Thursday, February 12, 2015

41, George W. Bush

41: A Portrait of My Father

George W. Bush

Category: Nonfiction: Biography; Washington, D.C.; Families

Synopsis: President George W. Bush presents a biography of his father, President George H. W. Bush.

Date finished: 11 December 2014 

Rating: ****

Okay, so if Jeb Bush runs in 2016 and wins the presidential election, we would have a President Bush 41, President Bush 43, and President Bush 45. I thought I’d throw out that bit of trivia just in case you’re as enamored of dumb presidential facts as I am.


George W. Bush calls this book “a love letter to my father.” And it is. Never does he criticize his father and seldom does he bring up criticism about him. But then, Bush Senior didn’t have many enemies and had a pretty clean record as Commander in Chief. While he led us into war in Kuwait, it wasn’t as hotly contested as his son’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn’t deal with the financial woes of the current president. Nor were there any scandals or crises on his watch as there have been with previous and subsequent presidents.

Prior to becoming president, President George H.W. Bush was: a Navy aviator in World War II, a congressman, an ambassador to China, ambassador to the United Nations, Republican Party chairman, CIA director, and two-term Vice President. He is a humble, servant-hearted man who always tried to do the right thing with strength and courage. He is the only contemporary president to not write a memoir. Bush 43 brings an intimacy to stories we both know and don’t know about Bush 41. It’s a nice, uplifting read about a man whose character permeated his work no matter how he was serving his country. How can you not love a man who jumped from an airplane on his 90th birthday (as well as four previous birthdays)?

The one gripe I have about this book is just how much “W” there is in it. Now, I don’t mind “W,” in fact, I rather like the guy. But I’ve already read his memoir. There were times when inserting himself into the story made sense, and times when it was charming and heartwarming, but there were also times when it was annoying as heck.

Would you recommend this to a friend?

You might also enjoy:
Decision Points (Bush 41’s memoir)
Spoken from the Heart (Laura Bush’s memoir)
An American Life (Reagan’s memoir)

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