Ike's Mystery Man

The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler


History - United States - 20th Century

Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-58642-243-1 (1-58642-243-X), 400 pages

$29.95 (CANADIAN $39.95)

December 2018

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Peter Shinkle is a journalist who worked for 19 years as a reporter at various news organizations, including most recently the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While much of his coverage as a reporter focused on the federal court system, Shinkle also wrote investigative stories on subjects ranging from improper disposal of radioactive waste to contamination spread by a lead mining company with operations in Missouri and Peru. In 2006, he left daily journalism in pursuit of a marketing career. After majoring in Russian language and literature at the University of Virginia, he worked for three years in the 1980s in Paris as a Russian and French translator for Voice of America.
Shinkle is the great-nephew of Robert Cutler. It was during a family vacation in 2006 that his mother, Judith Cutler Shinkle, and his aunt told him that their "Uncle Bobby" was gay. That sparked a 12-year endeavor to explore the story of the man who was one of President Eisenhower's closest advisors.


Secret histories can be the most revealing, and this page-turning Cold War narrative will take readers from top-secret Cabinet Room meetings to exclusive social clubs, and into the pages of a powerful man's intimate diary. IKE'S MYSTERY MAN brings a new dimension to our understanding of the inner-workings of the Eisenhower White House. It will also shine a bright light on the indispensable contributions and sacrifices made by patriotic gay Americans in an era when it was illegal for them to hold federal jobs, and on their vicious persecution by the likes of Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn in the Senate, and J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson at the FBI.

IKE'S MYSTERY MAN shows that 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 has been previously understood. Bobby also left behind a six-volume intimate diary which reveals that he was in love with a man half his age, NSC staffer Skip Koons. Their friend Steve Benedict, who also was gay, became Ike's White House Security Officer, at a time when Executive Order 10450 banned anyone suspected of "sexual perversion", i.e. homosexuality, from any government job, let alone positions that provided access to our nation's most sensitive secrets. In addition to Bobby's diary, IKE'S MYSTERY MAN relies on thousands of personal letters, interviews, and previously classified archives to tell a gripping story that has never before been told.

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