I'm interested in history, especially the '60s. I'm also interested in family dynamics. Going Home To Glory managed to marry these two things as it answers a question David Eisenhower was often asked: What was it like to grow up in the '60s with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) as his grandfather?
This book does several things, all of them well: Chronicles the life of "Ike" during the 60s as he adjusted to life after being president from 1953 through 1961, describes the relationship between David and Dwight and providing a different look at Ike then the one usually found in history books and memoirs.
The book was eye-opening and made me more of a fan of Ike than I was before I read this. The book was co-written by Julie Nixon, daughter of the former president. David previously wrote Eisenhower: At War, 1943-1945.
Do you get asked a lot what it's like to have a grandfather who was a former president? I think I have a better answer to that question after reading this. Was answering that one of your goals with this book? What were your other goals with this book?
For as long as I can remember, I was asked the question (what is it like to be Grandson of the President/General?), and I think I answer the question as best I can in the book. My objective in doing the book was to address/answer two slightly different questions: "What was it about DDE that made him a national and international leader for over two decades? What kind of person was he?"
Do you compare notes with others about what their childhood was like and how different yours was? What are the pros and cons of having a grandfather who was a president and general?
There were many pros in being the grandson of the President. To begin with, being grandson meant automatic acceptability in school, which is so important for grade-schoolers and teenagers. Being grandson meant exposure to unusual situations and experiences, which have fired a lifetime curiosity for history and inspired my professional life. It meant access to certain events and the opportunity to meet history makers, making people and places vivid, and making postwar American and international history come alive. It's hard to think of "cons"-- as a boy and teenager, I was fortunate and I knew it.
I blushed on your behalf at you receiving that letter from Eisenhower telling you to be more careful about who you kiss. How embarrassing was that?
Not that embarassing, really. In his letter, Granddad teased me about my mononucleosis diagnosis. To be honest, the doctors at Exeter painted a very dark picture of "mono" and having the condition was worrisome. My "mono" symptoms dragged on for many months — Granddad's cheerfulness about it gave me an important lift.