Thursday, August 3, 2017

HF Book Tours Review: The General's Women by Susan Wittig Albert

Title: The General's Women
Author: Susan Wittig Albert 
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Persevero Press
Publish Date: March 7, 2017
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From "Set during the chaotic years of World War II, The General's Women tells the story of the conflicted relationship between General Dwight Eisenhower and Kay Summersby, his Irish driver/aide, and the impact of that relationship on Mamie Eisenhower and her life in Washington during the war. Told from three alternating points of view (Kay's, Ike's, and Mamie's), the novel charts the deepening of the relationship as Ike and Kay move from England (1942) to North Africa (1942-43) to England, France, and Germany before and after the Normandy landing (1944-45). At the end of the war, Ike is faced with the heart-wrenching choice between marrying Kay and a political future.

The story continues into the post-war years, as Ike (returning to Mamie) becomes Army Chief of Staff, president of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO, and president of the United States. Kay, meanwhile, struggles to create a life and work of her own, writing two memoirs: the first (Eisenhower Was My Boss, 1948) about her war work with Ike; the second (Past Forgetting, 1976) about their love affair. An author's note deals with the complicated question of the truth of Kay's story, as it finally appears in the posthumously-published Past Forgetting."

My Two Cents:

"The General's Women" is the story of Dwight D. Eisenhower, world class general (and later President of the United States) and his relationship and subsequent affair with his driver at the height of World War II, Kay Summersby. This is a fascinating story that I don't think that I have ever heard before. I feel like most of what I know about Eisenhower is very much limited to his military career and his career as President, as well as his life in Gettysburg after retirement (I grew up about 30 minutes south of Gettysburg). I love historical fiction that can inform, enlighten, and entertain. This book does all three quite well!

I don't know about you but I think of Eisenhower as being a pretty serious guy, especially during World War II where the movement and success of American troops lay heavily on his shoulders. As this book shows, he had a deeply personal side and a bit of a passionate side as well. I love when history is turned on it's head and really appreciated how the author was able to show this side of Eisenhower. I feel like he became more real to me, flaws and all, after reading this book.

Eisenhower loved his wife, Mamie, and appreciated the role that she played as a partner, mother of his children, and military wife but he often got frustrated with her (understandable; Mamie does seem a bit high maintenance to me to say the least). I loved that the author included Mamie's POV in this book. We see the struggles that she and Ike had in their marriages and how they pushed an pulled with regard to power in many ways. Kay is the opposite of Mamie in many ways. She is down to earth. She is committed to her job. She seems calmer and more steady even with all of the chaos that is going on around her.

I found the Author's Note in the book fascinating too. Even though Kay seemed content in quietly carrying on her relationship with Ike, she does eventually write a memoir. The motivation for why she does this is fascinating to me! I'd love to find a copy of her memoirs. Overall, this is a fascinating portrait of the more personal side of one of our great military men.

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Thursday, August 3
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Creating Herstory
Friday, August 4
Review at A Holland Reads
Saturday, August 5
Feature at Passages to the Past
Sunday, August 6
Feature at Buried Under Books
Interview at Unusual Historicals
Monday, August 7
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Tuesday, August 8
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, August 9
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Guest Post at Must Read Faster
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

1 comment:

  1. I waited to read the other tour reviews until I was done and had posted mine. Well done! THIS: " I love when history is turned on it's head..." Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Lisa. My review is here


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