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What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception | [Scott McClellan]

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

Scott McClellan belonged to President Bush's select inner circle of trusted advisers during one of the most challenging, contentious periods of recent history. Over a period of more than seven years, he witnessed, day-to-day, exactly how the presidency veered off course, not only by its decision to topple Saddam Hussein, but by an embrace of confrontational politics in the face of an increasingly partisan Washington and a hostile media.
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Publisher's Summary

Scott McClellan belonged to President Bush's select inner circle of trusted advisers during one of the most challenging, contentious periods of recent history. Over a period of more than seven years, he witnessed, day-to-day, exactly how the presidency veered off course, not only by its decision to topple Saddam Hussein, but by an embrace of confrontational politics in the face of an increasingly partisan Washington and a hostile media.

In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, McClellan provides his unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, and two hotly contested presidential campaigns. He gives listeners a candid look into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and explores the lessons this presidency offers the American people as they prepare to elect a new leader.

©2008 Scott McClellan; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The former press secretary of President Bush (No. 43 version) empties out his notebooks, and all of Washington will be holding its breath." (Seattle Times)

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3.4 (382 )
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  •  
    Kathy Teaneck, NJ, USA 06-07-08
    Kathy Teaneck, NJ, USA 06-07-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I LOVED this book!"

    I expected to hate this book. I assumed that it would be full of floss and excuses for the past 4 years. Instead McClellan comes off as a wholely likable guy who got caught up in some nasty stuff. Fully human and flawed he offer a picture of the president and the press not usually seen. I'm a life long Democrat. I come away from this work seeing Bush as pitiful and sad and all too human. I LOVED this book and highly recommend it! God Bless you Scott McClelan

    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    random 02-10-09
    random 02-10-09
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    "Interesting listen if you love US Politics"

    I found the book to be an interesting behind the scenes look at a story we all know well. True, most of the basic plot of the story is already known through the media, but Scott adds texture and color to the events as only someone who was there is able. I thought Scott doing the narration was essential and added to the appeal of the book. His Texas accent is exactly right for the content....which is one man trying to make sense of some of the most powerful political events within an administration that brought down many good men and women.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Los angeles, CA, USA 10-03-08
    Andrea Los angeles, CA, USA 10-03-08
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    "A History Book"

    Although the author has a monotone, kind of draining voice, the content would not be as meaningful if read by anyone else.

    McClellan clearly describes his experience in the White House, much of what the American People can relate to. He provides us with detailed personal experience, describing with great detail each main character in the Bush Administration and giving us a thorough understanding of what lead to one of the worst terms in the White House of all times.

    Topics he discusses includes the Iraq War, the CIA leak scandal, the economy and he tends to criticize Bush for going with his intuition and gut feeling instead of thinking things through.

    McClellan also talks about his childhood growing up in Politics. Overall, this is an extremely well-written book and I'll bet any listener will get sucked into the stories quite easily.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Stone Mountain, GA, United States 06-26-08
    Kathy Stone Mountain, GA, United States 06-26-08 Member Since 2013
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    "We give this"

    4 stars because of the awful narration by the author. He should have let a professional narrator do this for him. He narration is stiff, dull, boring and what's with the pronunciation of all words beginning with the letter "A".

    However, this is an extremely interesting and insightful book from an insider who finally began to question what he was being told. For years he blindly followed the inner workings of his chosen party. We see how dangerous that can be as this book goes on.

    Hopefully this book will lead us all to question more of what we are told by any administration rather than blindly follow along. Hopefully we've learned from the past 8 years. It's okay to question, it's not UN-patriot to do so.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Rogers, AR 06-23-08
    Jane Rogers, AR 06-23-08 Member Since 2012
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    "Mia Culpa"

    This book is well written, but his revelations are a bit late in coming. The information is interesting, but his myriad of justifications for his actions and denial of consequences of events sounds a bit like he wants absolution for his sins. Mia culpa Scott. Good for you for coming clean, but I find it difficult to believe you are a smart person who was manipulated by an administration who took advantage of your blind faith and desire to do good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patsy Elephant Butte, NM, United States 06-14-08
    Patsy Elephant Butte, NM, United States 06-14-08 Member Since 2007
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    "What Happened?"

    This is a must read, everyone in this country should read this, especially all political hopefulls. Scott has one an excellent job of the truth

    One suggestion, the author should have used George Tenets format and let someone else read most of the book, listening to Scott say "didenient" instead of didn't and couldn't and wouldn't left a lot to be desired. The current fad amoung the young newspeople is terrible when pronouncing contractions.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise Waynesville, NC, United States 06-13-08
    Louise Waynesville, NC, United States 06-13-08
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    "If you are an INSOMNIAC, then buy this Audio Book"

    This should have been an interesting listen.

    Juicy details about the Bush Administration, Rove, Scooter, and Iraq...

    But, Scott McClellan makes two big mistakes:

    1. He goes on and on and on about his childhood, puberty, high school, college years. Scott! I don't care if you wore the wrong color shirt to a big game!

    2. He narrates it himself and he is the dullest reader you can imagine. His droning sounds will put you into a deep slumber.

    I am ordinarily very focused and can concentrate on the task at hand, but I have even been missing the important historical comments because Scott McClellan is such a miserable narrator.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada 05-31-08
    Steven Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada 05-31-08 Member Since 2001

    Liberal, retired, special ed teacher teacher from California (quite the cliche ) now living near Montreal. I love to play and watch tennis

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    "Critical Self Examination Of Bush White House"

    Give Scott credit for trying to write a critical examination of the failed Bush Presidency. According to Scott, Bush and members of his administration "dissembled". No Scott, the word you need to use is lied and Bush did it repeatedly, in every form possible, Scott acknowledges that not only did Bush tell them but that Bush could even come to believe his own lie to himself that he couldn't really remember if he ever used cocaine. In a nut shell, Scott tells us that the problem with the Bush administration is a political culture in Washington that operates in "permanent campaign mode", on both sides of the aisle. Certainly there is truth to this charge, but again, he fails to acknowledge that it is Karl Rove that promised to create a "permanent Republican majority" or that in the period from 2002-2006 when Republicans controlled both houses of congress and the White House their leadership made "permanent campaign mode" into an art form. By the way it's the Democrats that destroyed the bipartisan goodwill that existed after 9-11 ( oh please ). So yes there is enough truth to what Scott has to say to make it a worthwhile read even though he doesn't acknowledge the criminal wrong doings of his bosses. Scott narrates and does a reasonably good job of telling his "story".

    43 of 68 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacques Ray Torrance, CA USA 07-02-08
    Jacques Ray Torrance, CA USA 07-02-08 Member Since 2005

    Cybermind

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    "Apologia"

    With all of the hub-bub surrounding the release of this book/audio book, I was sure that were nuggets of pure gold that would fall from the pages as the narrative developed.

    However, no such bounty was to be had. Much of the book was spent making clear what good intentions Bush really had and that the political culture that has developed around this and other similar(read Clinton) administrations was really to blame for the infinite number of bad decisions made by the Bush administration.

    The other main emphasis in the book, of course, was to explain in excruciatingly minute detail how good ole 'Scotty' was duped into making false statements over and over again to the American public.

    After listening, rewinding several chapter and relistening I can confidently confirm that the following paragraph would have sufficed for the entire book...

    "I liked Bush in Texas. I followed him to Washington. The bad system made Bush do bad things. People lied to me and made me look like a liar. I think they are bad. If we change the system we will have no more bad people."

    That's pretty much it, no bombshells, no insider information. Just rationalizations for criminal behavior resulting in 4,000+ American deaths and absolution for evil doers in the White House.

    Good Job Scotty, really took it to 'em...

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 09-30-08
    Alan 09-30-08
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    "Excruciating"

    I should have paid more attention to the book's description. I missed the part that named Scott McClellan as the narrator. His Texas accent and plodding delivery started getting on my nerves within moments of starting the book, and I never reached the point where I could ignore them. I now understand what the White House press corps had to suffer through during his tenure.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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