First of all, I did not find this a spellbinding listen. It is a basic memoir but I'm glad GW did it. None-the-less, this should not detract from a good job done by the reader - Ron McLarty. However, I did find the book organization somewhat challenging. The story follows a chronological path to the White House then it jumps around per topic (or crisis).
You've got to admit, it is sobering to reflect back on how the story of GW's term in office was basically one crisis after another - 911, Katrina, wars, financial meltdown. Which makes it more interesting to read this today with the recent debt crisis. Yes, GW provides explanations for his decisions, but I did find some of his explanations not very satisfying (e.g. the auto bailout). So I rate this book (not unlike his term in office) - not especially great, but not especially bad either.
An interesting memoir. GW reviews what he considers the major points of his presidency, and why he made the decisions he did, who was involved, and in hindsight how good or bad he did. No, he does not think he was perfect, nor does he think he got everything wrong. Some of the personal high points he reviews not many would have even realized existed.
A really interesting personal review of himself...but then I guess that is what a memoir is all about. I do wish it was read by the author though.
I was highly critical of Bush durring his presidency. It was very interesting to hear his side, from him. Great read/listen for anyone who is interested in his presidency. I can't say it changed my mind on his policies but it did add context and increased my respect for him.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the details and facts surrounding key decisions made by George Bush during his terms as president. This was a very positive book with very little of the negativity that often is involved in partisan politics. It was intriguing to me to learn about the behind-the-scenes information that was used to formulate decisions ranging from 9/11, invading iraq, hurricane Katrina, economic crisis, etc. I came away from this book with an improved image of W.
This is the first Presidential Memoir that I've read. George Bush did not disappoint me in keeping it interesting. I do think it was a bit long, but there was a tremendous amount of information covered and he does an excellent job at clarifying his duties, the choices he made, and why he made those choices. He also shows that he's not afraid to admit that he made mistakes, but they were made with the America's Best Interest at Heart!
I have always been relatively middle of the road when it comes to politics. I'm typically fiscally conservative while being socially liberal. But I always approach the media (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, whatever) with a great deal of skepticism and distrust. As the media portrayed G.W. Bush as a militant conservative in all aspects, read this book with an OPEN MIND and you'll find that this is just not true. Yes, of course he made many decisions that were conservative, but he also put into action many programs and ideas that fall into the liberal agenda. And whatever your stance on Iraq and Afghanistan, his reasoning and decision making in these wars are fascinating.
I have many friends that hate G.W. Bush, essentially, just because he's Bush and for no substantive reason. This book is not for them. I also have friends that are definitely Democrat in their thinking, and after reading this book they still don't agree with much in the way of his politics, but they but they understand and respect the man.
On the other side of the coin, many conservatives will have severe heartburn with many of the decisions he made that addressed the liberal agenda. They came into this book looking for validation of a very conservative way of thinking. People I know have come away with an "I can't believe he did that" attitude towards some of the more liberal decisions he made.
Regardless, G.W. Bush seems to write this book without regard to station in either the liberal or conservative camps. He plainly outlines his major decisions, explains the thought and research that went into making those decisions, and leaves it to the readers to decide who the man really is.
Like Bush or not, the memoir is now available from Audible and this is it. I happened to be on the road and was able to listen to this volume from Audible and the former President's version as well. First, the book is thematic rather than chronological. What Bush does is take various "decision points" (get it?) and reminisce about his thought processes and reflect on the outcomes of each. The full version seems to follow this approach where the abridged version (narrated pleasantly by the President himself) seems to combine some material from other chapters. Second, the full version is read by Ron McLarty and the abridged version by the President. Here there is a trade off. Take the shorter version and you hear the President. Take the full version and you do not. I don't think that should be a make-or-break issue when deciding which version you might want. The downside is that there is quite a bit of material which is lost when listening only to the abridged version. In sum, if you want to hear the President read and you just want a taste of the book then the abridgement might be for you. Otherwise, the full version may be more interesting. (Both are just one credit from Audible if not buying for cash). Third, Bush (not unlike Obama) has his detractors and critics. If you are a Bush basher, this book will not change your mind. However, this book (as any memoir) is best approached as an opportunity to hear an author’s personal interpretation of events. Take it for what it is, and you will be rewarded. If you are a Bush basher, this book will not change your mind. Bush does a good job of reading his abridgement and Ron McLarty is up to the challenge as well. “Take your chice and pay the price.” This book has made me look forward to Obama’s memoir when it is written – which is not to say that I am necessarily anxious to see him leave office either.
The only reason I could not giv this book the entire 5 stars was my disappointment that the former president did not read it himslef. I saw that he read the unabrigded versions but not the full novel. The author was good but more emotion could have been felt from his own words.
Not a huge Bush fan before I read the book but was too curious not to read/listen to his story. It was an amazing heartfelt journey that discussed many behind the scenes that I could have only imaged.
I enjoyed this book very much because it showed me how much our government does do and how much we as Americans do try to do the right thing. I only wish I would have read something like this 20 yrs ago it might have encouraged me to try to do more in the government.
I was not expecting to enjoy this audio book as much as I did. Having lived thru his presidency I thought I had a clear understanding of a lot of what went on. I was surprised by how much insight this book offers into his key decisions and why he made them. Also, I thought the book gave an interesting view of him as a man that we did not see during his presidency. Really liked this book, well worth my time.