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The President's Year of Crisis * Suez and the Brink of War

By David A. Nichols
Simon and Schuster



“A staggering moment of peril, vividly captured by a gifted author. . . . A riveting and relevant analysis of a sequence of events that placed the great nations of the period at the brink of a world war. . . . A pioneer in the Eisenhower landscape . . . Nichols captures all of this with his trademark precision. . . . A splendid book.” --Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times

“Eisenhower’s actions in 1956 have never received the attention they deserve. . . . Ike was at his greatest when he wasn’t waging war. . . . That is the message of Eisenhower 1956, David A. Nichols’s history of how Ike, the old hero of World War II, resisted great pressure to commit U.S. forces in the Suez Crisis and, later, the rebellion in Hungary. The whole book is a celebration of restraint.” --Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal (column)

One of “7 History Books Worth Checking Out in 2011” --Christian Science Monitor

“Absorbing. . . . Scrupulously reported . . . illuminates today’s Middle East. . . . The ‘least interventionist of any modern president,’ the father of the Eisenhower Doctrine that still defines US policy in the Middle East . . . in 1956 battled demons in bodies personal and politic and in the desert – and prevailed. Nichols’ book, written lean enough to allow the facts to speak for themselves, makes for exciting history.” --Carlo Wolff, Christian Science Monitor

“To understand events in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East today, it is essential to understand the Suez Crisis of 1956. . . . Researched with scholarly thoroughness and written with journalistic flair. . . . Nichols does an excellent job of explaining these complex matters.” --Philip Seib, Dallas Morning News

“Strongly written, meticulously researched, and inherently dramatic.” --John R. Coyne, Jr., The Washington Times [read the entire review here]

“Nichols takes readers through a detailed, highly readable account of 1956, as the increasingly unstable situation in the Middle East and the machinations of U.S. allies intertwined with Eisenhower's campaign for a second term and the health problems he was facing. . . . Fast-paced history.” --Lisa McLendon, The Wichita Eagle

“A richly contextual reappraisal of a telling year in the presidency. . . . A suspenseful study that moves chronologically through the days in which the U.S. government was on tenterhooks. . . . A solid revisiting of this compelling leader about whom we are still learning.” --Kirkus Reviews

“Nichols draws on newly declassified documents to describe with rare accuracy and immediacy how Eisenhower, recovering from a heart attack and major surgery, acted with intelligence and foresight.” --Publishers Weekly

“Nichols’ behind-the-scenes account launches from Ike’s decision to seek reelection and accelerates to minute-by-minute pace with the October 1956 attack on Egypt by Israel, which was in secret cahoots with Britain and France. . . . Nichols’ history significantly contributes to the annals of Eisenhower’s leadership.” --Booklist

“Nichols lays to rest the common misconception that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles ran foreign policy while Eisenhower played golf. It was Eisenhower’s leadership that helped bring an end to a conflict that threatened to widen into a larger war. . . . Will appeal to both 20th-century presidential history specialists and general presidential history buffs. Recommended.” --Library Journal


“David Nichols’ Eisenhower 1956 is magnificent, the definitive account of one of the most crucial years of Eisenhower’s presidency and of his most dangerous foreign crisis. Nichols’ rigorous use of primary sources is not only a model for historians, but it also makes for a superb read.” --Jean Edward Smith, author of FDR and Grant

“David Nichols’s book on Eisenhower’s momentous year is fresh and insightful—and powerful and exciting. The more we know about Ike’s subtle but masterful ability to keep the peace, the more we miss his kind in politics and government.” --Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers

Eisenhower 1956 is a wonderfully suspenseful account of perhaps the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War, and demonstrates brilliantly how well Eisenhower handled it—despite the fact that he was recovering from a heart attack—employing deft diplomacy, a matchless sense of how to use America’s power, steely firmness even towards old friends and allies, and a strong sense of what was right, in the pursuit of peace.” --Michael Korda, author of Ulysses S. Grant, Ike, and Hero

“Hampered by serious illness, President Eisenhower nevertheless brilliantly managed the Suez crisis of 1956. Historian David Nichols, using new archival documentation, reveals Ike’s strategy to bring peace to the Middle East in a riveting blow-by-blow fashion. A truly important work of scholarship. Highly recommended.” --Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior

Eisenhower 1956 is the ultimate inside story of Ike’s exemplary leadership during the world’s first nuclear crisis. Surprisingly, it is also a riveting tale that reads like a suspense thriller, ending with a narrow escape from disastrous consequences.” --Daun van Ee, editor, The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower

Eisenhower 1956 is a gripping account of Ike’s masterful handling of the Suez crisis. Set against the backdrop of the president’s two life-threatening illnesses, David A. Nichols’ penetrating examination of a potentially disastrous incident in the tinderbox of the Middle East reveals how Eisenhower’s decisive actions averted a deadly war and deterred the Soviet Union from intervening during some of the darkest days of the Cold War.” —Carlo D’Este, author of Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life and Patton: A Genius For War


[in the news]

Former Senator Chuck Hagel praised Eisenhower 1956 in an article in the Stanford Review. The senator gave copies of the book to Washington leaders, including the president, vice president and secretary of defense.

See David A. Nichols' presentation at the Atlanta History Center on C-Span.

"One of '7 History Books Worth Checking Out in 2011.'" --Christian Science Monitor

David A. Nichols analyzes Eisenhower's Year of Crisis on YouTube.

The Los Angeles Times says that Eisenhower 1956 tells of "a staggering moment of peril, vividly captured by a gifted author. It is also timely in important ways."


March 7-8, 2013
"The Eisenhower Legacy" Hunter College,
New York City NY

January 22, 2013
University of Minnesota, Mankato MN

January 19, 2013
Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul MN

January 15, 2013
"The Eisenhower Legacy"
Washington DC

October 15-16, 2012
Boller Symposium on the American Presidency
Texas Christian University

October 13, 2012
Aaron v. Cooper Conference
Harvard Law School
Cambridge MA

August 16, 2012
Premiere US-Dakata War of 1862 documentary
New Ulm NM

March 13-14, 2012
United States Air Force Academy
Speaking on the Suez Crisis of 1956

January 20, 2012
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Panel on Civil Rights
Boston MA

September 24, 2011
Kansas Book Festival

September 21, 2011
Eisenhower Institute
Gettysburg College
Gettysburg PA

September 20, 2011
Air Force Association National Meeting
Washington DC

June 15, 2011
The Robert J. Dole Institute
University of Kansas
Lawrence KS

April 22, 2011
Friday, 12:00 Noon
National Archives
700 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC
At the National Archive, April 22, 2011

April 19, 2011
Atlanta HIstory Center
Atlanta GA
Watch the Video

March 29, 2011
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Abilene KS

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