George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, almost single-handedly decided to invade Iraq. It was possibly the worst foreign-policy decision ever made by a president. The consequences dominated the Bush administration and still haunt us today.
In Bush, Jean Edward Smith demonstrates that it was not Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice but President Bush himself who took personal control of foreign policy. Bush drew on his deep religious conviction that important foreign-policy decisions were simply a matter of good versus evil. Domestically, he overreacted to 9/11 and endangered Americans' civil liberties. Smith explains that it wasn't until the financial crisis of 2008 that Bush finally accepted expert advice, something that "the Decider", as Bush called himself, had previously been unwilling to do. As a result he authorized decisions that saved the economy from possible collapse, even though some of those decisions violated Bush's own political philosophy.
©2016 Jean Edward Smith (P)2016 Tantor
I am not a great fan of Bush and it was fabulous to have WHY spelled out in detail. A fascinating look into the inside details of Bush's presidency. However, I don't think it warranted 25 hours or whatever. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The reader is completely emotionless as he reads through absolutely unbelievable things, and this made it all the more enjoyable.
A comprehensive look at the life, accomplishments, and failings of the 43rd president. Smith is no fan, considering Bush's presidency as a monumental failure though he does credit him with several successes such as his campaign to combat AIDS in Africa and his response to the 2008 financial crisis. In other words, Smith treads on no new ground here. This is worthy history but thin biography. A reader looking for insights into what made Bush tick, his younger years, or his relationships will find slim pickings here.
We all know the main events of Bush's presidency, now we see the story "behind the curtain". The author is well respected and gives a balanced account. I found it enthralling.
Making my way through all the US President a biography at a time.
The author is well accomplished with past biographies which have hugely impressed me for there ability to balance narrative and detail. The start of this biography made me doubt he was sufficiently independent to achieve this with Bush (43). However, what I have come to expect in detail and story telling returned after early chapters. It is well worth the read - though the performance of the narrator is at times comical for his wish to 'do' voice for each person.
Mr Smith's work deserves much praise for its clarity and entertainment value. However, as a work of history, I believe this book falls just short. Too much emphasis is put on inferring exactly the inner workings of Bush's thought process, when this information could not be known by the author.
I think it is about as good a job as possible without actually being able to interview the subject of the book, however, that doesn't excuse the presentation of opinion as fact.
This is as fair and balanced of a history of the George W. Bush administration as it is possible to write at this point in time. It is too favorable to Dick Cheney and perhaps Donald Rumsfeld, but this probably is due to their active cooperation with the author in his writing of the book. Very well written and the analysis is spot on. It should be mandatory reading for any politician.
Interesting, detailed, objective
The earlier part of the book that talks about Bush's early life and challenges and how they made and shaped the man he became later. It was well done and conveyed empathy with Bush, even if you may not have agreed with or even liked him as president.
The man behind the Presidency
The author is clearly not a Bush fan, but I did not find the book overly anti-Bush in tone. I felt he took effort to present objective facts and details in an interesting, narrative way, and drew conclusions based on the facts.
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