Ike and McCarthy

Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy

Ike and McCarthy

Revealed for the first time, this is the full story of how President Dwight Eisenhower masterminded the downfall of the anti-Communist demagogue Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Behind the scenes, Eisenhower loathed McCarthy, the powerful Republican senator notorious for his anti-Communist witch hunt. In spite of a public perception that Eisenhower was unwilling to challenge McCarthy, Ike believed that directly confronting the senator would diminish the presidency. Therefore, the president operated with a “hidden hand,” refusing even to mention the Senator’s name.

In Ike and McCarthy, David A Nichols shows how the tension between the two men escalated. In a direct challenge to Eisenhower, McCarthy alleged that the US Army was harboring communists and launched an investigation. But the senator had unwittingly signed his own political death warrant. The White House employed surrogates to conduct a clandestine campaign against McCarthy and was not above using information about the private lives of McCarthy’s aides as ammunition.

In January 1954 McCarthy was arguably the most powerful member of the Senate. By the end of that year, he had been censured by his colleagues for unbecoming conduct. Eisenhower’s covert operation had discredited the senator months earlier, exploiting the controversy that resulted from the televised Army-McCarthy hearings. McCarthy would never recover his lost prestige. Nichols uses documents previously unavailable or overlooked to authenticate the extraordinary story of Eisenhower’s anti-McCarthy campaign. Ike and McCarthy is an eye-opening, newsworthy, and fascinating read.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451686609 | 
  • March 2017
List Price $27.95 (price may vary by retailer)
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About the Author

David A. Nichols
Photograph by Gary E. Hanna

David A. Nichols

David A. Nichols, a leading expert on the Eisenhower presidency, holds a PhD in history from the College of William and Mary. A former professor and academic dean at Southwestern College, he is the author of A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution; Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis; and Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy; as well as other books. He lives in Winfield, Kansas.

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