43 - George W. Bush
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Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush
Election Bush (271 electoral votes) vs. Gore (266)
The book includes a marvelous family tree where I constantly referred to keep the players straight. The book covers his entire life but concentrates on the the relationships he had/has with his uncles and grandfather, and the love/hate relationship he had with his parents-particularly his father. Weisberg points out that the two wings of the family, The Prescotts and the Walkers were quite different in personalities, motivations and backgrounds. While Bush 41 identified with the New England branch of the family (The Prescotts), exemplifying the patrician breed of politician, Bush 43 bonded with his Walker uncle "herbie" : the more swash-buckling, Texas 'bidness' type.
The most interesting feature of the book is the author's comparison of the Bush family to Shakespeare's tragedies about the English Kings Henry (IV and V) comparing that father-son relationship to Bush 41 and 43. The book is well-researched, well-documented, and very easy to read. The cast of characters (no pun intended) with whom Bush 43 surrounds himself and his refusal (or denial?) to seek counsel not only from his father but from many who had worked for or with his father is the "tragedy" he compares to Henrys IV and V.
The book ends by comparing W's war against parental influence to that of Winston Churchhill's. The difference being that Winson was finally able to come to terms with and develop an appreciation for his father's accomplishments. Something W has yet to be able to do.
I think this book will definitely be one of the core biographies of G.W. Bush. Some will probably disagree with the premise, but the objective facts are compellingly presented and can stand w/o agreeing with the 'tragedy' theory.
I'm not sure I'd personally consider it a biography. I'd put it more in the category of political satire.
A Charge to Keep by George W. Bush (ghostwritten by Karen Hughes) was one of those campaign books. Not well-written. Gave an idea of his life story, but again, not a great book. 1999 book
Bush Country by John Podhoretz 2005 book
Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush by Fred Barnes. 2006 book
Do not recall either of these books. Must show how good they were, eh? heh. Oddly, read the book with the copyright of 2005 in 2004. Read the 2006 book in 2006.
The fourth book I do remember - All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families by Doug Wead. A very interesting book about the children of the Presidents. George W. Bush is briefly mentioned in this book. 2003 book.
On a more serious note, I had meant to read the Bob Woodward books when they came out: Bush at War, Plan of Attack, and State of Denial: Bush at War III. When I get around to W, I'll probably start here.
But chapters like that one did not materialize later in the book. It just read like a reaccounting of the events, and defense of some of his political detractors, which he is somewhat effective at. But some of it is clearly revisionist, and glosses over important things, like Bremer's decision to de-Baathify Iraq and send their army home, which fueled the insurgency. All he says on that is that "we should have debated it more." According to Woodward's books, they never debated it AT ALL.
I can't say I recommend this book from a historical standpoint, but it is a good look at what W is like. The Woodward books are excellent if you just want to know about the wars. If you're looking for something more inclusive, it does not exist yet.
It was just more of a recounting of the major moments of his presidency rather than the actual thought process as TedV states but it was interesting to get the personal, inside story recounting of those events and juxtapose it with the events as I remembered them after living through them.
While not a traditional presidential (auto)biography, I thought it was still a quick, enjoyable read.