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Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower

Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower

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Author's Notes on Second Edition:

Before going to West Point, Dwight D. Eisenhower

took a job at a local creamery. This was also where his father

worked as a refrigeration engineer. A portion of his pay went

to funding his brother's college education, and Ike himself

was without concrete plans for his future. One day on the job,

Eisenhower accidentally fell into a large cooling tank filled with

cold salt water. After his coworkers pulled him out, he looked at

his saviors and said, "You should have pushed me under."

It's hard to imagine this man years later, pacing the

grounds of Greenham Common Airfield as the D-Day invasion

was in full swing. Before he became himself, he was a Kansan

who drove a battery-operated car designed for women and barely

managed entry into West Point on football scholarship. He spent

his time in training dreaming of moving to South America and

becoming a Cowboy (a fate that almost came to fruition). His

wife and her father refused to let him become a pilot, so he

settled for work that propelled him to victory of fascism, the

presidency, and world wide admiration.

Somewhere in there, he managed to prop up some pet

dictators in Latin America and seal us into a very long and cold

ideological war. He was a Republican who created federal jobs,

favored a 90 percent corporate tax rate, and expanded social

security. He was a unionist and a man of business. He was a

soldier who ended his presidency with a chilling speech that

accurately predicted our future reliance on the military industrial

complex and shunned war outright as impractical and outright evil.

Hypocrisy and complexity are two sides of something,

I'm sure. To be honest, I don't know where to draw the line, nor

can I guarantee that if one were to venture into the space between,

that there would be anything worth a second glance. However, I

am moved by the stories within, and have done my best to stay

true to my instinctual, though fickle inclinations.

This edition is not much different than the first. It

features far less commentary and a little more poetry. A few of

the poems have been edited. The original edition was the raw,

unvetted text of a Master's thesis. This is something else; this is

at the very least something new.

Timothy Tarkelly

March 2, 2023

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