three days
THREE DAYS IN JANUARY: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission
By Bret Baier
368 pages
Published by William Morrow
ISBN-10: 006259031
ISBN-13: 978-006259035
Reviewed by Charles Johnson

President Dwight Eisenhower gave us a life of service to our country – namely, a distinguished military career followed by a fine two terms as our president. In the book THREE DAYS IN JANUARY, author Bret Baier focuses how the flow of Eisenhower’s life led to the transition of his presidency to that of a young John F. Kennedy, complete with the hopes and concerns that Ike (Eisenhower, that is) shared with the incoming man from Massachusetts.

The author Bret Baier, using a clear, informative style, fills the first part of the book with a biography of Ike – his family, his schooling, his military training – all of which shaped his philosophies in what became his style as he took over the White House in 1952. From there, the reader is surrounded effectively by the author’s explanation of how Ike’s past influenced decisions made as he served as president – and then as he prepared himself to hand over the presidency. There are organizational skills, there’s seeking the advice of the experts and those who were learned in the field in which Ike needed guidance, there’s the strong leadership that Ike brought to the White House that was so very perfect. To wrap up the book, Eisenhower’s thought processes of how to end his eight years in the White House come to bear upon the reader. Ike had seen the merger of the military world and the industrial world – and how those two entities had come to unite into a strong unit, capable of both great and horrible things that ranged from the obvious military and economic factors to the philosophical notion that the military-industrial complex might wield an influence on government that could be crucial to the future. Also, how was Ike to pass this concept onward to his successor while a world is dealing with a nuclear arms race, Castro in Cuba, Russian leadership wavering for a while and finally settling on Nikita Kruschev?

Bret Baier spells it out for us. The transition from Truman to Eisenhower was not necessarily a smooth, amicable time. Because of this, Eisenhower wanted ensure that JFK was fully informed, totally ready, and as comfortable as possible. If there were to be a successful passing of the torch, all this need to occur.

Baier concludes his book with the thought that it such transitions must the smooth. He concludes the book, noting that as he wrote the end, Donald Trump was about to receive the reins of government from Barak Obama – and would there indeed be as smooth a transition as there was from Ike to JFK.

Time will tell if Baier’s record of the switch in 1961 had any bearing on the switch in 2017.