the Eisenhower Institute, where she was the founding director and first president. She was a member of the Obama administration's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future, currently serves on the Nuclear Threat Initiative board and the Energy Future Coalition, and advises the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy. Eisenhower has received four honorary doctorates, most recently from the Monterey Institute, where she was cited for her work on nuclear nonproliferation.