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  • Published: 8 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9781586423148
  • Imprint: Steerforth Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
Categories:

Ike's Mystery Man

The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler




The Cold War, The Lavender Scare, and the Untold Story of Eisenhower's First National Security Advisor.

President Eisenhower's National Security Advisor Robert "Bobby" Cutler -- working alongside Ike and also the Dulles brothers at the CIA and State Department -- shaped US Cold War strategy in far more consequential ways than previously understood. A lifelong Republican, Cutler also served three Democratic presidents. A charming raconteur, he was a tight-lipped loyalist who worked behind the scenes to get things done.

Cutler was in love with a man half his age, naval intelligence officer and NSC staffer Skip Koons. Cutler poured his emotions into a six-volume diary and dozens of letters that have been hidden from history. Steve Benedict, who was White House security officer, Cutlers' friend and Koons' friend and former lover, preserved Cutler's papers. All three men served Eisenhower at a time when anyone suspected of "sexual perversion", i.e. homosexuality, was banned from federal employment and vulnerable to security sweeps by the FBI.

This gripping account reveals in fascinating detail Cutler's intimate thoughts and feelings about US efforts to confront Soviet expansion and aggression while having to contend with the reality that tens of millions of people would die in a first nuclear strike, and that a full nuclear exchange would likely lead to human extinction. And Shinkle recounts with sensitivity the daily challenges and personal dramas of a small but representative group or patriotic gay men who were forced to hide essential aspects of who they were in order to serve a president they admired and a country they loved.

  • Published: 8 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9781586423148
  • Imprint: Steerforth Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 464
Categories:

Praise for Ike's Mystery Man

"A superb and harrowing history of a dual life in a dark era of official oppression...constantly surprising...one of the most rewarding books of popular history I have ever read." — Charles Kaiser in The Guardian "The never-before-told story of one of the key figures in the Cold War . . . a scintillating tale that shows the personal sacrifices Cutler endured to serve his country, which viewed LGBTQ folks as criminal deviants and a threat to national security." The Advocate, A Best Book of the Year "A genuinely engrossing read . . . Illuminating, because it resembles the experiences of countless men and women who, forced for so long to mask their true selves, appeared to the world as mysteries." The Washington Post "Shinkle’s illuminating biography is a love story, albeit an agonizing one and one that reveals a singular character in American Cold War history." — The Boston Globe "This informative biography  . . . [sheds] light on forbidden intimate relationships among powerful and privileged men in the mid-20th century.  . . . [and] is sure to appeal particularly to those interested in the history of the Cold War and the contributions of LGBTQ people in American government.” — Publishers Weekly "Readers . . . will relish Ike’s Mystery Man for its insider accounts of bureaucratic turf wars." The St. Louis Post-Dispatch "A compulsively readable dossier of political and domestic intrigue." — The Gay & Lesbian Review "History is never set in stone. Peter Shinkle has found in the diary and letters of Robert “Bobby” Cutler, President Eisenhower’s National Security Advisor, an extraordinary story of an able public servant, a man who held the nation’s most sensitive secrets, who also happened to be gay — at a time when such a thing was supposed to be impossible. Therein lies a gripping, moving tale." — Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World "This astonishing American story transcends politics. It is about how power was wielded in Washington during the 1950s, but also about the eternal conflict between public life and private emotion. Poignant diary entries enrich the narrative of a presidential counselor who spent his life dealing with that conflict." — Stephen Kinzer, author of The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War "Ike’s Mystery Man is a historical treasure unearthed. Based on the untapped diaries of Eisenhower’s National Security Advisor, General Robert “Bobby” Cutler, it gracefully reveals how Ike’s “unseen arm” [Cutler] shaped and guided many of the President’s most important foreign policies. It also unveils the intimate unknown painful story of a gay man’s secret love within the homophobic councils of government.  A must-read for all Cold War scholars, it is a great read for everyone else." — Martin J. Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer and University Professor of History at George Mason University  "Ike's Mystery Man is an important, deeply researched contribution to the history of one of the sorrier episodes in American history — a time  when, during the height of the McCarthy era, thousands of government workers were driven from their jobs or barred from ever getting one because they were gay. To discover, as Peter Shinkle has, that Robert Cutler, President Eisenhower's first national security advisor and one of the authors of the notorious 1953 Executive Order that de

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