Skip to main content

Walter Lord

May 2024
1min read

Narrative historian; author, most recently, of The Miracle of Dunkirk

Most overrated:

Patrick Henry. His “liberty or death” speech has put him on a pedestal with the other Founding Fathers, but how much did he really do? He contributed practically nothing to the military side of the American Revolution, and he contributed only mischief to the adoption of the Constitution. He was steadily opposed to it all the way. He was the first of many American politicians to get away with a gift of gab.

Most underrated:

Dwight D. Eisenhower. For all too long he has been regarded as merely a benevolent monarch practicing his putting on the White House lawn, oblivious of the world’s troubles swirling all around him. Actually, Ike had a pretty good record. At the end of his Presidency he left the country strong and prosperous; the civil rights battle was off to an important start at Little Rock; and Joe McCarthy had been defused. We made fun of his syntax, yet he left us with perhaps the most important phrase in postwar American history when he warned us of the “military-industrial complex.”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.