43 - George W. Bush

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43 - George W. Bush

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Editado: Jun 15, 2009, 12:48am

The Bush Tragedy
Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush
Mike Briggs

Election Bush (271 electoral votes) vs. Gore (266)

Editado: Ago 9, 2009, 1:44am

Nothing like starting at the bottom (no political comments please). The Bush Tragedy gave me a whole new perspective on this truly tragic figure. I was never a great fan of this particular president, but I at least feel that I understand his motivation, limitations, accomplishments and mistakes much better now.

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.

Dez 11, 2008, 5:03pm

I heartily recommend Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush by Molly Ivins. It's a commentary from one of the best on the rise of W in Texas politics, and a fascinating study just on Texas politics. It was written pre-presidential days, so it's fun to see how many of her visions of the future came true!

Editado: Dez 15, 2008, 10:36pm

I read Shrub: when it first came out. I really enjoyed Molly Ivins and miss her muchly. Thanks for reminding me about this book tho, I'd forgotten to enter it as one that I'd already read.

Dez 16, 2008, 7:32pm

Does Shrub count as a biography in this challenge? I have that book, but haven't read it yet.

Dez 16, 2008, 8:21pm

Lisa....I think we decided that you set your own rules about how deep you want to go for the definition of biography. See the discussion on this thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/52046.

I'm not sure I'd personally consider it a biography. I'd put it more in the category of political satire.

Dez 16, 2008, 8:25pm

Lisa, it's a sort of part-biography with a bite. She tells what W was doing when, and then comments, so it's not strictly a bio. But it sure is fun.

Dez 16, 2008, 2:27am

6 and 7>I think for my own criteria, it probably wouldn't make it, but I'll read it anyway, and find something else to meet this objective. Thank you both for your thoughts.

Jan 30, 2009, 3:00pm

Three books for Bush (or four). All read a while back so can't really say much about them.

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.

Maio 5, 2009, 6:04pm

Also not a biography and more in the realm of satire, but amusing: Yiddish with George and Laura. There's a short animated video that goes along with it, which I recall being circulated several years ago. http://tinyurl.com/pqpqp

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.

Ago 9, 2009, 11:17pm

State of Denial is outstanding. It reveals a Bush who is an off-stage CEO and cheerleader but certainly not a decision-maker nor a leader. A very well-written study of how Iraq went wrong.

Set 10, 2010, 1:46am

I am looking forward to his "own" book coming out soon. Regardless of how we may think he did as President I have learned with anything in life, unless you have been in that spot before, you never know what you would have done yourself. I think it will be more interesting to see what History has to say about him in 50 years. I am thinking, if I still am alive I probably won't even be able to say his name at that stage of my life:)

Set 10, 2010, 1:47am

I have read quite a few years ago A Matter of Character by Ronald kessler and found it interesting.

Set 11, 2010, 3:37pm

I finally brought myself to watch the movie "W" which seems like a pretty accurate capture of the man. I procrastinated for a long time because I really can't look at the guy for more than a minute -- when he was on TV I would leave the room. I kept telling myself this is Josh Brolin not Bush in order to make it thru the film. I don't think I will ever read his bio even if I read every other President. I am going to count State of Denial and leave it at that.

Jan 4, 2011, 1:38am

Just finished Decision Points written by the man himself. It wasn't a great book. It was described as a look into the thought process of the president when he made important decisions, but for the most part, he doesn't walk you through them. I tend to think it's because Bush judged those around him, not the policy, and tended to be deferential, despite the narrative that he was a good leader. An exception is the chapter on stem cell research, which in my opinion was the most effective of the book. In that chapter, he is specific about the numerous angles of advice that he received, and how some people had surprising recommendations. Then he says why he made the decision. That was an early chapter in the book, so I was looking forward to some of the bigger ticket items, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, etc.

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.

Ago 22, 2011, 6:36pm

I too read Decision Points and formed an opinion close to TedV but not quite as critical. I thought in a lot of ways it was nice to have Bush attempt to answer some of his critics and also point out some of ways the opposing party tried to work with and screw him at the same time, a problem I feel all presidents have probably dealt with at some point in their presidencies.

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.

Dez 11, 2011, 12:18am

This is President #9 for me. Finished Decision Points this weekend. It was an insightful book into his decision making process. I learned several new things like his contributions to the dealing with AIDS and malaria in Africa.

Abr 9, 2018, 1:35am

Just visited his presidential library in Dallas! It was a beautiful museum and they had a visiting exhibit about the First Ladies. Really enjoyed it.