Ike’s Irish Lover - The Echo of a Sigh

Kay Summersby or Mamie Eisenhower? The Irish-born chauffeur or the American wife? That was the choice for General Dwight D Eisenhower.

The most powerful general in Europe during World War II, the man in charge of the D-Day invasion, was to be elected president of the United States twice in the 1950s. But first he had to choose...

Many people knew about the relationship between Ike and Kay during the war, but most historians have discounted claims that the couple had a passionate love affair. New documents and photographs now suggest that the couple did have a liaison and that Ike did seek a divorce from his wife to marry Kay. So why didn’t it happen? And what happened to Kay once she became a US citizen?

This book tells the enthralling story of their affair, how Kay followed Ike to North Africa, how her ship was torpedoed by a U-boat, how her fiancé died while clearing mines, her relationship with Ike and other leading wartime figures, the strain of D-Day, how Kay was attacked by a would-be rapist in the USA and how the relationship eventually ended.

 

357 pages. Price €9.99 / $9.99 / £7.49 (plus postage). E-mail me for a copy
or buy the paperback book from Amazon

Available to download at $9.34 from Amazon.com or £6.47 from Amazon.co.uk

Irish Legal News review - Weekend Books — Ike’s Irish Lover

Barrister Kieron Wood has turned what might have been a footnote of history into a highly readable account of the long-running affair between the Allied commander General Dwight D Eisenhower and his West Cork-born chauffeuse Kay Summersby (née MacCarthy-Morrogh).

It may seem frivolous and distracting for the USA’s most senior general, universally known as ‘Ike’, to have been arranging trysts with his driver while planning the conquest of Europe, the greatest ever sea-borne invasion in history. It was certainly scandalous, as both were married.

But as Wood observes in his arresting opening: “They were all at it.” It is now widely accepted that the imminence of, and proximity to, death during the war produced a bout of sexual liberation in blacked-out Britain. And it would seem that this was one of the few war-time phenomena to transcend the stifling British class system.

For as Wood notes, Churchill’s married daughter Sarah had a wartime affair with the US Ambassador to London while his daughter-in-law was bonking Averell Harriman, Roosevelt’s European envoy. It was not just the diplomats who were playing away from home. General George Patton and General Omar Bradley also found time to make love, not war.

There was much gossip at the time about the affair between Ike and Kay and the general is said to have contemplated divorce. Kay was promoted from driver to personal secretary and became Ike’s wartime companion.

But it was not to be and by the time Ike became President, in 1952, the affair was over. Kay lived on in the US until her death in 1975 and had her ashes scattered on the family grave in West Cork.

Wood weaves the story of the romance into a well-told and thoroughly researched account of the war in western Europe.

Graham Ogilvy

Ike’s Irish Lover by Kieron Wood, 357 pp, €9.99 (paperback)
Available from eprint.ie, Kennys bookshop and Amazon.

  Sunday Business Post feature, January 2016

   

   

   

   

Kieron Wood is a best-selling author in Ireland


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