"Eisenhower was a five-star general of the US Army who served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe...1944-45....As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, kept up the pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System."
Sounds like quite an accomplished guy, huh? I had never read anything very critical about Eisenhower until I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barabara Kingsolver. The book is truly, in my average-joe-reader opinion, a master-piece of literature, of story-telling, of creating multiple (6 in number) full-blooded, sharply etched, distinct protagonists and of using writing to establish a record of history from the point of view of the vanquished instead of the victor, of using writing to deliver a moral rebuke, a sharp awakening slap, to the powerful and empowered who, blinded by a sense of their own moral superiority, act to oppress thousands in the garb of salvaging their lives and souls.
Written in the late 90s and set in the 60s during the struggle for Congo's independence; the Poisonwood Bible has 6 protagonists - 1 woman and mother, 4 pre-teen to teenaged daughters and The Congo, the heart of the Dark Continent. The five female characters are ruled by the family patriarch, a born-again evangelical priest who, convinced of his sacred mission to save the heathen Congolese tribes by converting them Christianity, moves his entire unwilling family from
Most of the book is dedicated to the hapless family's tribulations but Kingsolver seamlessly weaves in the emerging turmoil in the
“In 1975…a group of senators called The Church Committee… found notes from secret meetings of the National Security Council and President Eisenhower. In their locked room, these men had put their heads together and proclaimed Patrice Lumumba a danger to the safety of the world. The same Patrice Lumumba, mind you, who washed his face each morning from a dented tin bowl, relieved himself in a carefully chosen bush and went out to seek the faces of his nation. Imagine if he could have heard those words – a danger to the safety of the world! – from a roomful of white men who held in their manicured hands the disposition of armies and atomic bombs, the power to extinguish every life on earth…And President Eisenhower was right then sending orders to take over the Congo…he’d made up his mind about things. He’d given Lumumba a chance he felt. The
After 51 days in power, Lumumba was overthrown by the army led by Mobutu Sese-Seko who was backed by the CIA and Belgium. Lumumba was first imprisoned and then beaten to death. There were many other parts to the plot including a Belgian-incited rebellion in
Its difficult to describe how angry and sad I felt at reading what had been done to the
We might have given George Bush too much credit...even on perhaps the best articulated doctrine of his Presidency. For once that discovery makes me sad.