Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency Dwight D. Eisenhower the West  CSPAN  December 21, 2017 5:47pm-6:30pm EST

5:47 pm
king jr.'s speech, we must mark king now if we have not before, as the most dangerous negro in the future of this nation from the standpoint of communism, the negro and the national security. >> sunday at 4:30 p.m. eastern, former members of congress and vietnam war veterans reflect on lessons learned and ignored during the war. >> we learned the limits of military power during the vietnam war. we learned that as a society, as culture that you can't kill an idea with a bullet. >> american history tv. this weekend only on cspan 3. american history tv in prime time. focusing on the american west and cowboy culture. up next, how president dwight eisenhower's western upbringing influenced his personal code of behavior and his actions as a military and political leader.
5:48 pm
>> we are pleased to have our own tim reeves here. he is our deputy director and our supervisory archivist. he is my go to guy on administration related questions. i rely on him greatly. but he is here to speak to you today and the western influences on our beloved president ike eisenhower. tim came to the eisenhower library in 2008 from the national archives in kansas city. he's a graduate of wichita state and impore area state and served in the yunited states army for five years. thank you for your service. tim is the author of many articles on a variety of subjects. these include eisenhower, of course, d day, the presidency of grant, and prison baseball. of course.
5:49 pm
so i hope that you enjoy our program today. please welcome with me, tim reeves. [applause. >> okay. well, thanks, everybody. and great to see such a nice turnout during the middle of the week and really appreciate it again. we know that the food has a large part in the attraction of these events. not just the wonderful speakers that we attract. and so again, thanks to the foundation and the miller nichols trust. well all this started, my interest in ike and the old west, really a couple of years ago, in 2015. because it was the 125th anniversary of ike's birth. and 1809, the year that ike was born was also the year that the frontier was declared closed. and so he did a number of programs looking at ike as 125 years and i did one on the
5:50 pm
influence of the frontier on eisenhower's political thinking and his imagination. i'll include a little bit of that today, but i really want to look t what i see as three influences that developed here in abilene on eisenhower as a young man and that you can see traces of throughout his life and his military career and his presidency. as you know, we are right at the matrix in many ways of the history of the old west, the lore and legend of the old west. the ground beneath this floor was used to pasture cattle who made that long trek up the trail between 1867 and 1871 so they could fatten them up for market before they were shipped out. just a couple hundred feet to your right buckeye street was the chisolm trail and a couple hundred feet to the left is the boyhood home of dwight eisenhower. eisenhower grew up from old west center of history. from the beginning he was aware of the history. i read an account by his brother edgar and this was confirmed by
5:51 pm
a letter that ike wrote to a friend of his that he began reading polk westerns, pol novels about the west when he was just a small boy. he would take proceeds from the vegetables he would sell from their family garden in order to buy the magazines and books. he mentioned the neighbor in his auto biography "at ease." he lived across the street. the home is no longer there. a guy named george dudley who claimed to have been a marshall under wild bill hickock. i think a lot of people made that claim during that time period. he said mr. dudley shared with him stories of hickock's prowess as a revolver. eisenhower knew many people in abilene who had lived through those years. he wasn't that far removed. the heyday of the cattle trade, again, '67 to '71 and eisenhower was born in 1890. he wasn't a full generation behind the folks who lived that history and many of them were still here in abilene. not only just the location of
5:52 pm
where he lived but of course the places still around town, the people he knew. all of this really had an influence on ike. i think that -- this was working a minute ago. now it doesn't want to advance. i'll keep going in the hopes that it will. the three influences on ike were his love of western novels and western history. but western novels and movies. a code of behavior that he learned in abilene, sort of a code of the west. then also the influence of the closing of the american frontier on his policy thinking. i'm going to try this again. william, would you like to come up and fiddle with this while a do a song and dance? but i can go right into ike and the western novels.
5:53 pm
as i mentioned, this is something he began reading when he was a boy. continued through his army years and his presidency. there was always an intent to play it down, especially once he became president. a lot of presidents a narrative is formed very early that kind of marks them for the rest of their presidency. and with eisenhower that narrative was well, he's a good guy, he's a good manager, but all he really wants to do is play golf with his buddies and play bridge. he reads westerns and westerns recent aren't terribly sophisticated. this is in contrast with someone like his successor john f. kennedy. and jfk, by the way, didn't read westerns. he read spy novels as if that was a superior literary form. ike like westerns. i think reading those westerns he could relive the history that he witnessed as a boy and relive
5:54 pm
the conversations he had with folks like george dudley and others that he mentioned in his book. "ed aat ease." it did help him relax during world war ii and the presidency and he stressed that in correspondence with people that say i hear you like to read westerns and he said i do but only because i like to relax. what i really like is history and biography. others didn't like those westerns as i said. there were many letters. unfortunately we don't have this letter from this particular writer whom some of you may recognize. some of you may recognize him more quickly than others. but it was from hugh hefner who had just founded a new magazine called "playboy." he said he'd read this article and one president he read about was addicted to westerns. of course, meaning ike. what we really need is a president who reads science fiction as if science fiction spy novels are somewhere above
5:55 pm
western i guess on the level of sophisticated reading. as i mentioned, westerns became a bit of a political liability. this example, i'm not sure how well you'll be able to read it so i'll help you out. the letter on the left is from the western writers of america. it's an organization that's still around. they were formed in 1953 when eisenhower took office and they wanted to raise the level, the literary level of westerns and they wanted western writers to unite it terms of advocating better payment for themselves. they even lobbied eisenhower for some changes to a tax code that would have helped freelance writers. it was clear from the beginning that they did want to use eisenhower's well known love of westerns to their advantage. so they wrote him in 1953. he had not been in office very
5:56 pm
long. they wanted to dedicate their first -- every year the western writers of america publishes a compilation of short stories. they wanted to dedicate their first volume to ike eisenhower, our kindest critic. first of all, i don't know why they bothered to ask. i don't know if you need someone's permission to dedicate a book to him, but i guess out of courtesy, they wrote to the white house. so ann whitman, eisenhower's really brilliant and whitty secretary, she acknowledged that usually any time they got letters like this, i should say they were afraid it might look like an endorsement so the blanket answer was no. but ann says because of his interest in western stories, do you think maybe the president would have any interest in this? and jim haggerty, the press secretary, who is responsible for anyone at managing ike's image said no, he wouldn't, because our enemies, our critics would use this against him. so you can find letter after
5:57 pm
letter within the white house where somebody wants ike to either comment about his affection for western novels or write the dedication and the white house saying no, let's back off because we know this will be used against us. here's an example of a letter to a citizen who they had read an article somewhere that ike only read westerns and shouldn't the president be reading something more important than a book about a guy on a horse. this letter actually went through three drafts. it also comes from sherman adams, eisenhower's special assistant. they're saying this is based on some kind of remarks that eisenhower made. but what he really likes are fist classical history and serious books on public policy and biography. from the time he was a boy, classical history was his favorite. he's really the head of the field in how quickly he can grasp a new subject. throughout the presidency the white house was having to push back on that image of ike as a simple minded western reader which i feel so much of
5:58 pm
that is not based on a bias towards that genre. there is a bias for many years against any western writing in general, no matter what the quality. that's the western united states, nothing good literary wise comes out of the west. you can see on this very real level to eisenhower and his staff. he had a friend named doug black. douglas black was the president of doubleday books and would eventually publish ike's memoirs. he said i know i have this habit of reading westerns continuously. one reason i like doing these programs so much is we get to publicize what we do here as a research library and as an archive. i like to include as many things from our holdings as i can. we have records, for example, in
5:59 pm
october, 1955, ike was in colorado and had a heart attack and was hospitalized for a time in denver. during that time he read 46 westerns in less than three weeks. and i'll show you the records here in a minute. then the last couple years of his life from late '67 'til he died in march of '69 his staff noted the titles of 206 westerns that he read. i might poke a little fun at ike and his staff. he may have read history and biographies. we don't have any list like this, but they really kept it. i don't know why you would keep such meticulous records but i'm thankful his staff did. and so this is from october, 1955. i know you can't read it. on the left is kind of a cover
6:00 pm
sheet. an army general and was ike's aide from 1947 until ike's death. he's writing one of the enlisted men on the staff saying we need to ship these books back but not the ones checkmarked in read because ike has not read those yet. the ones that aren't checked add up to 56. he would have read about 64 books. and some of that time he may have been too sick to read. he was reading westerns at a rapid rate. and i really enjoyed this. from correspondence, especially ann whitman, his secretary, when she would write someone a thank you note for one of the westerns, she would say it would help relieve ike's mind from. during the berlin crisis in march 1959, he was reading "the bushwhackers" by max brand. during what we're described as pouring boring meetings in canada he was reading "drive for the devil's river" by peter phil.
6:01 pm
peter phil is not an actual person. he's a house name. many different writers would write as peter field. in fact i think there's called a powder valley or powder river series. it's still in print. there's still writers writing as peter field. they've gotten a lot of youth out of peter. "ride the wild trail." by cliff farrell. you could see when he met with khrushch khrushchev, an important meeting at camp david in september of '59, "the stranger" by bud and bert arthur, a father and son team and "the trembling land" by robert christie. he goes to afghanistan. he takes "cash in saddle." by l.p. holmes, and then to relieve himself from the tedium of the republican convention, "ft. deception" by cliff farrell. i'm trying to assemble as many of these as i can where i can correlate events and books. it was fun to see what he was reading when. favorite authors. we know this because of that great record from '67 to '69 of
6:02 pm
the 206 books he read. ike graded the authors. and his favorite was ernest haycox. he wrote some books that became well-known movies. he wrote a short story, and i think the title was the last stage to lordsborg. it came a well known movie called "stage coach." its a movie that made john wayne a star. haycox was of that caliber, also considered the best of the writers in that genre among the best of the western writers. eisenhower clearly had good taste in westerns no matter what other people thought about them. as good, we have louis lamour. lamour is still in print, whatever you can find anymore. if you go to the western section, the ones i've seen like at barnes and noble, it's 80% louis lamour.
6:03 pm
he has sold something like 330 million books. ronald reagan was a huge fan. he gave him the presidential medal of freedom. that's how much he thought of him. as acceptable, max brand. this is interesting, he lists zain grove as no. at least for the books he read at that time. who knows what actually drove these decisions. apparently he told his staff that these were the authors he liked. these were just a few book covers. you probably can't even really see that first one. that's "the wild bunch" by ernest haycox. these are ike's books. they're in our holdings. these are scans of the covers of the actual books. i like that one. "smiling desperado" by max brand. "luke short" was another favorite of eisenhower's. luke short also has a very good literary reputation among western writers.
6:04 pm
then r"renegade guns." this is interesting because this takes him into what he liked in a western and what he disliked. what he liked were books that included abilene or kansas. some of ernest haykax' stories, what he really kiss liked were criticisms of the french army. this comes from a letter that he wrote to then the president of the western writers association, a guy named tommy thompson who later produced a television show you may have heard of called "bonanza." after ike became an honorary member of the western writers association after he left the white house, and his certificate said it was for his reading of westerns, he was given that book "renegade guns" and then wrote to complain about it to his friend tommy thompson saying as you can probably read that the frontier army was really a necessary force and all the people i knew in abilene said that you needed the frontier army there as someone to maintain order.
6:05 pm
but my favorite is that mamie told her grandson, if there was any sub plot, he dropped it. as she said even in the history books, no goo. no mushy stuff for eisenhower. so i know you thought i was going to be one of those easy substitute teachers today but we're going to have a number of pop quizzes just for fun throughout this presentation. as i'm sure most of you know, eisenhower was a very good athlete and started gaining attention in the national press when he was playing at west point his sophomore year and got tackled during his sophomore year and that was the last game he ever played. for a while it threatened his commission. he could have been allowed to finish west point but he would not have gone on to military service.
6:06 pm
you would think that would really bother him. as he records again in that memoir "at ease" this was his reaction. he said it's all right for me because i'd always read a lot about the argentine where they have gouchos and maybe i'll go down there and stay for two or three years. his first reaction was i'll go to the place like the old west if this army thing doesn't work out. he's writing this from 50 years removed or more of that decision as a young man, or at least those plans. again, get to show off other gem from the documents we have. some of you can probably recognize wild bill hicock. this is just a pencil drawing that a man wrote a nice letter to the president and i know you're from abilene and this is where he's from. here's a picture i did of him. this takes us to that code that eisenhower carried from abilene. it's interesting eisenhower like any president had speech
6:07 pm
writers. the president would usually discuss the general idea of what they want to talk about and the team of writers take it over and there's all sorts of back and forthwith the president. with eisenhower there was more back and forth than usual. one of his assistants, a guy named bryce harlow actually wrote 30 drafts of a speech for this talk before the anti-defamation league. at the last minute ike said no, that's okay, i'm just going to speak. thank you for your service. but it's fairly early in his presidency and mccarthy is becoming a huge issue. trying to find communist influence in the government and he thought he's really ruining any simple way we have. he was becoming more and more of a political liability for eisenhower because he was within his own party and he also was on the side of the republican party that eisenhower had the most trouble with.
6:08 pm
mccarthy was a problem. he would never talk about his opponents by name. . so he takes this opportunity for a nationally televised speech in front of the anti-defamation league. in fact lucille ball, jackie robinson, rex harrison. it was a big event. he relates this story. the code of abilene was if you have a disagreement, you met them face to face. there was no character association. he said the bullet had to be in front. you couldn't sneak up on somebody and surprise them the way that joe mccarthy obviously was. so this was a lesson that he took he said from abilene. and i found some other evidence of that. another wonderful item from our holdings. this is a message from general george c. marshall to eisenhower. supreme headquarters,
6:09 pm
allied expeditionary force of which ike was a supreme commander. you can see formerly classified top secret. down in the second paragraph this is at a time in the war when a relationship with russia which had not ever been quite warm and fuzzy was now becoming cold and prickly and the cold war was beginning to start and marshall said you need to deal with stalin by meeting him main street abilene style. so you wonder if this was from conversations he'd had with eisenhower about this sort of code of the west or abilene code or just because knowing that ike was from that part of the country that he used it. i found it interesting that it shows up in his military career. as well as in that political speech that he wrote. i had my doubts. and one reason i had my doubts, is because during that speech, he said if you don't know who he wild bill hickock is, you should
6:10 pm
read your westerns more. he didn't say you should read your history more. some historians still dispute whether there was a code of the west that people really followed. i thought maybe ike was remembering this because he had read so many westerns. then i found a clipping from the "abilene chronicle" in 1871 from the time that wild bill hickock was marshal. there was a gunfight. one man apparently drew his revolver and one man said wait, i haven't drawn mine, and when he reholstered, the guy pulled his weapon out and shot him. they eventually shot each other a couple of times, but nobody died. but then the paper editorializes about what a coward that man was. he refers to as you can see a code of honor that you play fairly and you don't sneak up on someone like that or shoot them from behind or trick them somehow into hollistering their weapons. in abilene when hickock was
6:11 pm
there, they were talking about this code of honor, this code of the west. i owe ike one thinking he got it from western fiction. how was wild bill killed? anybody? it violates the code of the west. jack mccall shot him in the back of the head in a poker game in deadwood in 1876. there were elements in deadwood who did not want a lawman anywhere near the gaming operations or other activities going down in deadwood. they encouraged mccall to assassinate hickock. they said he would be acquitted which he was in the first trial. then the u.s. attorneys got a hold of him and he was eventually convicted and hanged. the judge said why didn't you shoot him from the front and he said because i didn't want to commit suicide. again, he violated the code of the west and went up and shot bill hickock from behind.
6:12 pm
another quiz. i really like this one. what is reported to have been ike's favorite western movie. there are a lot of them. this was the second movie that he watched after he moved into the white house. it was "high noon" starring gary cooper and grace kelly, who which is a great movie, if you've never seen it. it takes place in real time. 9:30 a.m. to noon. the movie had been 90 minutes. there's a tick tock sound in the background the whole time. there's a famous song which the secretary said ike would walk around the white house whistling. "do not forsake me my darling." he really got a kick out of that. more items from our holdings, it's 1955 and ike's at home recuperating. he gets a letter from dimitri tionkin, who wrote "do not forsake me, my darling."
6:13 pm
a russian immigrant actually wrote this cowboy song. he had a special recording made for ike in a number of different languages. i don't know if you can read those. i don't know how australia differs from english but apparently ike got an australian version of "do not forsake me." this takes us to what i think is the real third influence although poker is probably another one we could include. we'll save that for another program. he learned poker here in abilene as well. at the closing of the frontier in 1890 the year that ike was born, that was the same year the census bureau declared that the frontier of this vast area, the free land in the united states was gone. it was the census bureau making that proclamation because it had to do with density of population. the west is so populated that you can't speak of being any more of a frontier. within a couple years there was a famous's ska, still in circulation in the history departments i'm sure, called the significance of the frontier in american history by frederick
6:14 pm
jackson turner. he said the end of the frontier isn't just the end of this era of land. it's in the first era of american history because the frontier is really responsible for all these truly american traits and individualism and self reliance. it had created a rough democracy to where you could somehow scratch your living out of the west that gave you economic independence which gave you political independence and what are we going to do now that the basis for all those freedoms is no longer there. there was a lot of debate over where we would go as a country since the frontier was gone. you would also hear about this idea of the safety valve and that the west was a safety valve. so if you had a lot of new immigrants coming, they could go west. they used to say go west, young man. or say there was a recession in the east, those factory workers displaced could go to the west. it was really a safety net as well as a safety valve. it was a social safety net.
6:15 pm
again, they were very concerned about the consequences. it was really psychological as much as anything. it is interesting to note that the first, one of the first film thomas edison did in 1894 had a western theme to it. as soon as the west was gone there was nostalgia for it. there were fears over where do we go next. fredrick jackson turner and others associated with the early progressive movement said the new basis to guarantee the political independence and some sort of safety valve would be an expanded administrative state, an expanded government. you would see things like direct election of senators, a lot of political reforms. instead of that safety valve of land, you would have some kind of social safety net, social security or welfare, however you would like to describe it. that was a direct result of many of the thinkers of the land disappearing. fdr in particular.
6:16 pm
they also saw it -- they said the frontier was a natural regulator, not only of unemployment but also of business, because when you had all -- you know, infinite square miles of land, it didn't matter if you cleared every forest within sight, if you strip mined every mountain range because there was always more. you could keep going west and it was inexhaustible. once they realized it was finite, they knew you had to take some kind of measures so people could reasonably use the resources. you saw more and more regulations where it had once been a natural regulation. general hugh johnson was the head of the national recovery administration, which was one of the early new deal agencies. he was a friend of eisenhower's. eisenhower's diary said he admired johnson of most of the new deal leaders and the nra program is the most effective. as johnson would later write this national recovery administration he designed was in effect a political replacement of the frontier.
6:17 pm
you see the intersection between the old west frontier and what was happening politically. republicans were very excited, even though eisenhower never really was that close to the more conservative wing of his party, the old guard. nonetheless, the republicans when he was elected had the house, the senate and the white house for the first time in 20 years and they thought, this is great, we will be able to roll back all of those new deal programs we dislike so much. during his presidency, eisenhower had a friend named bradford chenowith, a general who spent most of world war ii in a japanese prisoner of war camp. ike and chenowith used to know each other. as they said in one of their letters, they used to have fine and heated debates. they liked discussing politics and philosophy. it started up when ike took office. chenowith was against federal welfare at all, so eisenhower described chenowith, why he's in favor of it, and of course he
6:18 pm
cites there's no more free land and untouched natural resources. since these are no longer here, the government has to step in and play that role, and that's why eisenhower tells chenowith he expanded social security to include another 10 million people. there is, again, that really interesting connection between ike, the old west, the frontier and how that expresses itself politically. oh, and yes. you don't have pop quizes without a final. so we have another question, and i'm sure a lot of you know the answer to this one. eisenhower lost the d-day invasion and that night of june 5th went and talked to the men at the 101st airborne division, probably one of the most famous pictures of the war, ike talking to his paratroopers. there was nothing he could do until the first reports started coming back saying how bad the initial part of the invasion was going. so as his aide recorded in his diary, he went back and found ike propped up in his bed reading a western.
6:19 pm
he said he stuck his head in the tent. ike looked at him, smiled, lit a cigarette and went back to reading a western. there was nothing else he could do during that time. again, you know, he's relying on that western to help ease his mind during this time of tremendous stress. again, just to wrap this up, the three influences, again, i think that great love of popular culture continued through those years as a post-president, when he was at last allowed to receive his honorary membership with the western riders for being such a good reader of westerns, the abilene code which was genuine, and then of course the interesting views on the frontier. i really started thinking about, there were probably more of those influences on ike. it is not only someone from the western part of the united states, but how it fueled his imagination. we have one final image i think to show you how captivated ike was by the old west. that's from the first inaugural
6:20 pm
parade in '53 and he is being lassoed by monte montana which he wasn't thrilled about and i'm sure the secret service wasn't thrilled about either. that may have been one reason they tried to play down all of the western interest that president eisenhower had. that's it for my part. i will be happy to take any questions. please do use the microphone since the program is being recorded today. but welcome any questions about ike and the west or any other eisenhower question, that if i can't answer we have lots of other staff members here who probably can. thank you. [ applause ] >> considering most people ranked a virginian highly, did ike reject it because the virginian had a thing for the school marm? >> he read it. it is on one of the lists of books he read. that raises a good point.
6:21 pm
western novels really show up after the frontier disappears. western novels in many way reaffirm the values associated with the frontier. some critics, some students of western novels see them as a reaction to the closing of the frontier too, because, again, there was a big psychological element to that. yeah, the virginian, which is almost like the prototypical western, did include a love interest. clearly he didn't make ike's list of his favorite authors, so maybe that has something to do with it. >> did ike ever wear western boots? >> the question is did ike ever wear western boots? we have some of his boots. i don't think he wore them regularly. what ike did wear, as well as president truman, president johnson and my grandfather, was a hat called a stetson open
6:22 pm
road. it is like a short-brim cowboy hat. you will see a lot of pictures of ike wearing that hat, but it was a very popular hat style at that time. i don't know if he considered himself a cowboy. again, his naval aide, harry butcher, records in his diary that ike told him he had been a cow puncher, a farm hand and a semi professional baseball player as well as a mechanic at a creamery. so he did -- at least he had that identification with the west, but his wearing of western apparel was fairly modest. >> did he have favorite western tv programs? >> did he have a favorite western tv program? that's another good point. in the 1950s, 17 of the top 25 nielsen programs were westerns and seven of the top ten television programs were westerns. the popular culture of the '50s, of ike's time in office, was dominated by the western. the only one i have heard him talk about, at least i've seen in his correspondence, was "bonanza."
6:23 pm
the west was changing in the '60s, and in a lot of movies, anti-heroes were becoming more popular. eisenhower liked the more traditional depiction of the west and named "bonanza" because of that. >> in ike's era, horses were still used in the cavalry. was he himself a competent horseman? >> well, he was, and at west point he -- they were all trained really in the cavalry. one thing that aggravated that knee injury from when he was injured playing football, or what they called monkey drills where they were going on and off
6:24 pm
the horse, and he was told he could never be in the cavalry because of that injury. of course, he grew up with horses here. he had a horse in panama named blacky whom he adored. it is interesting the number of pages he devotes to blackie. blackie knew all sorts of tricks, and then he had horses in retirement. he always maintained that connection. and his retirement home in gettysburg he raised angus cattle. he was a bit of a stockman throughout his life. >> david combs from grand junk, colorado. >> welcome. >> thank you. kind of a note here, last few years i've been on a quest to see as many presidential museums as i can and this is the fourth one for me. i usually read a biography beforehand. i will say the best way is not to try to do it in one day. i realize now, at least a night. i just read this biography by gene edward smith. >> yes. >> so maybe it prompts this
6:25 pm
question, maybe it is too daring of a question. i wonder if he also liked westerns? >> i have seen record of that. there are pictures of horseback during world war two, but nothing in the record about her taste in literature. >> what did ike's parents do? were they ranchers, farmers? >> what did ike's parents do? the family arrived in 1878. largely south of here in hope, kansas, there was a short time in dennison, texas where hike was born where i think his father was in a self-imposed compile after the general store failed. ike's father david did not want to be a farmer. in fact, he went to college for a year at lane university in kansas where he met ike's mother, ida, which is really unusual for that time period. he studied some classical languages there and he studied engineering. he worked at a creamery, really as what they called an engineer.
6:26 pm
he had taken a correspondence course to learn to be an engineer, and then worked with pension fund, the c.o. brown company. ike's mother was a homemaker, but taught the boys. without any daughters to help, what would have been the traditional way at that time, taught the boys to do things around the house like cooking and cleaning they might not otherwise have learned, which eisenhower really enjoyed, especially the cooking part. he remained an avid cook. he liked cooking outside for his friends and preparing big meals for people. so it is part of that transition, a lot of people in that time period, the united states was transitioning from an agricultural economy to more of an industrialized. you can see in that transition that eisenhower's part of the family is leaving the farm and moving to even a small city like abilene i think as part of that greater transformation. and if there's anything else? here is another one.
6:27 pm
>> is there any evidence of him reading the dime novels that were famous during that western time? >> i think' lewds to that. he's given in 19 much, a friend of his named sig larmon sends him a wild bill hickok dime novel from 1882, and he replies "i must have read this back in abilene as a boy." i also think because of the cost, you could buy some of the dime novels for a nickel. and with the little bit of money that he had at the time, that was probably more likely the kind of thing that he was buying. so i'm sure his reading did start with sensationalized accounts of the west. there's reference later to that he did like those that were more historically-minded, that were at least plausible and took place in a real location. max brand's books, they're kind of in this mythical west, and so eisenhower seemed to prefer real locations and more plausible plots than some of the other writers might present.
6:28 pm
well, i think that will do it. thanks again. [ applause ] tonight on american history tv, you can watch this program and more during our special look at the american west, and cowboy, right here on see pan3. american history tv is in prime time all week, every week, for the rest of the year. you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @cspanhistory for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news.
6:29 pm
>> our c-span cities tour takes american history tv on the road to feature the history of cities across america. on our recent visit to sioux falls, south dakota, we stopped by the voices of the northern plains exhibit at the center for western studies. their executive director ari thompson tells the stories of both american indians and white immigrants who have called this region home. >> voices of the northern plains refers to the many different ways that life on this part of the country has been recorded, either through letters or diaries or journals or photographs or objects as well, by the many, many different varieties of ethnic cultures that have lived here. what we wanted to accomplish in emphasizing the materials that you see in this exhibit is that more informati

51 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on