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Under the hood of history

“Tongues had begun to wag about Eisenhower and his willowy driver, Kay Summersby. Nicknamed Skibereen after her Irish hometown, Summersby had worked in England as a model and movie extra before enlisting as a military driver in London; she had been assigned to Eisenhower the previous summer, joining him in Algiers in mid-January after surviving the U-boat sinking of her transport ship off the African coast. At thirty-four, discreet, divorced, and comely, she served not only as the commander-in-chief’s ‘chauffeuse,’ but also as his bridge partner and riding companion. . . . One drollery circulating in North Africa had the commander-in-chief’s sedan stalling on a lonely road. Summersby tinkers under the hood until Eisenhower appears with the toolbox from the trunk. ‘Screwdriver?’ he supposedly asks, to which she supposedly replies, ‘We might as well. I can’t get the goddam motor fixed.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn

Published inLit & CritThe Second World War

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