Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Piecing together the jigsaw

Another solid slog in the Research Room today - 90 degrees outside, but as ever the Eisenhower Presidential Library was COLD. It seems that the building has an in-built inverse reaction - as the heat rises outside, the chill sets in within the 1961 walls of the building.

Abilene is really green at the moment though - it was already the washed-out height of summer last time I came, so it's nice to see the trees just greening up and butterflies swarming on the flowers in the manicured Library gardens.

All those yellow flashes on top of the plants are butterflies -my picture doesn't do justice to the hundreds clustering around.

The first 90 minutes today revealed nothing of note but the next 90 proved fruitful. This afternoon, spent working laboriously through the Washington diary of George Kistiakowsky, who succeeded Jim Killian as Eisenhower's Scientific Adviser, demonstrated just how much policy was made on the fly, and the extreme lobbying power of certain individuals who ensured their case was made to the President, even when cost, logic and sentiment appeared to favour other options.

My companion in the research room was the very charming Dr Dave Nichols author of 'A Matter of Justice' and 'Eisenhower 1956'. Very self-effacing and obviously in love with his subject, I'm looking forward to learning more from him over the course of the week.

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